My fellow conservative students and I half-ironically borrowed the language of the multiculturalist left and applied it to ourselves. The left talked about women and students of color as victims of historical and institutional inequality because of things like patriarchy, slavery and Jim Crow. Most of us conservatives didn’t suffer from similar injustices, but we saw ourselves nevertheless as victims of ideological oppression.
I was pretty good at spreading this narrative, in large part because I had one of the loudest voices on campus. I edited the op-ed section of the student newspaper, participated in public speaking and debating events, and spoke out frequently in my classes (garnering more than a few eye-rolls). I wrote thousand-word essays on how the campus stifled free speech that were then published in college-funded newsletters. My Conservatives Club colleagues and I received national attention. Some were featured on the cover of The New York Times Magazine, and others got booked on popular TV shows like “The O’Reilly Factor.” In short, for an oppressed minority group whose speech was stifled, we had an awful lot of press.