05/08/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Where Left, Right, and Center Collide in Civility

A bunch of clueless mainstream media scribes want you to believe that a handful of centrist Democrats have just devised a way that political discussions over thorny issues can involve progressives and conservatives seeking common ground.


Its propaganda peddled by centrist Democratic Party spin doctors looking for the votes of conservative evangelicals and using backpeddling on women's rights and gay rights as bait.

In fact, meetings involving progressives and conservatives seeking common ground have been going on for decades.

This week, the 61st annual Conference on World Affairs is being held in Boulder, Colorado. Over 100 speakers sit on panels covering scores of subjects over five days. The panelists represent a broad range of ideological viewpoint, from the Heritage Foundation to the Communist Party, USA. It is an amazing event.

My first panel yesterday was titled "The purpose of the Universe is to create God." Conference organizers have a penchant for crafting tricky titles. Religious, spiritual, and non-spiritual panelists juggled an array of inter-related ideas in a lively yet respectful way. We never agreed on an answer, but all came away with new insights.

There was more agreement on the next panel on which I sat, "Civil Liberties: What Me Worry?" chaired by Cathy Hazouri who leads the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado. I covered the left flank, while Malou Innocent of the libertarian Cato Foundation staked out what I consider a form of right-wing economic theory. Innocent disagrees. No matter. All the panelists agreed that everyone has a stake in defending civil liberties, that erode under both Republican and Democratic administrations.

So if you are interested in the high stakes poker of intellectual discussions where disagreement is encouraged while civility is respected, drop in on the week-long Conference on World Affairs: