What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
With rendition switcher


Question: What were Ted Kennedy’s contributions to immigration reform?

Lenni Benson: Ted Kennedy is the lion, and when I heard of his death, even when I knew he was ill, I felt it strongly because he has been the moral leader in immigration policy. I haven't learned every single thing he ever did in immigration law. There was one lottery program that he created that somehow the Irish got a very high percentage of the visas when it was supposed to be neutral. But he quickly remedied that. We do have something called the Diversity Visa Lottery which is for low-sending countries—nations who don't send a lot of immigrants, [where] people have some education and/or some work experience can enter in a lottery and come to America.

I've met dozens and dozens of people who came from Africa and the former Eastern Soviet block who would never have had an opportunity to come but for Ted Kennedy's lottery. But his real legacy, I think, in immigration is that he was willing, as are many leaders in this field, to see that immigration is neither Democrat nor Republican.

He built bridges across party lines. John McCain is an example where, I'm sure Senator McCain would easily say he respected Ted Kennedy and immigration. He understood this is neither free-market or exploiting labor, that there is complexity of discussion, and he trained regions of very talented lawyers and non-lawyers and his staff on the judiciary committee and the subcommittee on immigration policy. They are in the Obama Administration, they are in labor unions, they are in state government; those people are continuing.

He created a wave of educated, sophisticated people who know that to talk about immigration, we need to have a quiet thoughtful, in-depth conversation and not just a political sound-bite war.

Recorded on: August 31, 2009


Ted Kennedy: A Champion of ...

Newsletter: Share: