Opinions from writersSee all occupations
David Mamet, Playwright
disagrees Assault weapons should be bannedThe so-called assault weapons ban is a hoax. It is a political appeal to the ignorant. The guns it supposedly banned have been illegal for 78 years. Did the ban make them 'more' illegal? The ban addresses only the appearance of weapons, not their operation.
When less than 1% of Americans are volunteering to join the military, we should welcome all those who are willing and able to serve our country. Any member of the military who meets the medical and readiness standards should be allowed to serve -- including those who are transgender.
James Lucier, Managing Director at Capital Alpha
agrees TariffsIt's a disruptive, external shock to the global trading system… (But) I actually think that this [Trump's tariffs on aluminum and steel] will have positive effects in the long run. It makes people in the United States who have not stood up to support free trade much more anxious to do so now that they see the possible consequences of the benefits of free trade being taken away.
Yuval Noah Harari, Israeli historian and professor at the Hebrew University of JerusalemAmerican isolationism, British isolationism and the disruption and disintegration of a rule-based international system could ignite even more dangerous nuclear arms race between many more countries. If Germany no longer can trust the USA and Britain to back to Germany in case of confrontation with the Russians, then the Germans will say: hey, we now need nuclear weapons of our own. We can no longe... See More
Kajsa Ekis Ekman, Swedish journalist
disagrees SurrogacyIn reality, “altruistic” surrogacy means that a woman goes through exactly the same thing as in commercial surrogacy, but gets nothing in return. It demands of the woman to carry a child for nine months and then give it away. She has to change her behaviour and risk infertility, a number of pregnancy-related problems, and even death. She is still used as a vessel, even if told she is an angel. The... See More
Yuval Noah Harari, Israeli historian and professor at the Hebrew University of JerusalemI try to change the public conversation and focus the debate on what I think are the most important challenges: nuclear war, the ecological crisis and the dangers of disruptive technology, especially AI and bioengineering. They focus on things like terrorism, immigration or the structure of the EU trade agreements, which are important, we do need to think about it and take care of it, but this ... See More
Rush Limbaugh, U.s. radio talk show host, commentator, author, and television personality
agrees FrackingOther than areas of high-tech, fracking is probably one of the largest areas where concentrated growth in America's economy is taking place. There are oil booms in the Dakotas, in North Dakota. They are having to build entire cities, towns, to house employees showing up to work in fracking. The left is trying to shut it down under some claim that it destroys the environment. Natural gas and oil, o... See More
Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel laureate economist based at Columbia UniversityWith the election of Trump, America's soft power has taken a big hit. The United States has moved from a position of leadership in the creation of a rules-based international system to a position of leadership in its destruction and the creation of a regime of global protectionism. The damage will be long-lasting.
[T]he assault weapons ban will have no significant effect either on the crime rate or on personal security. Nonetheless, it is a good idea …. Passing a law like the assault weapons ban is a symbolic — purely symbolic — move in [the direction of disarming the citizenry]. Its only real justification is not to reduce crime but to desensitize the public to the regulation of weapons in preparation f... See More
Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel laureate economist based at Columbia University
agrees Universal Health CareAs the gap between rich and poor keeps growing and part-time jobs become more common, we must strengthen the social safety net. Universal health coverage would give essential protection, and needs to be part of every society.
Charlton Heston, Actor and political activist
disagrees Assault weapons should be bannedYou could say that the paparazzi and the tabloids are sort of the 'assault weapons' of the First Amendment. They're ugly, a lot of people don't like them, but they're protected by the First Amendment - just as 'assault weapons' are protected by the Second Amendment.
John Pugsley, American political and economics commentatorAny time you read that your government is erecting tariff barriers, supporting threatened industries with subsidies, or interfering in any way with free trade between individuals or nations, you must realize that your standard of living is being lowered as a result.
Yuval Noah Harari, Israeli historian and professor at the Hebrew University of JerusalemIn the 19th century, a few countries industrialized first and then conquered the whole world. It can happen again with AI. At present, China and the US are leading the AI arms race and if we aren't careful, we will see a new wave of kind of data colonialism that many countries become just data colonies. If you have enough data you don't need to send soldiers. Just imagine what the situation... See More
We're clearly coming to the end of the fossil fuel era. We have the technology to shift to renewable energy, we have the will of the people. The only thing that's keeping us back is the fossil fuel industry's hold on our political system. That's what we need to change.
Paul Krugman, Economist (nobel laureate) and NY Times columnistTrump’s tariffs are badly designed even from the point of view of someone who shares his crude mercantilist view of trade. In fact, the structure of his tariffs so far is designed to inflict maximum damage on the U.S. economy, for minimal gain.
Cory Doctorow, Writer, blogger, activist.
agrees Net neutralityThe internet isn't nearly so important as racial injustice and vanquishing white supremacy, nor smashing patriarchy, nor rescuing our planet from looters and climate vandals, nor feudal inequality: but EVERY ONE of those fights will be won or lost with the Internet.
