This conversation is closed.

Does TED consider ANY libertarian idea to be worth spreading, or only left-leaning ones?

I am a VP of an elearning software company and have been a viewer of many topics on TED for several years. I go here to find great talks from people I know that have been inspirational. I am a big admirer of Salman Khan. I was browsing your site and I figured, for sure, you would have Dr. Ben Carson. He is well thought of by nearly everyone I know on both sides of the aisle. But not a single one of his inspirational speeches are anywhere to be found on your site. And then it hit me that you might filter out people that might be inspirational because of their point of view. Is this true, because that would truly be uninspiring. I believe that if an idea is good and has merit, it will stand on its own. I think we need to move beyond division to really solve problems.

Closing Statement from Kirk Berry

It's great to know that there are other libertarians watching TED talks. I wasn't trying to inject politics, but was frustrated when searching the site and finding oodles of speakers promoting "progressive" ideas and I couldn't find a single conservative or libertarian viewpoint on the entire site. Again, I don't usually go to TED for political stories. I love the science and technology talks. I was just surprised to see a total lack of political diversity.
(also several seemed confused over "left leaning ones"... i meant "left-leaning ideas" - not "left leaning libertarians" )

  • thumb
    Nov 15 2013: There is no such animal, as a left leaning libertarian?

    Ben Carson is not a Libertarian,(according to wikipedia) but has worthy ideas.

    Most people on TED are progressives and are economically illiterate, of course they think they are quite knowledgeable on the subject.

    There are talks that talk about the virtues of the free market. To see examples of these go to my favorites page.

    Libertarians are Ron Paul, George Will, John Stossel, who wouldn't/don't blend with the TED crowd. At the risk of sounding arrogant their ideas are profound i.e. not easily communicated in 20 minutes.

    FWIW it is hard to differetiate between Libertarians and Austrian economists.
    • thumb
      Nov 15 2013: I'm new to the community so I took your advice and searched a bit, thanks.

      I agree with the point of view that the non-existence, or less then expected number, of talks on a particular subject doesn't directly mean any type of bias or restrictions by TED. It can be more of a reflection on the desire of the said speakers to choose other forums/forms of communication. I like to think if there were a high level of demand from the Ted community for this type of topics the level of participation from speakers would increase.

      Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think that the 20 minutes are an issue really. Any idea (from any field) presented to a forum with so many different backgrounds would need much more then 20 minutes to be properly understood. For instance, I don't pretend to fully understand someone explaining how the brain works in 20 minutes, but it sheds some light on my ignorance and those more knowledgeable on the subject can easily follow up the research.
      • thumb
        Nov 15 2013: I think you are right that one cannot address most serious subjects in depth in twenty minutes. When George Will writes a syndicated column, it involves choosing a way of expressing his idea much more compactly, even, than he would in an hour long lecture or full length book.

        In a post made by a TEDx organizer in the conversation about seeking greater participation on stage by women, she linked to an article in which the first TEDx organizer explained speaker selection. If I remember that interview correctly, the curators may receive 10,000 applications for sixty five spots.

        As TED seeks to feature people with fresh ideas people might not otherwise hear, they often do not, according to that article, put on stage people who have already appeared on countless stages and already get a lot of air time They also do not typically seek motivational speakers, political candidates, and others who may be quite famous and popular and already appear on many stages.

        This isn't to say that such a person never is on the stage. For example, Tony Robbins has spoken at TED, as has Colin Powell, but the stage is not seen as mainly another stage for people who already get a lot of airtime.

        TED's putting a speaker on stage or not does not signify an endorsement or rejection of the idea itself. You will see speakers with opposite views speaking one after the other. Here is an example:
        • thumb
          Nov 15 2013: Just read the Forbes interview, thanks for pointing it out.

          I'm sure the selection process of who gets to have a "Talk" isn't perfect, but in principle I agree with it. When you have so many candidates you have to make choices and sometimes you may have not selected the most interesting one, but not for any bias or personal view but from the pure random factor of selecting. If this is not the case I wouldn't really want to "waste" time with this.

          And on reality, I'm sure if you ask someone who's able to host conferences on it's own, or his a recognized and published author, he would rather see new and potentially good ideas on TED.
  • Dec 12 2013: Does TED consider ANY libertarian idea to be worth spreading, or only left-leaning ones?

    No this is not true - they take "paid for" ones too :)))

    - you just need to look to see a lot of people talking on ted have a book/dvd/movie whatever coming out at the same time.... A world of coincidence huh!
  • thumb
    Dec 11 2013: Libertarian ideals make authoritarians uneasy. Authoritarians prefer thinking on a left-right scale, because they can measure ideas on a scale of authoritarian to authoritarian.
  • Nov 14 2013: I once asked a gentleman who was harshly critical of libertarians if there were any planks that he actually agreed with. He really did not know the various positions of libertarians but was responding to the brand that he perceived. At the risk of sounding judgemental, the prevailing behavior in the population is to become deeply stuck in intellectual belief canyons. Content they expose themselves to generally supports already-held beliefs. Enquiry into understanding another's position is not the norm and damned near impossible if one has been educated by way of institutions. The masses, filled with fear of being left to their own devices, have given themselves over to the devices of others. I do apologize for asking: does the nature of your software foster independent and free thought? Or does it deliver core standardized curriculum that has been developed and crafted by central planners for young programmable minds? Or is it other than that?

