Today's Liberal News

Conor Friedersdorf

Apathy Loses

“Divisive,” “corrupt,” and “messy.” That’s how Americans described the state of our politics when asked to do so by Pew last year. Other popular answers included “polarized” and “dysfunctional.”
Those of us who feel that way may be tempted to tune out this election year. To participate in politics is to encounter many otherwise lovely people at their most upset, angry, and uncharitable.

A Farewell to Up for Debate

Welcome to Up for Debate, a newsletter in which Conor Friedersdorf rounds up timely conversations and solicits reader responses to one thought-provoking question.
Question of the Week
If I were to visit you on a journalistic fact-finding mission wherever you live or work or study, what would you show me to improve my understanding of the world, or at least your corner of it?
What insights, life experiences, or memories would you share?
Send your responses to conor@theatlantic.

Readers Share the State of Their Local Journalism

Welcome to Up for Debate. Each week, Conor Friedersdorf rounds up timely conversations and solicits reader responses to one thought-provoking question. Later, he publishes some thoughtful replies. Sign up for the newsletter here.
Last week, I asked readers, “What is the state of local journalism where you live, and how does it affect your community?”
Replies have been edited for length and clarity.

Readers on the Morality of Pornography

Welcome to Up for Debate. Each week, Conor Friedersdorf rounds up timely conversations and solicits reader responses to one thought-provoking question. Later, he publishes some thoughtful replies. Sign up for the newsletter here.
Last week I asked readers, “Is pornography immoral?”
H. regards most pornography as unhealthy, but not immoral:
I found my life to be significantly improved after I stopped masturbating to pornography.

Is Pornography Immoral?

Welcome to Up for Debate. Each week, Conor Friedersdorf rounds up timely conversations and solicits reader responses to one thought-provoking question. Later, he publishes some thoughtful replies. Sign up for the newsletter here.
Question of the Week
Is pornography immoral?
Last week, I wrote an article arguing that the University of Wisconsin should not have fired Joe Gow, the longtime chancellor of its La Crosse campus, for making pornography with his wife.

Readers Share Their Most Misunderstood Views

Welcome to Up for Debate. Each week, Conor Friedersdorf rounds up timely conversations and solicits reader responses to one thought-provoking question. Later, he publishes some thoughtful replies. Sign up for the newsletter here.
Last week, I asked readers, “What is a belief or position you hold that you feel to be misunderstood or misrepresented by many people who disagree with you?”
Replies have been edited for length and clarity.
R.

Don’t Fire People for Making Pornography in Their Free Time

Eight years ago, a middle-aged husband and wife in Wisconsin published their first book, Monogamy With Benefits, under pseudonyms. “We couldn’t be more entrenched in the local establishment,” they wrote, noting their jobs as executives at respected organizations and their nonprofit work and appearances on the local news. “So we’re not exactly the kind of couple you’d expect to be engaged in adventurous sex with others.

Readers’ Toughest Questions for University Presidents

Welcome to Up for Debate. Each week, Conor Friedersdorf rounds up timely conversations and solicits reader responses to one thought-provoking question. Later, he publishes some thoughtful replies. Sign up for the newsletter here.
Last week, I asked: If you could question leaders of academic institutions like a member of Congress, forcing them to contend with any aspect of higher education, what would you ask them?
Replies have been edited for length and clarity.

Readers’ Toughest Questions for University Presidents

Welcome to Up for Debate. Each week, Conor Friedersdorf rounds up timely conversations and solicits reader responses to one thought-provoking question. Later, he publishes some thoughtful replies. Sign up for the newsletter here.
Last week, I asked: If you could question leaders of academic institutions like a member of Congress, forcing them to contend with any aspect of higher education, what would you ask them?
Replies have been edited for length and clarity.

