Every year a member in residence of the Alpha of Louisiana Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa delivers the Fall Lecture. This lecture is designed to engage the Tulane community with an address that focuses on the lecturer's area of expertise while highlighting Phi Beta Kappa's ideals.
The 2016 Phi Beta Kappa Fall Lecture was delivered on October 20th by Brian J. Brox, Associate Professor of Political Science and President of the Alpha of Louisiana Chapter
Professor Brox's lecture was titled "The 2016 Election and the Meaning of Democracy." In his lecture Professor Brox discussed the ideals of Phi Beta Kappa: excellence in the liberal arts and sciences, intellectual fellowship, and freedom of inquiry. He went on to discuss three pathologies he noticed during the 2016 campaign for president. He described limitations in the information available to voters. He noted how the concept of 'debate' has been distorted and that neither citizens nor candidates truly debated the issues of imporance during the campaing. Finally, he lamented the antipathy many Americans feel toward expertise and how experts are routinely dismissed during political discussions. He concluded with a call for Americans to reward candidates and parties (with votes, donations, and activism) who keep with the best traditions of American democracy by providing clear information, engaging in forthright debate, and recognizing rather than demonizing experts.
Text of Professor Brox's lecture is available here and pictures from the event are available on the chapter's Facebook page.