Dinesh D’Souza saw what Michael Moore did with political documentaries and thought, “If he can do this, how hard can it be?” The acclaimed author turned filmmaker told the Vitae Foundation audience in Columbia, Mo., on Sunday night that movies appeal to the heart and reach more people—much like Vitae’s work.
“A movie is like an ad, it’s ultimately a visual experience. It’s an experience that entangles logic and emotion and ultimately deals with the complexity of human personality in making a decision in a difficult situation. That’s the business that Vitae is in,” D’Souza stated. “It’s not easy, and that’s why I’m glad they are doing it. It’s our job to help them.”
The man behind the #2 and #6 all-time grossing political documentaries acknowledged that we’re playing on an uneven playing field, and Vitae knows this. Academia, Hollywood, and comedians have the megaphones today. When we see the big lies, most of us don’t have a big enough megaphone to contest it.
“In the end, it’s about saving lives,” the New York Times bestselling author stated. “Today, it’s the equivalent to the Underground Railroad. While you’re waiting for change, not just in the culture but a political opening that could result in a dramatic change in the fortunes of the unborn, we have Vitae. We have research. We have media. We have ways of sending information into the minds of young people.”
Vitae President Rob Rysavy shared with the audience it once cost Vitae $600 to get an abortion-determined woman to a center. Now it costs about $25 here in Missouri. In the larger metropolitan areas in the U.S., it is even less.
“Additionally, our conversion rate, which is a measure of the effectiveness of digital marketing, is over two and half times better than the national average. I’ll say that again, we are 250 percent better than the country’s typical for-profit organizations,” Rysavy noted.
Senior Market Director Stacey Kromer elaborated further on how digital technology has created a revolution around how consumers shop. “The goal of every online paid ad campaign is to get a high rate of conversions. That’s when a woman clicks through the ad to a landing page created by Vitae and ultimately makes contact with the center by phone or through the web.”
Kromer reported that Vitae can save Pregnancy Help Centers money in staff time and management costs, by providing research-based websites, SEO and paid search. These are proven marketing tools, but add the element of Vitae’s research and it results in a much higher rate of abortion-minded women entering through a center’s website—their electronic front door.
D’Souza is known for taking a cultural argument and breaking it down in common sense terms. On Sunday night, he posed the idea to the 300 Vitae supporters that in the “church of modern progressivism,” abortion is a sacrament.
“We are seeing today not only should abortion be legal but that the government should pay for it. They use terms like ‘access’ and ‘right’ but the truth of it is even if abortion was a constitutional right, stuck right there next to the First Amendment, it would still not have any claim to be funded,” D’Souza noted.
Why? He pointed out that none of our other basic rights are funded by the government. We have the First Amendment right to free speech, yet the government doesn’t pay someone to start a newspaper. We have a right to freedom of religion, but the government doesn’t pay to build churches. The same goes with the Second Amendment, as the government doesn’t buy the guns people have a right to carry.
“All our fundamental rights are left to us to fund on our own dime,” D’Souza stated. “When someone is arguing for the government to pay for abortion, what they are saying is it’s a right that trumps all these other rights. It is the supreme right of all rights, if you will.”
The playing field is uneven. Not everyone has a megaphone. However, D’Souza said that everyone is a mini-publisher when using social media. This is a fantastic way for pro-life people to contest the monopoly in our culture.
“If the left had its way, all of us would be forced into submission and silence. That’s their real goal,” D’Souza warned.
In the end, the former Reagan White House advisor said this is a fight that we can certainly win. In order to win it, however, we have to use influence and know our own power. He related a story a college professor told him.
You have a lion tamer and a lion. The lion tamer was a little guy with a stick. You have the lion obediently doing what the lion tamer wants. The professor asks who is more powerful. Obviously, it’s the lion. If that’s the case, why is the lion so shamelessly following the dictates of the lion tamer? The answer is that the lion doesn’t know its own power. The lion thinks the lion tamer is more powerful.
“Here we are in America, the ordinary citizen, and we feel that the media and Hollywood and these institutions rule over us. They want to give us that idea. They are trying to establish that kind of control,” D’Souza stated. “But at the end of the day, they don’t have it. We have it. So, my thought is that we will win ultimately, not just because our cause is right, but because we rise up as we have. We fight creatively and intelligently and with our full energy to the wheel. We are the lion, and it’s time for us to roar.”