Gifts Enable Free, Independent Science

In Sweden, there is no economic benefit to giving a gift to a charity or a research institution such as a university. The money is still taxed, obscenely so, by the government. This has resulted in Swedish universities being dependent, to an extraordinary degree, on the government for their very survival, as the wealthy and corporations are usually content with letting the enormous amount of taxes they pay be enough. This means that the research grants and endowments are filtered through the political and bureaucratic machinery, which in turn determines what projects get money, while anything deemed politically incorrect is stillborn.

In the case of the natural sciences, this isn’t too upsetting. Politics haven’t figured much in researching new medicines or alloys, aside from the decades-long ban on research into for instance nuclear power in Sweden.

In the case of the social sciences, however, there is a clear danger. Make no mistake about it. If a researcher presents finds that challenge feminism, corporatism, communitarianism, or any other type of collectivist dogma spouted by the mainstream media and their socialist allies, funds will rapidly dry up. If on the other hand, they recycle old politically correct garbage that reinforce the status quo or call for more government intervention, then they receive another fat check to continue sitting around the office. It is a process wherein criticism is weeded out and conformity is rewarded.

Assume that two students consider writing a thesis in Sweden. One decides to evaluate the statistics of the death penalty. The other writes a normative paper decrying the evilness of the death penalty. Which one do you think gets that paid doctorate position before being on the fast road to a steady, government-funded job at the university? Right. The conformist.

Let’s try one more! Assume you are head of a political science department mostly surviving on government funds. You want to expand your faculty in the face of budgetary constraints. Do you support new PhD students critical of big government and welfare dependence? Or do you seek grants to employ someone loudly in favor of environmentalism and more government regulations? Right. You employ the environmentalist. And then another. And another. And so on.

It all leads to bad science by academic hacks more interested in spreading politically correct socialism than doing research that leads to a better country.

On that note, we’ve had almost 70 straight years of Social Democracy with no holds barred government intervention and regulation in every aspect of private and public life. And for all these billions we’ve poured into the social sciences, what have we got to show for it? More people on welfare dependence than ever before, more people socially isolated, rising crime that reaches new records every year, falling confidence in politicians, and budget problems everywhere.

Shouldn’t these scientists have solved these problems? Or is the simple truth that they’re just paid to say what their political employers tell them to say?

By making it economical suicide for companies, wealthy individuals, and even middle class families to donate sums of money to research institutions, newspapers, and charity, the politicians intentionally keep them under control. No one bites the hand that feeds. And so we’re stuck with so-called scientists writing papers about what is politically correct, rather than what actually works.

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~ by Escaping Perdition on February 22, 2009.

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