In recent years, I gave something like two dozens of public talks at various universities, high schools, and pro-science organizations – mostly about theoretical physics, some of them about the climate issues. Sometimes I got paid, sometimes I didn't. In the first case, there is often some bureaucracy. I was once requested to sign 53 times just because I gave a talk. On the other hand, I was once given a fair amount of money collected from the audience – with no strings or signatures attached.
But it has never happened to me that I was expected to fill 5 distinct multi-page documents because of a 90-minute talk. Well, that's what they asked me to do today because of a talk that was scheduled in the middle of May. Because of numerous reasons, I wrote "No, that can't work", to my former classmate from the high school, basic school, and kindergarten who is now a teacher at that school and who invited me. She won't be happy about my response but no one can force me to do something that I consider both an immense waste of time and an immoral act.
This package of activities was supposed to bring me $150 or so. One of the "forms" had 14 pages. The instructions warned me to recheck every box in the forms with the sender. There was even a warning that some form has to be printed differently for a black-and-white and color printer (I don't really have any printer at home – my struggles with the drying ink are a lesson that I don't want to change anything about it – so the printing itself would have to occur elsewhere). Well, there doesn't look too good: even in similar bureaucracy-heavy situations that looked much more generous to start with, there have always been almost neverending frustrating interactions and problems. To do all these things correctly would probably take more than those 12 hours for which I was supposed to be paid.
The average U.S. tax return made me virtually unproductive for 3 weeks. I got audited twice, too.
But even if it took fewer hours, why? Why should someone who talks about an innocent physics topic for 90 minutes undergo this unbelievable bureaucratic torture? Hasn't anyone asked such a simple question? I prefer to spend 30 more minutes to write a rant about my frustration. It really takes much less time and makes me feel much more relaxed when it's over. ;-) Normal people aren't experts in filling these 5 different types of long forms.
But the paperwork wasn't the only aspect that I found unacceptable; a sponsor is troublesome. The five sponsors of the event included
- the European Social Fund
- the European Union
- Czech ministry of education
- some organization for competitiveness
- University of Western Bohemia
There is nothing shocking about the ministry of education. It would be normal if the ministry paid everything. And the university appears for a sensible reason, too. But why is there the organization for competitiveness organizing such things?
It's strange but I wouldn't mind. But what I do care about is the sponsor #1, the European Social Fund. It's plausible that they contributed some money to some previous talks but I was never forced to notice – I was only asked to write my signature. The assumption was that we're doing just what we agreed to do; there is no serious catch. I would trust the person who invited me. But if I am supposed to fill, print, and send forms with these sponsors, forms that may contain implicit catches and pledges, it is pretty much impossible not to notice.
And my problems with the European Social Fund are severe. Look at this ESF page. It's some EU-wide fund that tries to help workers to adapt. So far so good – although it's not clear why it's funding science festivals at high schools. But one-half of the page explicitly says that they spread the propaganda about "disadvantaged groups".
The page says that they only try to "help" those groups that may or may not exist, that may or may not be correctly identified. But if you make a further search and penetrate beneath the surface, you will see that the primary purpose of the fund is to pay people to be compatible with the dishonest far left ideology about "discrimination all around us".
(By the way, Amnesty International launched another attack on Czechia and our practical schools [basic schools for less intellectually ready pupils] yesterday – because of the elevated percentage of the Romani students there – I discussed the same topic e.g. in 2010. Thank God, at least the Czech [social democratic] minister of education and the vice-ombudsman vigorously replied that these accusations of discrimination are untrue. They showed AI the door. In some sense, I feel that the Czech official response was more appropriate than what some would-be "right-wing" governments would offer a few years ago.)
But to see that the European Social Fund is working hard to spread the ideology, make a simple search and you will immediately get to this grant page. Someone has earned $30,000 (CZK 740,000) from ESF for completing "research" about "Discrimination in the Czech Republic: the victim of discrimination and the hurdles in his or her access to justice". The winner was "FOCUS – Center for the social and marketing analyses Ltd". Wow, some immoral enough people know how to make tons of money.
There is no institutionalized discrimination in the Czech Republic. Some groups are disadvantaged – it's often groups that are not discussed at all. And in most cases, when whole groups are disadvantaged, it's by the reality, by their own talents etc., not by some deliberately evil or unfair behavior of everyone else, behavior that could be fixed. As far as I am concerned, the people in FOCUS may be charged with treason for their work on this $30,000 ESF plot.
There are some other grants that may have helped some real people to find real jobs. But many of the most well-paid projects are ideological. One intermediate example: A program about social elimination in Trmice, $40,000. Trmice is a small town with 3,200 people. A part of the money went to terrain work and some barrier-free access or whatever; another part was about "activation of families". I doubt we're rich enough to have barrier-free access to all public buildings in all towns of Trmice's caliber; but much of the money wasn't even going to "real things".
