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ATTACK OF THE CLONES: The Ethics of Human Cloning

with Leon Kass, M.D., Gregory Stockvia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, October 25, 2002

Cloning—using biotechnology to create embryos with specific genetic information, identical to other embryos or even human adults—used to sound like science fiction. Today, however, the ability to successfully clone human embryos is a matter of when, not if. But should human cloning be allowed to go forward? Is cloning morally wrong, in and of itself? Should we make a distinction between cloning for medical research and cloning for procreation? If cloning is morally wrong, could we stop it even if we wanted to? And if cloning isn't or can't be banned, how should it be regulated?

OUT FOR A CONSTITUTIONAL: The Supreme Court and the Constitution

with Erwin Chemerinsky, John Eastmanvia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, September 27, 2002

The Supreme Court has the final authority on all matters of law under the U.S. Constitution. But what legal philosophy should the Supreme Court use to reach its decisions? Should the Court merely hand down rules based on the text of a fixed, or "dead," Constitution? Or should the Court apply standards that are based on interpretations of a "living" Constitution that evolves as our society changes? These fundamentally different approaches to constitutional law have created a rift with the current Supreme Court. How serious is this rift? Who's right? And to what extent are these competing arguments merely covers for ideological positions?

Audio recording of “Out for a Constitutional” (26:48)

LAW AND ORDER: Civil Liberties and the War on Terrorism

with Erwin Chemerinsky, Eugene Volokhvia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, September 27, 2002

Does the war on terrorism threaten our civil liberties? Benjamin Franklin famously admonished, "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Are we today being asked to give up essential liberties for temporary safety? If so, is it worth it? Or are the fears that the government's war on terrorism will trample our freedoms overblown?

CONTINENTAL DIVIDES: Are Europe and America Parting Ways?

with Coit Blacker, Richard Falk, John O'Sullivanvia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, July 29, 2002

Throughout the latter half of the Twentieth Century, the United States and Western Europe seemed the staunchest of allies, united in NATO in defense against the common threat of the Soviet Union. With the end of the cold war and the loss of that common enemy, however, signs of emerging tensions have appeared in the friendship between America and Europe. How serious are the spats between Europe and the United States over issues such as the International Criminal Court, the conflict in the Middle East, and the U.S. conduct of the war on terrorism? With the formation of the European Union, Europe has become an economic rival to the United States. Will it become a political and military rival as well?

EUROPE SWINGS: Why Is Europe Moving to the Right?

with John O'Sullivanvia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, July 29, 2002

For decades, Western Europe has been known for its social democracies—large welfare states governed by a coalition of the political left and center. In recent years however, this center-left coalition seems to have broken down. Conservative parties have come to power in a number of European countries, including Spain, Italy, France, and the Netherlands. Why has Europe moved to the right? Have a few specific issues, such as immigration and crime, driven European voters to the right? Are voters merely expressing a temporary frustration with the center-left coalition, or is the new conservative Europe here to stay?

Christopher Hitchens

WORDS OF WAR: What Kind of War Are We Fighting?

with Christopher Hitchens, Newt Gingrichvia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, July 18, 2002

What kind of war is the war on terrorism? Ordinarily wars are fought against proper nouns—against Germany during the Second World War or against the Soviet Union during the cold war, for example. Now we're being asked to fight a war against a common noun, terrorism. Just how accurate and useful is the phrase "war on terrorism"? Is this a war? And who exactly is the enemy—Al Qaeda? Al Qaeda plus all other terrorists around the world? Al Qaeda plus all other terrorists plus all the countries in which the terrorists operate? In other words, just how good a job are the president and the administration doing, not just in prosecuting the war but in defining the objectives?

WINDS OF CHANGE: Politics After Sept. 11

with Newt Gingrich, Nelson W. Polsbyvia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, July 18, 2002

The war on terrorism has created unique ideological challenges for both ends of the American political spectrum. Does the left, long opposed to the exercise of U.S. military power, risk irrelevance by opposing the war on terror? How does the libertarian wing of the right, long opposed to big government, respond to its expanding role in protecting our security? How has President Bush's conduct of the war on terrorism affected his chances for reelection in 2004?

POPE AND CIRCUMSTANCE: The Legacy of Pope John Paul II

with Rod Dreher, Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J, Garry Willsvia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, June 27, 2002

In 1978, the Polish cardinal Karol Wojtyla was elected to the papacy of the Catholic Church, taking the name John Paul II. In the twenty-four years since, Pope John Paul II has traveled more widely and held audiences for more people than any other pope in history. But beyond his long service and high profile, how will John Paul II be remembered? Will he be remembered more for his political impact—many say that he played a crucial role in the fall of communism in Eastern Europe—or for his ecclesiastical work? Just how well has John Paul II prepared the Catholic Church for the twenty-first century?

A CRISIS OF FAITH: The Crisis in the Catholic Church

with Rod Dreher, Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J, Garry Willsvia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, June 27, 2002

The year will be remembered as a difficult one for the Catholic Church in America. Sex abuse scandals and criticism of the church's response to those scandals dominated the headlines for months. Sexual abuse is not the only subject creating controversy within Catholic circles. Other divisive matters include the role of women within the church, gay priests, and the relation of American bishops to the Vatican. Is the Catholic Church in danger of losing its constituency in America? Are substantial reforms in the structure and teachings of the Catholic Church necessary? Or are reforms what got the church in trouble in the first place?


with Alan Auerbach, Stephen Moorevia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, June 27, 2002

Just two years ago, in the 2000 fiscal year, the annual federal budget had a surplus of $236 billion. Now the federal government is facing a budget deficit of more than $150 billion, possibly much more. And whereas during the presidential campaign of 2000, the candidates were debating how to spend trillions in expected future surpluses, the Congressional Budget Office is now projecting a cumulative $1 trillion deficit by 2011. What happened to the surplus, and what is to blame for the return of the deficit? Is it President Bush's tax cut? Or was it the recession of 2001 and the war on terrorism? In light of the deficit, what should we make of the president's budget plans?