Virtual Middlebury

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised fresh perennial questions about the relationship between scientific knowledge and political power. As citizens have been asked to transform their way of life on the basis of scientific guidance, many have expressed alarm at widespread disregard for scientific expertise throughout the crisis, while others have argued that scientific expertise is no substitute for political prudence and ethical judgment, even in the age of pandemic. What role should guidance by technical experts play in a democratic regime? Is scientific expertise a sufficient guide for public policy decisions? How should we understand the problems posed by anti-intellectualism on one hand and technocracy on the other?

For this counterpoint-style webinar, our guest speakers will be:

TOM NICHOLS of the Naval War College. He is author of The Death of Expertise: The Campaign against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters. He was recently named one of POLITICO Magazine’s “POLITICO 50.”

PATRICK J. DENEEN of the University of Notre Dame. He is author most recently of the widely reviewed book, Why Liberalism Failed, which President Obama praised for its “cogent insights into the loss of meaning and community that many in the West feel.” 

Sponsored by the Alexander Hamilton Forum and the Department of Political Science.

For the Zoom link, visit

Sponsored by:
Political Science

Contact Organizer

Callanan, Keegan