21 February 2010

Further on nonsense research

In the article referred to in the previous post, we have an ‘academic’ with socially conferred status and salary paid out of taxpayers’ money, informing us that it is in our best interests not to have money which might make us free not to support ourselves by doing ‘jobs’. Evidently we should be overjoyed that the government takes away our money in taxes, so that it can be allocated to the support of salaried academics such as him, and to salaries for other jobs, doing which will give people a sense of purpose and self-esteem.

Who but policy-makers would be interested in such ‘research’ being carried out and published? People with money to spare would scarcely be interested in paying to find this out. Those without money to spare might conceivably like the rich to be told that they should wish to get rid of it by giving it to the poor ... but they would have no money to spare. Would a freelance intellectual, supported by his private income, be likely to find this a stimulating field of enquiry?

The government alone, stuffed as it is with policy-makers, has an interest in encouraging such pronouncements, and plenty of (taxpayers’) money available to do so.

Much academic ‘research’ has the underlying motive of justifying the extension of future confiscatory and interventionist policies. This has been true from a very early stage of the development of egalitarian Britain.

I am reminded of someone I knew, with an IQ little, if at all, above average, who became a lecturer in the new and imaginary subject of sociology at a polytechnic (now, of course, called a university). Sociology, like many new academic subjects, was designed to be accessible to people with low IQs, having little detailed informational content. My acquaintance was keen on Durkheim, whose work had much the same implications as the more modern ‘research’ drawn on by Dr Boyce. What makes people commit suicide, Durkheim said, was not disastrous changes in their objective (including financial) circumstances, but finding themselves isolated from social groups to which they formerly belonged. So, policy-makers, it doesn’t matter a bit if you make people’s circumstances worse, so long as you provide them with plenty of inexpensive group activities.

Mary Adams of the BBC used to expound the inspiring idea, which she had picked up in communist China, that domestic pets should not be allowed because their company prevented the elderly from becoming desperate enough to attend socially provided Day Centres where they could sit around (in a group) with other elderly people.