The Debate That Claudine Gay Is Evading

Welcome to Up for Debate. Each week, Conor Friedersdorf rounds up timely conversations and solicits reader responses to one thought-provoking question. Later, he publishes some thoughtful replies. Sign up for the newsletter here.Question of the WeekIf you could question leaders of academic institutions under oath, like a member of Congress, forcing them to contend with any aspect of higher education in America, what would you ask them?Send your responses to conor@theatlantic.

How Teens Spend Their Free Time

Welcome to Up for Debate. Each week, Conor Friedersdorf rounds up timely conversations and solicits reader responses to one thought-provoking question. Later, he publishes some thoughtful replies. Sign up for the newsletter here.

Reader Views on Gender-Divided Social Spaces

Welcome to Up for Debate. Each week, Conor Friedersdorf rounds up timely conversations and solicits reader responses to one thought-provoking question. Later, he publishes some thoughtful replies. Sign up for the newsletter here.Last week, I asked for your thoughts on all-male and all-female social spaces.Replies have been edited for length and clarity.Amy was a Girl Scout as a kid and is now a leader of her 7-year-old daughter’s troop.

The Role of Gender Divides in Social Spaces

​​​​​​Welcome to Up for Debate. Each week, Conor Friedersdorf rounds up timely conversations and solicits reader responses to one thought-provoking question. Later, he publishes some thoughtful replies. Sign up for the newsletter here.Question of the WeekWhat do you think about all-male or all-female social spaces?Send your responses to conor@theatlantic.com or simply reply to this email.

Where Teens Used to Hang Out

Welcome to Up for Debate. Each week, Conor Friedersdorf rounds up timely conversations and solicits reader responses to one thought-provoking question. Later, he publishes some thoughtful replies. Sign up for the newsletter here.Last week I asked readers how much time they spent with peers in adolescence. This is the first batch of responses.

The Decline of Teen Hangouts

Welcome to Up for Debate. Each week, Conor Friedersdorf rounds up timely conversations and solicits reader responses to one thought-provoking question. Later, he publishes some thoughtful replies. Sign up for the newsletter here.Question of the WeekHow much time did you spend with peers in adolescence, and what effect did that have on the rest of your life? (Anecdotes illustrating how you spent that time and in what era are especially welcome.)Send your responses to conor@theatlantic.

Readers on the Foreign-Policy Issues That Matter to Them

Welcome to Up for Debate. Each week, Conor Friedersdorf rounds up timely conversations and solicits reader responses to one thought-provoking question. Later, he publishes some thoughtful replies. Sign up for the newsletter here.Last week I noted that presidential candidates in the 2024 election will discuss U.S.

The Debate Over What Happens Next in the Middle East

Welcome to Up for Debate. Each week, Conor Friedersdorf rounds up timely conversations and solicits reader responses to one thought-provoking question. Later, he publishes some thoughtful replies. Sign up for the newsletter here.Question of the WeekIn the 2024 election, candidates will debate U.S. foreign policy toward China, Russia, Ukraine, Israel, Iran, Mexico, and beyond. What foreign-policy matters are most important to you and why?Send your responses to conor@theatlantic.

What Has Alcohol’s Existence Done to Humans?

Welcome to Up for Debate. Each week, Conor Friedersdorf rounds up timely conversations and solicits reader responses to one thought-provoking question. Later, he publishes some thoughtful replies. Sign up for the newsletter here.Question of the WeekAre humans better or worse off for having beer, wine, and spirits? Or, if you’d prefer introspection, how about you personally?Send your responses to conor@theatlantic.com or simply reply to this email.

There’s No Third Rail Like the Middle East

Welcome to Up for Debate. Each week, Conor Friedersdorf rounds up timely conversations and solicits reader responses to one thought-provoking question. Later, he publishes some thoughtful replies. Sign up for the newsletter here.Question of the WeekPeople all over the world are divided about the best way forward in the Middle East.

