Editor's Note: The annual Conference on World Affairs, hosted by CU-Boulder each spring since 1949, wrapped up last week with at least one conservative undergrad having a sour taste in her mouth from the liberal intolerance, intellectual bullying, and groupthink she encountered in place of the "civil discourse" CWA is supposed to foster. Erin Flynn filed the following report with one of her professors, Vincent McGuire (who is also a Centennial Fellow).
I've attended three CWA panels over the past two days and at the 2nd and 3rd I got to ask questions. So I'm at the third panel "Progressives Getting Their Groove Back" which I find to be very interesting since I think progressives are ruining America (that's just me though). But to the point, I get to ask the first question, and this is what I say (directed to the proud card-carrying socialist speaker):
"How can you defend and rationalize socialist government when our forefathers fought a bloody war to protect us from government and wrote a great document known as the Constitution of the United States to prevent socialism and progressivism?"
Though my wording was aggressive, my delivery was quite nervous-sounding, since I was in front of a couple hundred people in the Glenn Miller Ballroom. But before I could get any sort of answer, another speaker on that panel says "Wait, just wait a minute, are you some sort of plant? You keep coming to these and asking conservative questions so what's the deal?"
What followed was the panelists, moderator, and crowd ganging up on me. People in the crowd were yelling at me to "sit down" and "shut up" and the panel continued to insult my intelligence while simultaneously cutting me off. The socialist-loving speaker didn't even answer my question (and in his response decided to say that totalitarian governments haven't existed since Stalin fell. Apparently China and Cuba don't count).
I was really upset, but sat through the rest of it and listened to the all of the other questions. As soon as I got back to my computer, I sent Glenn Beck an email but I know that was just a whim. So what should I do, Professor? The CWA program states "it's conversation, where CWA promotes civil discourse, debate, disagreement, depth, discernment, and delight". I can easily disprove all of this alliteration. But I feel like even if I write to the CWA leader or some dean they'll just ignore me because really they don't care about me having any sort of voice, since I'm sure I would disagree with them politically too. All of the panels are recorded, so maybe that's a start.
It's so frustrating, and I'm sick of people hiding by saying they are about something reasonable when they are actually the opposite. Do you know of anyone reasonable I could talk to as a start? Or maybe 9News would care about intolerance on the Boulder campus?
By the way, the panelist who called me a conservative "plant" happens to be a student government officer who is paid in part by MY fees. I will definitely be going to all future panels featuring that individual. Maybe with a video camera too.
The author can be reached at Erin.Flynn@Colorado.EDU