Hysteria is the human condition

Over and over, bouts of hysteria have rocked people out of their senses. In America there were the Salem witch trials of the late 17th century, the rise of the KKK after the Civil War, Red Scare and Palmer Raids of 1919-1920, McCarthyism of the 1950’s, false allegations of child sexual abuse of the 1980s, and one might say the hoax and scientific fraud associated with human-caused global warming and/or climate change rises to the level of hysteria as well.

Behind every spasm of hysteria usually lies someone or some group that has something to gain from it and will do all they can to keep it going.  The booty to be gained need not be monetary since psychological gratification is just about as alluring as financial gain.  While there are always those who profit from mass hysteria, there are others that suffer under it, sometimes to a great and crippling extent.

“Witches” were hanged and their relatives inherited their assets; modern historical findings have shown that most of those accused of witchcraft had relatives with the expectancy of wealth to be gained upon their death. Attorney General Mitchell Palmer is an example of seeking psychic and political gain through self aggrandizement. The same can be said of Joseph McCarthy, as well as the many false accusers of child sexual abuse in the 1980s. Many of the false allegations aimed at day care centers have been shown to have had roots in some personal quarrel between the accuser and the accused.  When legions of others jumped on the accuser bandwagon it was again the allure of psychic gain that largely motivated them.

The global warming/climate change hysteria is fueled by a multitude of benefits to the hoaxers. Those engaged in scientific research have a stake in the government grants that pay their salaries. The whole thing is made to order for environmental extremists who have found what is for them a near perfect vehicle to spew their nonsensical ideas.

The current hysteria over alleged sexual assault on campus fits the mould of mass hysteria perfectly.  It gives women of delicate sensibilities and general grievances against men a chance to  gain vast sympathy heaped upon them as helpless victims. College administrators can amplify the reach of their power over others and enjoy the psychic benefits associated with dominion and authority.

Every one of these convulsions produces real victims who suffer greatly. The women of Salem who were accused of being witches were hanged. McCarthyism cost people their jobs and careers, some of whom barely knew what communism was and didn’t know any actual communists. The false child abuse charges against day care personnel sent innocent people to prison. The children were also victims of the accusers because they grew up believing they were sexually abused when they were not.

False allegations of sexual assault on campus has reached similar levels of insanity.  None other than the President of the United Staes has chimed in with phony statistics that 1 in 5 college women have been raped. Anyone who has a son attending a college should be alarmed by this witch hunt being carried out by people who claim to be educators.  So far, male students are not being lynched by gangs of true believers, but the moral equivalent of a lynching is taking place all over U.S. campuses.  Here is what Janet Halley has written in the Harvard Law Review:

I recently assisted a young man who was subjected by administrators at his small liberal arts university in Oregon to a month-long investigation into all his campus relationships, seeking information about his possible sexual misconduct in them (an immense invasion of his and his friends’ privacy), and who was ordered to stay away from a fellow student (cutting him off from his housing, his campus job, and educational opportunity) — all because he reminded her of the man who had raped her months before and thousands of miles away. He was found to be completely innocent of any sexual misconduct and was informed of the basis of the complaint against him only by accident and off-hand. But the stay-away order remained in place, and was so broadly drawn up that he was at constant risk of violating it and coming under discipline for that.

When the duty to prevent a “sexually hostile environment” is interpreted this expansively, it is affirmatively indifferent to the restrained person’s complete and total innocence of any misconduct whatsoever.

Fortunately, lawyers are always on the lookout for gainful employment and many are finding clients with actionable grievances against their state university (or private college receiving Federal money) for denial of their due process rights. It is high time for all of us to take a stand against these monstrous proceedings by university administrators and say, as Joseph Welch said to Joseph McCarthy on June 9, 1954, “At long last, Sir. Have you no sense of decency?”

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