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Chautauqua Institution’s Destruction

Chautauqua Institution was once a fine place to visit, many years ago.

It was safe, quiet, full of interesting people reading books or lecturing about the most recent book they had written. The on-site opera and orchestra provided just about everyone with any artistic taste with something.

Decades later, it has been completely taken over by the same people who have targeted every other American institution for capture and control, or destruction.

Chautauqua is now a summertime parade of communists, bigots, America haters, partisan political activists. Each speaker is treated to lavish welcome ceremonies as if they are the most gifted thinker on Planet Earth, when in fact they are the meanest, most close-minded political street brawlers in America.

The place reeks of radical, angry politics everywhere you turn. The air is poisonous with hate and tension, but always sold as love and open-mindedness.

I think the institution is still physically safe, for now, but my own kids have this sense that all is not well there. They have grown up going there every summer, and they report back feeling that same tension that anyone with different views feels there now. Unwelcome.

The last time I was there, or one of the last times, I sat at the Amp for a lecture by Donna Brazile. Of course she was presented as some kind of open-minded Deep Thinker, when in fact she is a narrowly partisan fighter and proven liar. Brazile helped fix Hillary’s illegal cheating “win” over Bernie Sanders in the Democrat primary.

When Brazile spoke that day, the entire Amp was a cheering section for the lady. There used to be rules against cheering or clapping for speakers, but the hyper partisan activists who now populate and run Chautauqua observe the same kind of rules on decorum as they do the laws they disdain for border security and illegal aliens living in “sanctuary” cities. That is, they make the rules as they go.

Having just received some emails from one of the Chautauqua administrators, I had to write this. The guy is either a huge liar, or a huge fool. To assert that Chautauqua Institution is anything but a far-left training camp and summertime re-education society is to deny the obvious reality as reflected in the speakers they invite, the speakers they DISINVITE, and all of the other far-Left programming there.

The CHQ administrators purposefully exclude alternative views they disagree with, even though CHQ is supposed to be all about alternative views. “Dissent” and “dialogue” is only acceptable from those who agree with the CHQ administrators and their partisan, liberal guest voices. This means that Chautauqua is an artificial, fabricated environment. Reality is concealed. Stealth is their way.

I understand the mindset of Liberals. I grew up with them. Liberals are very close-minded and very, very uncomfortable sharing any kind of space – physical, emotional, or intellectual – with anyone else. Let’s face it, Liberals are the very angry, hate-filled bigots they always said they were against. Chautauqua now perfectly represents that hateful culture, and the people now drawn to it and most happy there are like-minded tyrants and control freaks. Zero tolerance for opposing views.

And no, CHQ’s in-house “conservative” David Brooks is not a conservative. He is a RINO Republican, a moderate, which means he is pretty much a liberal. But he is there so the institution can falsely claim to cover all philosophical corners.

Please, spare us the visibly false claims and the pretensions to openness. Like the Boy Scouts of America, the education profession, academia, the media, Disney, and almost all other once-great institutions, Chautauqua Institution has been overthrown and captured by bigoted political partisans, who have now bent the place to their warped purposes.

Everyone have a nice summer. It won’t be at CHQ for me. The Chautauqua of my youth has been destroyed.


  • Aug 29th 201903:08
    by Jazzhead27

    Wow! I have so many things to say and yet most of what I’m feeling was summed up in your synopsis. I grew up with all my summers being spent at Chautauqua. First we rented and then my family purchased a small cottage in the early 1950’s for $5,000. I only mention the price as it shows how affordable staying at Chautauqua was at this time. It was such a wonderful diversion from the rest of the year spent in a Buffalo, NY suburb. I went to the Nursery School and to the Boys & Girls Club. Our family spent the entire Chautauqua season (9 weeks) plus weeks before and after the “Season” to open & close the cottage. The gate passes were very reasonable (slightly over $!00) for the Season. There were special Amphitheater events, but there was no extra charge/fee/ticket for such events. There were no passes worn around the neck showing you were part of the “Flock”. More than that however there were no political discussions at all. It was a place to get away from all that. It was a place where people could come for a few days and not worry about spending much money. Lodging was inexpensive and there 3 or more cafeterias where one could eat well for under $5. As I went from my teen years & on to college I still came to Chautauqua in the summer. I spent my time working on the Institutions grounds for my gate pass, posing at the then Syracuse University extension their art classes & some nights were spent at the Mar Mar or Snug Harbor as a bartender. On other nights I enjoyed listing to the Chautauqua Symphony, an opera, a play or even a lecture. Once in a while there were special events like The Kingston Trio or The Dave Brubeck Quartet.
    The difference between then and now is immense. This past Season’s gate pass if purchased early was $2,000 & if purchased after 5/31 was over $4,000. Who knows what 2020 will bring. This does not include special event additional fees. Then there are the gate passes themselves. They must be worn around your neck like you’re a prisoner of the Chautauqua “Institution”. I’m not sure what sort of gestapo maintains the pass decorum and what sort of penalty results if you’re caught without your pass. Our family finally sold our cottage in 2018 as we couldn’t afford the tickets/taxes & maintenance required to keep our residence. We also had a hard time dealing with the extreme shift to a political agenda that Chautauqua has so deftly, over the last 35 years, woven into its programming. From the time our parents both passed away in the late 1990’s we were renting the cottage for between $25,000 to $30,000/Season in order to pay taxes & maintain the house.
    This next season (2020) shows an example of just how progressively left Chautauqua’s hierarchy has decided to push the programming . Things like: 1) Climate Change: Prioritizing Our Global and Local Response 2)Art and Democracy (Seemingly innocuous, but the picture below the topic shows a wonderful glossy color portrait of Barack Obama next to a fiendishly yellowish, brown picture of someone whispering into George W Bush’s ear). 3) The Ethics of Tech: Scientific, Corporate and Personal Responsibility 4) Reframing the Constitution 5) The Future We Want, The World We Need: Collective Action for Tomorrow’s Challenges.
    Our family has not been the only family moving out of Chautauqua. Many cottages have already been sold & many more are still on the market. The Institution has purchased some of these cottages and where possible turned or changed them into condos. The old timers, for the most part, are being forced out because of both the ever increasing taxes and the insane cost of passes. Some of them are just fed up with the political climate.
    The way this Chautauqua is headed is nothing what the founders Lewis Miller & John Vincent envisioned the future to be. It’s only a lucrative way to line the pockets of the powers that are now in charge and at the same time push their liberal agenda to summer vacationers.

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    Jul 27th 201807:07
    by Maggie's Farm

    Friday morning links

     There’s water on Mars! Signs of buried lake tantalize scientists  What is Transgenderism? It’s a fad, like hula hoops  Chautauqua Institution’s Destruction. Chautauqua Institution was once a fine place to visit, many years ago. Th

  • Jul 26th 201809:07
    by Incman

    Absolutely spot on. I’ve been a Chautauquan since 1981 and own a home in the institution and I’ve witnessed the destruction you so perfectly describe. I feel a great loss as I avoid the lectures that I know will become hate speech against our American values, our American President and our America. So sorry.

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