You know? This is why we get government to pay for research

The US transgender activist Riki Wilchins told Today there had been a strong political undercurrent in previous studies, which had been used to restrict transgender people’s access to surgery.

“So when I see one more study that aims to show transgender people really don’t need this or want this, or they are just deluded or suffering from some other kind of psychopathology, I look at it a little bit warily … The problem is not the study itself, it’s the uses to which that study is put,” she said.

Wilchins said a “very small fraction” of people decide to detransition. “I’m not trying to say it’s not a fraught experience for them, or that it should not be studied. But it’s not the first place I would put my money if I wanted to study the problems afflicting transgender people,” she said.

So that what gets studied is not determined by what you would do with your own money.

Sure, I too agree that the world would probably be a better place if there were rather more of it where we spent our money as we wish rather than having the tax leeches doing it for us. But that is still true, that the very argument for government financing is so that your, or my, prejudices and desires don’t influence what is researched.

5 thoughts on “You know? This is why we get government to pay for research”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    Yes but the problem is that by allowing governments to fund research, research becomes political. Or politicized in this case.

    If we were spending our own money, we could research what we like. But because governments want to get re-elected and are easily intimidated, AIDS and breast cancer get a lot of funding. Prostate cancer not so much.

    This is just the end result of that government funding. No research that offends the politically powerful.

  2. Solid Steve 2: Squirrels of The Patriots

    “The US transgender activist Riki Wilchins told Today there had been a strong political undercurrent in previous studies, which had been used to restrict transgender people’s access to surgery.”

    Sadly too late to help – xim?

    And yes, it’s one thing when it comes to adults making terrible life decisions, but let’s not forget the transgender cult is also sterilising children.

    Millstones, please.

  3. Govt “research” is highly focused on increasing their power via snooping and killing.

    There might be grounds for a small amount of military research.

    Any scientistic pork helping them snoop, spy and control need to be “sanctioned” heavily.

  4. One of the (many) problems of allowing politicians to direct research is the increasing prevalence of “policy-based evidence-making”.

  5. “But that is still true, that the very argument for government financing is so that your, or my, prejudices and desires don’t influence what is researched.”

    Riki didn’t say otherwise, so far as I can tell. All she said was that *she* wouldn’t consider it the highest priority. We’re all entitled to an opinion.

    However, I’d disagree that the argument for government financing is so that public prejudices don’t influence what is researched. Our prejudices influence research direction via our votes and lobbying – and politicians get to decide what taxpayers’ money is spent on, implementing our prejudices, because they are our elected representatives appointed for that very purpose. (Which is not to say that the Twitter mob should replace the will of the rest of the electorate.)

    The argument for government financing is that research often constitutes a public good (in the technical sense). We all want basic research to be done, but nobody can make a profit doing it because it’s only useful if it’s widely shared. It’s like building roads – we don’t let government do it because we don’t want people to have a say in where the roads go, but because getting their users to pay for them is too inefficient.

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