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March 12, 2012

Former Sen. Russell Feingold discusses how corporations threaten democracy

Feingold will be a guest at a live taping of Philosophy Talk at Stanford University.

By Dave Millar

Russell Feingold is a distinguished visitor at Stanford's Haas Center for Public Service.

Does the growing power of corporations threaten our democracy? 

Former Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wisc., will address that question Thursday during a live recording of Stanford's nationally syndicated radio program, Philosophy Talk

Feingold, author of the recently released book, While America Sleeps: A Wake-up Call for the Post-9/11 Era, is a distinguished visitor at Stanford's Haas Center for Public Service.

Philosophy Talk co-hosts John Perry and Kenneth Taylor will press Feingold on the influence of corporations on democratic institutions, and explore the philosophical tensions resulting from the mixture of money and politics. They will also discuss the effect of corporate power on government, and whether global capitalism and democratic self-governance can be reconciled or are destined to remain fundamentally at odds.

The trio also will examine the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court that granted corporations free speech rights "on the grounds that corporations are people and hence covered by the Bill of Rights," said Perry, a professor emeritus of philosophy at Stanford and a professor of philosophy at the University of California-Riverside.

Taylor, also a Stanford philosophy professor, says he wants to discuss the obligations corporations have in society, particularly in the context of the Supreme Court decision.

In his new book, Feingold says, "My dream is that when the history of this era is written, it will be said that America was taken off guard at the height of its power at the turn of the century; it stumbled for a decade in an unfamiliar environment; but in the next decade America found a new national commitment of unity and resolve to adapt to its new status and leadership role in the world."  Whether Feingold's dream demands limits on the influence of corporations on American politics will be an important discussion point.

Free and open to the public, the live taping will take place on the Stanford campus in Cubberley Auditorium where audience members will be encouraged to participate in the discussion.  The recorded show will air on stations nationwide in April.

About Philosophy Talk

Philosophy Talk, the "program that questions everything, except your intelligence," is in its ninth season.  Heard in nearly 300 regions nationally, Philosophy Talk celebrates the value of the examined life. Listeners are invited to join in conversations about issues from popular culture to deeply held beliefs, challenging members of the audience to identify and question their assumptions. 

For more news about the humanities at Stanford, visit The Human Experience:



Corrie Goldman, Stanford Humanities Outreach Officer: (650) 724-8156,

Dave Millar, Philosophy Talk Marketing Manager: (650) 724-7193,

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