Pope Lectures

The John W. Pope Lecture Series

The John W. Pope Foundation hosts Clemson's largest and most important lecture series. Held once per semester, each lecture is free and open to the public. Lectures in the past have focused on topics in political science and economics.

Past speakers include George F. Will, Alan Charles Kors, Tyler Cowen, Richard Epstein and Lawrence W. Reed.

free speech, campus, clemson

The Fall 2017 Pope Lecture


Coming to Clemson

Free speech is under assault on America's college campuses. Increasingly, college campuses are being defined by censorship, indoctrination, political correctness, and violence.

Can anything be done to stop the assault on free speech?

Dave Rubin,
Creator and Host of
"The Rubin Report"
Onkar Ghate,
Senior Fellow,
Ayn Rand Institute
Jordan Peterson,
Author and Psychology Professor,
University of Toronto

Join Dave Rubin of  "The Rubin Report" with professor Jordan Peterson of the University of Toronto and philosopher Onkar Ghate of the Ayn Rand Institute for a discussion on the state of free speech on college campuses.

About The Speakers




Dave Rubin

Dave Rubin is an American political commentator, comedian, talk show host, and television personality. He is the creator and host of political talk show The Rubin Report.

Rubin is known for his political satire and political commentary. He considers his views to be similar to those of classical liberalism and targets many topics including political correctness, free speech, politics, mass media, religion, foreign affairs, and the ideological split between liberalism and progressivism.



Onkar Ghate

Onkar Ghate is a Senior Fellow and chief content officer at the Ayn Rand Institute. He is the Institute’s resident expert on Objectivism and serves as its senior trainer and editor. He has taught philosophy for over ten years at the Institute’s Objectivist Academic Center.

Dr. Ghate is a contributing author to a number of books on Rand’s fiction and philosophy, including Essays on Ayn Rand’s "The Fountainhead"; Essays on Ayn Rand’s "Atlas Shrugged"; Why Businessmen Need Philosophy: The Capitalist's Guide to the Ideas Behind Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged"; Concepts and Their Role in Knowledge: Reflections on Objectivist Epistemology; and “A Companion to Ayn Rand (Blackwell Companions to Philosophy).”

His op-eds have appeared in venues that range across the ideological spectrum, from Huffington Post to CNN.com to Foxnews.com and Businessweek.com. He’s been interviewed on national and international radio, including NPR and BBC Radio, and has appeared as a television guest on CNBC, KCET, Fox News Channel and the CBS Evening News.

A Canadian citizen, Dr. Ghate studied economics and philosophy as an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto and worked in the financial industry prior to joining ARI in 2000. He received his doctorate in philosophy in 1998 from the University of Calgary.



Jordan Peterson

Dr. Jordan B. Peterson has taught mythology to lawyers, doctors and businessmen, consulted for the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Sustainable Development, helped his clinical clients manage depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, and schizophrenia, served as an advisor to senior partners of major Canadian law firms, identified thousands of promising entrepreneurs on six different continents, and lectured extensively in North America and Europe.

With his students and colleagues, Dr. Peterson has published more than a hundred scientific papers, transforming the modern understanding of personality, and revolutionized the psychology of religion with his now-classic book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief. As a Harvard professor, he was nominated for the prestigious Levinson Teaching Prize, and is regarded by his current University of Toronto students as one of three truly life-changing teachers.

He’s a Quora Most Viewed Writer in Values and Principles and Parenting and Education with 125,000 Twitter followers and 35,000 Facebook likes. His YouTube channel has over 200 videos, 275,000 subscribers, and 12,000,000 views and his classroom lectures on mythology were turned into a popular 13-part TV series on TVO. Dr. Peterson’s online self-help program, the Self Authoring Suite, featured in O: The Oprah Magazine, CBC radio, and NPR’s national website, has helped over 150,000 people resolve the problems of their past and radically improve their future.




Past Pope Lectures on YouTube

The Betrayal of Liberty on America's Campuses (Spring 2016)

Co-founder of The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and Professor at the University of Pennsylvania Alan Charles Kors spoke about how universities once believed themselves to be sacred enclaves, where students and professors could debate the issues of the day and arrive at a better understanding of the human condition. Today, sadly, this ideal of the university is being quietly betrayed from within. Universities still set themselves apart from American society, but now they do so by enforcing their own politically correct worldview through censorship, double standards and a judicial system without due process. Faculty and students who threaten the prevailing norms may be forced to undergo "thought reform." In a surreptitious about-face, universities have become the enemy of a free society, and the time has come to hold these institutions to account.Click here for some photos from Professor Kors' visit to Clemson University.