    Libertarians have been branded, rightly or wrongly. It is their lift to educate others. For the others have no interest, generally speaking, in enquiry. No interest in finding common ground. Promote the tea. The teapot is secondary. This is the forum for it. Don't wait for Ben. Promote freely. For yourself.
    Great night!
  • thumb
    Nov 17 2013: it's actually the speaker that spreads the idea
    TED is the platform for sharing

    so yeah... recommend your friend
    and let hear what he has to say
  • Nov 17 2013: The Ted talk of Jonathan Haidt: The moral roots of liberals and conservatives was connected to the topic in one interesting way. At the begging he asked to raise your hand if you are liberal, conservative or libertarians and from what I remember there was more libertarians then conservatives. Libertarians are all around Ted community. I am one, I now about others, but as someone mention in comments here, understanding Austrian School of Economy (Libertarians economy is based upon this) Is sadly a matter of some time. This is actually not hard to understand, but it takes time. Continuing about the talk of Jonathan Haidt It would be very interesting how about doing the research he did among liberals and conservatives with libertarians. Results could be very interesting.
  • thumb
    Nov 15 2013: if i would be in charge of it, i would invite walter block, and of course the title of the talk would be "defending the undefendable".
  • thumb
    Nov 14 2013: Kirk, could you explain or give me a link that will help me understand what you mean by "left-leaning libertarian?
    • thumb
      Nov 14 2013: i don't think he talks about left leaning libertarians. he talks about left leaning ideas.
      • thumb
        Nov 14 2013: Oh, I misunderstood. Thank you.

        Could you identify for Kirk some talks you would consider to represent a conservative viewpoint or a viewpoint consistent with libertarian thinking?

        I know Pat's favorite is the 6 Killer Apps of Prosperity.
        • thumb
          Nov 15 2013: i know only that too, plus maybe, if you really push it, the talk by matt ridley. not libertarian per se, but provides knowledge that is necessary for a free society. maybe clay shirky, institution vs collaboration. also not to the core, but touches some aspects. then there is jacqueline novogratz in similar terms. but none of these present the idea of libertarianism as a concept. they probably aren't even libertarians, they just should be.

          ps: sugata mitra too

          ps2: rutan
  • thumb
    Nov 14 2013: Why do people always have to see a political agenda in everything ?
    There are so many talks on TED that have nothing to do with left or right wing thinking.
    TED gives you the opportunity to suggest speakers. So why don't you suggest Ben Carson if you think he should be giving a talk on TED ?
    Kirk Berry, it seems you create issues where there are none.
  • thumb
    Nov 14 2013: Kirk, That TED is a liberal gathering site is not news .... However, I am a Independent, and have submitted many articles that question the liberal ideology.

    I have made arguments against some far left replies .... in most cases this has been met with a defense of the liberal point of view and accompanied with a valid argument. There was a person (No longer with TED) who overstepped the boundaries of a good discussion with threats and radical posturing. He was in the minority. Yes, there are still many who fight for the sake of a fight ... when the discussion is well over. But it takes two to do that .... I call that the "last word war" that kids play.

    TED has a section that advises us on what makes a good conversation. If the guide is followed then the chance of the conversation being posted is much greater.

    As a example ... This is posted under IDEAS .... when it may be considered a DEBATE .... or even a QUESTION.

    Could you post a example of what you base this on. Have you submitted Dr. Ben Carson as a potential speaker to TED?

    I do not always agree with TED .... heck I don't always agree with me ... but in all honesty they have provided me with a forum that I enjoy and use often ...

    So here is my advice. Learn the rules ... be respectful ... enjoy the site ... convert one Liberal misguided soul at a time from the dark side to the light. LOL.

    I wish you well. Bob.
  • thumb
    Nov 14 2013: it is all marketing. TED does not want to look *that* radical. and they also don't want the hostile debate this topic almost certainly brings.
    • thumb
      Nov 14 2013: The only ones that view libertarians as radical are university liberal snubs types, and although there is a far amount that are TEDsters, to restrict viewpoints to only please them would be completely contrary to TED’s mission of spreading all worthy ideas and exposing and exploring new way of thinking and viewing this world.
      • thumb
        Nov 14 2013: maybe we use the word "libertarian" differently?
        • thumb
          Nov 14 2013: Krisztian, as you are a libertarian, could you give me a quick example of position that distinguishes for me what a "left leaning" libertarian is and what a "right leaning" libertarian is?
      • thumb
        Nov 14 2013: Fritzie, it didn't even occur to me that there are left leaning libertarians. this word is overloaded, thanks to chomsky. this certainly complicates things. left libertarians are not considered extreme radicals. but they are also not libertarians in the sense the topic opener meant it.

        see? we are so marginalized, we don't even have a name that is not immediately claimed by another minority group. we are bullied by minorities. how extreme is that?
  • thumb
    Nov 13 2013: Here from the website is a link that includes guidelines for selection of speakers. You may need to scroll down a bit to the speaker section.
  • thumb
    Nov 13 2013: I haven't been here long enough to tell but I had some concerns regarding that. I am a big supporter of libertarian principals, bit libertarians tend to be far outnumbered by authoritarians. I think that even if they don't filter the questions out less may be asked anyway. If they do filter, it may be due to the fact that libertarian ideas tend to cause issues in discussions. I've seen many liberals AND conservatives set off by libertarian comments.