Become an intellectual explorer: Master the art of conversation

Want to be smarter than you were yesterday? Learn to have better conversations using these 3 design principles.

  • What is a great conversation? They are the ones that leave us feeling smarter or more curious, with a sense that we have discovered something, understood something about another person, or have been challenged.
  • There are 3 design principles that lead to great conversations: humility, critical thinking, and sympathetic listening.
  • Critical thinking is the celebrated cornerstone of liberalism, but next time you're in a challenging and rewarding conversation, try to engage sympathetic listening too. Understanding why another intelligent person holds ideas that are at odds with your own is often more enlightening than merely hunting for logic errors.
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Sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies

Understanding what tolerance means in a highly polarized America

Changing people's minds isn't how we end polarization. Tolerance is the gateway to peaceful coexistence.

  • The goal of tolerance is not for everyone to arrive at a consensus on divisive issues, or to accept each other's views. Sarah Ruger suggests that tolerance is learning how to coexist peacefully through difference.
  • Tolerance is a word with a lot of baggage, but tolerance is not patronizing or insulting; it is a starting point for something better.
  • Peaceful coexistence and a focus on common goals enables people of all convictions to work towards positive social ends like innovation, social progress, and the defense of equal rights.
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Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation

Why a great education means engaging with controversy

Jonathan Zimmerman explains why teachers should invite, not censor, tough classroom debates.

  • During times of war or national crisis in the U.S., school boards and officials are much more wary about allowing teachers and kids to say what they think.
  • If our teachers avoid controversial questions in the classroom, kids won't get the experience they need to know how to engage with difficult questions and with criticism.
  • Jonathan Zimmerman argues that controversial issues should be taught in schools as they naturally arise. Otherwise kids will learn from TV news what politics looks like – which is more often a rant than a healthy debate.
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Sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies

Should you defend the free speech rights of neo-Nazis?

Former president of the ACLU Nadine Strossen discusses whether our society should always defend free speech rights, even for groups who would oppose such rights.

  • Former ACLU president Nadine Strossen understands that protecting free speech rights isn't always a straightforward proposition.
  • In this video, Strossen describes the reasoning behind why the ACLU defended the free speech rights of neo-Nazis in Skokie, Illinois, 1977.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
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Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation

Public speaking: 7 ways to master speechcraft

If the only advice you've heard on public speaking is to imagine the audience in their underwear, this article's for you.

Photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
  • Whether it's at school, a funeral, a wedding, or work, most of us have to make a speech at some point in our lives.
  • However, public speaking can be anxiety inducing, and giving a bad speech can make it difficult for your audience to understand your message.
  • By using these 7 speechcraft tactics, you can improve your public speaking skills, feel more confident, and become a more competent orator.
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