This letter to the Editor was published by Aftenposten on 2002.06.28.
Courageous Immigration Researcher
In the Norwegian daily, Aftenposten (13th July 2002), we read about Inger-Lise Lien who blew the whistle on fellow immigration researchers who are more concerned with political correctness than truth. This fits neatly in with several other issues having surfaced lately, all relevant to immigration and integration, and should hardly come as a surprise. Nevertheless, this is rather thought provoking. What happens is that public funding is allocated for research, the researchers deliver the results that the politicians are asking for, and then, of course, these results are used as the basis for official policies. This is not merely individual researchers acting cowardly; this is an entire system with serious flaws.
How did we end up in such a situation? Is it greed and lust for power driving people, as is so often the case with various forms of corruption? I doubt it. Rather, there seems to be a kind of stupid idealism behind this system. Politicians and journalists will always seek to have an influence on people, which is quite legitimate. But when researchers attempt to do the same, it becomes problematic, as it is contrary to every accepted research ethics. I might be willing to believe that there are some noble motives behind all of this, but the whole things strikes me as utterly naïve and shortsighted.
Or could it possibly be the case that someone is willing to step forward and defend politically correct research; that is, research aimed at producing certain results in order to make people believe that reality is the way we think it ought to be? Perhaps such deceit could cause people to adopt better attitudes which in turn will help change reality for the better? Sure enough, similar techniques are being used in other areas of our Western societies. But are there any examples of such manipulation producing good results?
Ole Jørgen Anfindsen, Ph.D., editor, HonestThinking.org
PS: No one stepped forward to defend politically correct immigration research after publication of the above. According to my own records, nothing more was said publicly about this at all.