Interactive Justice, From the Comfort of Your Own Bed

Adrian Y.H. Ow

Harvard professor Michael J. Sandel hosted his own call-in show this Sunday in a live, interactive discussion via the telephone. The so-called “teleforum” brought Sandel's famous Ethical Reasoning 22 course to pre-registered listeners across the country. Each participant received a phone call at 5 p.m. this past Sunday and got tapped into the tele-classroom.

Produced by Farrar, Straus and Giroux and Broadnet, the discussion promoted Sandel's book “Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?” Participants submitted questions ahead of time and were also able to vote via keypad on key issues.

Sandel first asked the participants what they thought about the fairness of the distribution of wealth in America; the result was that 64 percent believed that it is unfair that the richest 1 percent of Americans account for 24 percent of income.

In the second half, Sandel directed the polling question to affirmative action, asking the participants if they thought it was fair that race and ethnicity enter into the admissions game at universities. These results were more equally distributed, with slightly more people voting that it’s fair to account for race and ethnicity.

Participants from both sides of the spectrum were called out to explain why they voted the way they did and got to debate directly with Sandel.

For more interactive justice from the comfort of your own bed, see the "Justice" website for lecture videos, pop quizzes and discussion guides.

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