Phi Beta Cons

Create Hysteria, Then Profit from It

In case you missed it, there is a documentary film that purports to expose the “campus rape culture.” Premiering at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, “The Hunting Ground” takes full advantage of the belief that college campuses are extraordinarily dangerous places for women because sexual assault is so common and tolerated. Canadian writer Wendy McElroy’s Daily Bell piece about this film is excellent.

“The film is best understood as a volley in the campus consent wars now raging across North America,” she writes. “It is part of a manufactured and coordinated hysteria about campus rape that imposes a politically-correct agenda and strips accused male students of due process rights.”

Exactly. This is another of those hobgoblins H.L Mencken observed were so vital to crusaders, who constantly need “issues” that keep people looking to them for salvation.

The movie has brought in a mere $95,000 in three weeks, but it is certain, McElroy writes, to get many campus screenings “sponsored by Women’s Studies Departments and other ‘progressive’ voices.”

And that’s where the profit will be made. At the end of the film, viewers are encouraged to “Take Action!” by clicking a button. That button brings up the NEO Philanthropy site, which assures the eager-to-do-something viewer that donations are tax-deductible and will support “student-led campaigns, public education, policy reform, and prevention approaches.”

McElroy checked into NEO Philanthropy, however, and found that its two presidents pull down hefty salaries, uses its money for a host of leftist/Democrat causes, but apparently makes no grants “to groups that focus on preventing rape or sexual assault.”

There are many philanthropies that make highly effective use of donated funds to address actual human needs. By capitalizing on the phony hysteria over campus sexual assault, NEO diverts money that might have gone to them into a profitable non-profit that merely bankrolls a bunch of generically leftist groups — while enabling its founders to live very well.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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