America's Great Debate: James Madison vs. Woodrow Wilson By George F. Will (Fall 2015)

Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist George F. Will is one of our most widely read political writers. His popular twice-weekly column for The Washington Post syndicate reaches nearly 475 newspapers throughout the United States and Europe. Mr. Will has provided the following description for his talk: "American political thought can be understood as an argument between two Princetonians—James Madison and Woodrow Wilson. Madison represents the natural rights, limited government tradition. Wilson represents the progressive rejection of that tradition, a rejection rooted in the idea of a 'living Constitution' that impose negligible inhibitions on government, and especially executive, power." Thank you to all our attendees for this event. We had about 700 people in the audience, who gave Mr. Will several standing ovations. Click here for some photos from Mr. Will's visit to Clemson University.

Is ObamaCare Constitutional? A debate with Steve Simpson and Neil Siegel (Spring 2015)

Steve Simpson of the Ayn Rand Institute and Neil Siegel of Duke University School of Law debate the constitutionality of perhaps the single most important and controversial law passed in the last 50 years, President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

"Bootleggers and Baptists" by Dr. Bruce Yandle (Fall 2014)

Bruce Yandle, Dean Emeritus of the Clemson College of Business and Behavioral Science, spoke about how policy analysts, academic and journalists lament the influence of money on politics. But in the political economy, politicians often carefully design regulations so that two very different interest groups will be satisfied: the "bootleggers" who seek to obtain private benefits from the regulation and the "Baptists" who seek to serve the public interest. This talk was based off Dr. Yandle's book titled, Bootleggers and Baptists in the Garden of Good and Evil: Explaining America's Regulatory Journey.

Champion of the Market: The Life and Ideas of F.A. Hayek (Spring 2014)

Professor Bruce Caldwell, one of the world's leading Hayek scholars and general editor of the Collected Works of F.A. Hayek, presented a lecture on the life and ideas of the Nobel Prize winning economist Friedrich Hayek.

Was Jesus A Socialist? Robert P. George and Ron Sider Debate (Fall 2013)

Distinguished scholars Robert P. George, Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University and director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, and Ron Sider, Professor of Theology at the Palmer Theological Seminary, held a high-minded conversation on economics and religion.

The Free Market Revolution by Dr. Yaron Brook (Fall 2012)

Yaron Brook offers a strident defense of laissez-faire capitalism and the philosophy of Ayn Rand. Dr. Brook calls for a Free Market Revolution in the way people think about markets and about the central activity that defines market activity: the pursuit of profit. Brook argues that Rand’s philosophy of rational self-interest holds the solution to America’s political and economic ills, including the debt crisis, looming inflation, and the swelling entitlement state.

The Great Stagnation by Tyler Cowen (Fall 2011)

America has been through the biggest financial crisis since the great Depression, unemployment numbers are frightening, median wages have been flat since the 1970s, and it is common to expect that things will get worse before they get better. Certainly, the multi‐decade stagnation is not yet over. How will we get out of this mess?
As Tyler Cowen argues, our economy has enjoyed low‐hanging fruit since the seventeenth century: free land, immigrant labor, and powerful new technologies. But during the last forty years, the low‐hanging fruit started disappearing, and we started pretending it was still there. Cowen reveals the underlying causes of our past prosperity and how we will generate it again. This is a passionate call for a new respect of scientific innovations that benefit not only the powerful elites, but humanity as a whole.

Socialism's Legacy by Alan Charles Kors (Spring 2011)

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, many optimists claimed that the world was now somehow "after socialism." There are reasons, however—structural, political, moral, and intellectual—why the collapse of Communism did not entail the end of socialism. This talk by Alan Kors will explain why there can be no "after socialism" until the West comes to ultimate terms with the catastrophic legacy of international communism.

The Higher Education Bubble and What Comes Next by Glenn Reynolds (Fall 2010)

Over the past few decades, college and graduate tuitions have climbed much faster than the rate of inflation and the growth of household income, with the difference being made up by debt taken on by students who assumed they'd have no trouble paying it off after graduation. Now students are graduating with big debts, but no jobs. This process can't go on forever. What happens when it stops?
Glenn Reynolds is the Beauchamp Brogan Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Tennessee. The author most recently of An Army of Davids: How Markets And Technology Empower Ordinary People To Beat Big Media, Big Government, And Other Goliaths, Reynolds is also a Contributing Editor at Popular Mechanics, a columnist at the Washington Examiner, and the host of "InstaVision" on PJTV.

The Right Kind of Rules: What Washington Can Learn from Twitter by Virginia Postrell (Spring 2010)

Virginia Postrel, author of The Future and Its Enemies and The Substance of Style, delivered the John W. Pope Foundation lecture on February 24th, 2010. The title of the lecture was "The Right Kind of Rules: What Washington Can Learn from Twitter."

Leadership and Values by John Allison (Fall 2009)

John A. Allison, IV, chairman and former CEO of BB&T Corp., delivered the Fall 2009 John W. Pope Lecture.

Allison's lecture addressed the genesis and implementation of his BB&T Values program at the company. He will explore how today's confusion about values has led to poor leadership and how an integrated vision of values can help develop better leaders as well as serve as a practical means to achieve success and happiness.