John Churchill in the Spring 2006 Key Reporter (Phi Beta Kappa newsletter) editorializes about the relevance to society of a strange club with the motto "The love of learning is the guide of life." He reflects on the core values of democracy and identifies three "skills of deliberation that are important to citizenship":
Earlier in his essay Churchill raises the question, "Is Phi Beta Kappa gloriously useless?" He concludes:
If citizens in a democracy are to deliberate, these are their tools. They need to be able to think; they need facts to think with; and they need a grasp of what is worth thinking about. So, if we want a democracy that is about more than counting votes, a democracy in which citizens are equipped to withstand the skills of manipulators and in which the connection between truth and freedom is clear, we will support the ideals of Phi Beta Kappa. Useful as well as glorious.