OK, I simply dislike this institution and its toxic influence on our political discourse and our education system. I won't actively look for their funds because I would feel that I am almost on par with the likes of "FOCUS Ltd". It seems spectacularly clear to me that I am the first – or almost the first – person who could have a problem with this money. These are the people who are actively spreading victimism, multiculturalism, and probably also the climate alarmism and many other -isms everywhere in our schools – and in related environments.
Teachers have fixed contracts to get their money from the ministry of education. However, the ESF money are a "bonus" that depends on their behaving in a way that the ESF finds desirable. People will do almost anything for the money. Don't be surprised that the children are taught so many wrong things.
Corruption of teachers, researchers, speakers etc. occurs at many levels. Some sponsors don't care. And of course, if sponsors are claiming to fund "true science", they just shouldn't "bribe" the researchers to reach certain conclusions or others. Ultimately, the main responsibility is on the scientist, however. He or she just shouldn't get corrupt. In practice, he or she usually does if the amount of money depends on the "product".
In the late 1980s, Czechoslovak people were no longer executed for their political opinions. There were lots of "milder" tools for the regime to manipulate with the society. You could have lost your job; or your children didn't get to a good school if you did something "politically incorrect" (according to the criteria of the late 1980s socialism). But there were even "milder" tools that I remember.
When we came to the high school, we were expected to join the Socialist Union of Youth (SSM), the Czechoslovak counterpart of Komsomol. About 99% of the students did, I don't know the exact number. I was firmly decided not to because it looked like "joining the communist party over two" to me. But there were subtle tricks to make such an outcome impossible.
Before we joined SSM, we were given some gifts – namely a book of lyrics by Vladimir Vysotsky, a Russian songmaker (who wasn't quite pro-regime). We accepted it and a day later, we were told that it was a gift for our joining SSM. Now, this was a trick to make me feel like a thief. I have already accepted the book so I am obliged to join, am I not? Well, of course, I decided that I was not. You just gave me a book, that's OK, I will keep it, but I didn't make any pledge – we didn't consensually agree on any agreement, you know – so I would stick to my decision not to join SSM.
(Hidden pledges are incorporated deliberately by various institutions. People love to attack banks or other companies that may make you sign a dangerous "catch". However, almost no one dares to challenge government institutions or universities etc. doing the same thing. For example, I was once shocked when I heard that I was not allowed to have a romantic relationship with a Harvard student. It wasn't something that immediately affected me – even though I don't quite understand whom the Harvard students should have a relationship with LOL – but anyway, I asked: What? I have never signed any agreement that would strip me of this basic human right that every janitor has. Certain people don't care. They think that I don't even have to sign anything to be stripped of the basic rights.)
Organizations like the ESF are doing lots of things that used to be done by SSM. In fact, as I recently wrote, the indoctrination of children today seems to be more intense than during late communism, as participants of a debate agreed.
The far left ideologies have penetrated so deeply into the fabric of the education system that virtually no one questions them anymore. People are paid bonuses all the time – so of course they will agree with anything that the ESF wants to be agreed with. The first generation of such "recipients" knows that they're corrupt. But their younger colleagues come into an environment and they don't see (and they're not told) that it's corrupt anymore. Many of them start to absorb the colleagues' opinions and genuinely believe all these things.
The first sponsor is the ESF, a body spreading the ideas about victimism across the EU. Most TRF readers realize that it is a highly problematic ideology. But it has conquered the education system so thoroughly that almost no one in that environment even asks such questions.
Imagine that the first sponsor of the event would be an analogous institution with different opinions than the ESF, for example the "We don't want Islam in Czechia" NGO. I guess that there would be lots of boycotts, protest letters, and perhaps lawsuits. The sponsor would be eliminated or the event would be canceled. People would rightfully point out that it's bizarre for an organization with a clearly special political vision to fund an event dedicated to an unrelated, impartial scientific topic. When the first sponsor advocates – indeed, by bribing all sorts of people – exactly equally controversial political opinions that have the "politically correct" flavor, no one dares to even raise a question.
It's wrong to poison exciting topics such as physics (and physics talks) – or at least topics that should be generally understood as exciting by those who attend similar events – with loads of bureaucracy. It's wrong to do things just in order to earn some EU money. It's wrong for incompetent EU bureaucrats to "monitor" things they can't really understand. It's not right that science is being linked to particular political opinions. It's wrong for the European Union to establish uniform group think in the education system and research institutions. It's wrong for the EU to paint itself as the original source of the money that it sends to various places and to use this money as "bribes" encouraging the Europeans to support an unelected government in Brussels. It's wrong for the people in those environments to allow all these practices to continue and escalate. It's wrong not to notice subtle manipulation if the manipulation clearly occurs persistently and with an increasing intensity because the frog will be eventually boiled.