The Israel-War Email That College Presidents Should’ve Sent

Welcome to Up for Debate. Each week, Conor Friedersdorf rounds up timely conversations and solicits reader responses to one thought-provoking question. Later, he publishes some thoughtful replies. Sign up for the newsletter here.Question of the WeekTwo friends, Petra and Rodrigo, are having an argument.Petra thinks the world is best if people stay in their lane and do their job as best they can, narrowly construed. CEOs should try to maximize profits within the law.

What Israel Can Learn From America’s 9/11 Response

Welcome to Up for Debate. Each week, Conor Friedersdorf rounds up timely conversations and solicits reader responses to one thought-provoking question. Later, he publishes some thoughtful replies. Sign up for the newsletter here.Last week, as observers characterized the recent attack on Israel as that country’s 9/11, I asked, “What did you learn from the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and America’s responses to them?”Replies have been edited for length and clarity.

A Collection of Narratives on the Israel-Hamas War

Welcome to Up for Debate. Each week, Conor Friedersdorf rounds up timely conversations and solicits reader responses to one thought-provoking question. Later, he publishes some thoughtful replies. Sign up for the newsletter here.Question of the WeekMany observers are characterizing the recent attack on Israel as that country’s 9/11. On reflection, what did you learn from the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and America’s responses to it?Send your responses to conor@theatlantic.

Students for Pogroms in Israel

Campus politics in America irrevocably changed this week when student groups that champion the noble goal of justice for Palestinians endorsed the evil means of war crimes in pursuit of it.Last Saturday, hundreds of gun-toting men stormed into Israel by land, air, and sea  with the express purpose of  killing as many Jews as possible. They succeeded in perpetrating a pogrom reminiscent of the Cossacks and the Nazis. They murdered civilians in their homes as their families watched.

What Will America Be Like in 2050?

Welcome to Up for Debate. Each week, Conor Friedersdorf rounds up timely conversations and solicits reader responses to one thought-provoking question. Later, he publishes some thoughtful replies. Sign up for the newsletter here.Question of the WeekWhat do you think America will be like in 2050?Send your responses to conor@theatlantic.com or simply reply to this email.

Why Biden’s Age Is An Unavoidable Conversation

Welcome to Up for Debate. Each week, Conor Friedersdorf rounds up timely conversations and solicits reader responses to one thought-provoking question. Later, he publishes some thoughtful replies. Sign up for the newsletter here.Last week I asked readers to opine on whether Democrats should stick with Joe Biden in 2024 or replace him with a younger nominee.

Are Driverless Cars the Future?

Welcome to Up for Debate. Each week, Conor Friedersdorf rounds up timely conversations and solicits reader responses to one thought-provoking question. Later, he publishes some thoughtful replies. Sign up for the newsletter here.Question of the WeekEarlier this month in San Francisco, two friends and I wanted to imbibe strong rum drinks at the bar Smuggler’s Cove, so we used a phone app to summon a car.

15 Readers on Trust in American Institutions

Welcome to Up for Debate. Each week, Conor Friedersdorf rounds up timely conversations and solicits reader responses to one thought-provoking question. Later, he publishes some thoughtful replies. Sign up for the newsletter here.Last week, I asked readers, “Do you trust America’s institutions more than, less than, or as much as you did a decade ago? Why?”Replies have been edited for length and clarity.

Tracing the Decline of Trust in America

Welcome to Up for Debate. Each week, Conor Friedersdorf rounds up timely conversations and solicits reader responses to one thought-provoking question. Later, he publishes some thoughtful replies. Sign up for the newsletter here.Question of the WeekDo you trust America’s institutions more than, less than, or as much as you did a decade ago? Why? Feel free to respond generally or to focus on one particular institution, or more, in your emails.Send your responses to conor@theatlantic.

Is Racial ‘Color-Blindness’ Possible?

Welcome to Up for Debate. Each week, Conor Friedersdorf rounds up timely conversations and solicits reader responses to one thought-provoking question. Later, he publishes some thoughtful replies. Sign up for the newsletter here.Last week, I asked, “What roles should ‘color-blindness’ and race-consciousness play in personal interactions?”Replies have been edited for length and clarity.