Yuval Noah Harari, Israeli historian and professor at the Hebrew University of JerusalemMost people tend to overestimate human beings. In order to replace most humans, the AI won't have to do very spectacular things. Most of the things the political and economic system needs from human beings are actually quite simple. We earlier talked about driving a taxi or diagnosing a disease. This is something that AI will soon be able to do better than humans even without consciousness, even w... See More
Ray Kurzweil, Author, computer scientist, inventor and futuristWe are going to have new types of jobs creating new types of dollars that don’t exist yet and that has been the trend. We will be creating more profound music, literature, science, technology.
Robert J. Shiller, Professor of economics at Yale and Nobel laureate
agrees Robot TaxA moderate tax on robots, even a temporary tax that merely slows the adoption of disruptive technology, seems a natural component of a policy to address rising inequality. Revenue could be targeted toward wage insurance, to help people replaced by new technology make the transition to a different career. This would accord with our natural sense of justice, and thus be likely to endure.
Peter Hitchens, Author, journalist
disagrees Legalise recreational drugsWhat I'm in favour of is the clear, consistent enforcement of a 43-year-old law, which has fallen into disuse because politicians, judges and police officers have decided they prefer not to enforce it. I do not imagine my preferred policy would end or solve the problem. I do, however, believe that it would greatly reduce it. If people insist on breaking known and enforced laws, they must, fo... See More
It is true that Britain does not round up drug users and put them on chain gangs and force them to go out and dig graves, as they do in the prison I went to in Arizona. But we do imprison many people for drug offences – and, even more importantly, our drug trade is 100 per cent in the hands of criminals. They are fighting over it the whole time. How many of the stabbings we read of in the paper... See More
Indeed, it is well known, and not disputed, that the very societies that attempt most vigorously to suppress various drugs, and in which users are subject to the most stringent penalties, have seen a vast and continuous increase in the per capita consumption of these drugs. This is tacitly admitted by the vast armed bureaucracies set up to persecute drug users in our societies, which every year de... See More
Owen Jones, Columnist for the Guardian and the New StatesmenYes, politicians who abandon the failed mantra of the drug war risk the incandescent rage of the Daily Mail. But how many lives have to be lost – or simply ruined – before reality and common sense finally prevail? Rather than expanding the efforts of a disastrous policy, the old failed approach must finally be abandoned.
Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Former President of BrazilAfter decades of overflights, interdictions, spraying and raids on jungle drug factories, Latin America remains the world's largest exporter of cocaine and marijuana. It is producing more and more opium and heroin. It is developing the capacity to mass produce synthetic drugs. Continuing the drugs war with more of the same is ludicrous.
William F. Buckley Jr., American conservative commentatorThe amount of money and of legal energy being given to prosecute hundreds of thousands of Americans who are caught with a few ounces of marijuana in their jeans simply makes no sense - the kindest way to put it. A sterner way to put it is that it is an outrage, an imposition on basic civil liberties and on the reasonable expenditure of social energy.
Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin (400 companies)Yet, in their zeal for chasing the illusion of a drug-free world, governments have poured billions into tough law enforcement that did nothing to reduce drug supply or demand, or take control from the criminal organisations in charge of the global drug trade.
There is a general concern that the robots are taking over. I disagree that our emerging technologies will permanently displace most of the workforce, though I’d argue that jobs will shift into other sectors. Now more than ever, an army of talented coders is needed to help our technology advance. But we will still need folks to do packaging, assembly, sales, and outreach. The collar of the future ... See More
Mike Bloomberg, American businessman and politician, former mayor of new york city
agrees Soda taxesNoncommunicable diseases are a growing global crisis, especially in low-and-middle income countries. There’s substantial evidence that taxes and fiscal policies are essential to confronting this health threat.
disagrees Creationism in schoolsThe creationists have also changed their name, this time to “Intelligent Design Theorists” who study “irreducible complexity” and the “abrupt appearance” of life, yet more jargon for “God did it.” This is what ignites my ire about the creationists — their disingenuousness about their religious motivations. Make no mistake about it. Creationists do not want equal time. They want all the time. Their... See More
Mike Bloomberg, American businessman and politician, former mayor of new york city
agrees Health taxesNoncommunicable diseases are a growing global crisis, especially in low-and-middle income countries. There’s substantial evidence that taxes and fiscal policies are essential to confronting this health threat.
disagrees Creationism in schoolsBut it doesn’t matter what the definition of “science” is: the First Amendment prohibits pushing religion in the classroom, and creationism is religion. Scholars don’t have the right to “explore” the role of God in the history of life. As I said, I’d object to scholars lying to their students, but would try to take legal action only against lies that violate the Constitution. The courts have defin... See More
Noam Chomsky, Linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, historian, social critic, and political activist
agrees Basic IncomeIt comes from the right wing originally. Milton Friedman proposed it for example. From his point of view it was part of an effort to undermine welfare state measures. But it doesn’t have to have a reactionary component. It can be interpreted as something progressive. That people have rights. In fact if you read the universal declaration of human rights, 1948, take a look at article 45. It says peo... See More
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