How to Destroy American Science: Wokify the Funders

Thinking of donating money to a medical research foundation or a disease advocacy group? Don’t. Or at least not before you know more about the insidious wokification of the grant-making world. I am sorry to report, dear reader, that there is something very scary going on in American biomedical science funding and it has to do with, you guessed it, politics and money.

It is no exaggeration to say that wokeness is starting to put our very lives at risk by preventing those who refuse to abide by its edicts from pursuing medical research as a career.

Under the wokeness regime, researchers and their institutions are now being required to waste time and money on wokeness matters instead of on science itself. And that is a danger to anyone who is ill or is likely to become so—which is, basically, everybody. Scientific innovation, drug discovery and development, the search for cures, technological advancement and so on are all being sacrificed on the altar of wokeness.

This is no laughing matter. What we are seeing is the rise of a parasitical class of non-scientist Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) officers that is now deciding who gets to be a scientist and what researchers will have to spend their time on—and a lot of that is not going to be on medical research.

This is a disaster for patients and medicine. The DEI zealots are driven by woke ideology and are infesting every nook and cranny of scientific research and forcing honest people to kowtow to the woke machine. I am going to focus here on the biomedical sciences because they are of the most immediate concern to those of us who have, you know, bodies.

I came across this wording the other day in a grant announcement on the website of a leading funder in the field of stem cell research:

New this year, we invite applicants to (optionally) self-identify as part of any systematically marginalized groups in STEM and to describe how this identity may have impacted their scientific career, to help us stay true to our commitment to increasing diversity in applicants and awardees and accounting for any undue adversity they may have faced. We also now require applicants to demonstrate their commitment to DEIB by describing any efforts or activities they are involved in that support DEIB in their own labs, institutes, or the broader STEM field.

Additionally, to help benchmark the state of gender equity in research institutions worldwide, we require all applicants to our grant programs to complete the Institutional Report Card for Gender Equity.

Now, as a woman I am all in favor of gender equity. As a human being, though, I would like to continue to be alive and to remain healthy for as long as possible.

Given this understandable wish of mine, selfish though it may be, I find it appalling that scientists, in order to secure funding for biomedical research, are having to prove their woke bona fides by not only attesting to their wokeness but to divert time and money (which are not exactly abundant in disease research) from research to the woke agenda.

How does this colossal thought control project and woke greed machine benefit anyone? Wouldn’t people of color have benefitted from the medical research that is currently not being done because researchers have now to go out and lead workshops on diversity and to fill out forms proving that they are all-consumed with equity as interpreted by their new DEI overlords?

This is nothing short of gutting science in the name of an increasingly empowered class of non-scientist bureaucrats who are gobbling up more and money and inserting themselves into what ought to be a neutral field that benefits everyone.

This whole system is corrupting and sends people scrambling to prove not that they are good scientists with compelling, possibly pioneering, transformative ideas that will benefit large numbers of people (indeed, possibly all people) but that they have at some point experienced discrimination. That is, forget about your research. The primary criterion is whether anyone has ever been mean to you:

…we invite applicants to (optionally) self-identify as part of any systematically marginalized groups in STEM and to describe how this identity may have impacted their scientific career

This is an entirely subjective process and itself discriminates among scientists of color and whatever groups decide they are “marginalized.” To wit, the applicant who can offer the most affecting account of past discrimination (without any rebuttal from those who are being accused of such discrimination) has an edge over the minority scientist who simply wants to be judged and treated as a talented researcher or one focused on an important/understudied concern—not to mention over the non-marginalized. Who would not “self-identify” as oppressed if that would enable you to get a grant that would keep you in science?

And look again at the way time (which is a precious commodity in science, as in most walks of life) is to be allocated. As if applying for grants is not already an incredibly tedious, complex, time-consuming process (and remember, most grant applications are denied—no grant, no research and yet the time invested is the same), it certainly won’t advance science for researchers to have to do this to meet this demand:

We also now require applicants to demonstrate their commitment to DEIB by describing any efforts or activities they are involved in that support DEIB in their own labs, institutes, or the broader STEM field.

In order to meet these woke requirements, universities and other research institutions are going to have to staff up on, you guessed, DEI personnel. And guess what that eats up? Money—which is what researchers are trying to procure from, you know, grantors.

And it is just not that time and money are being wasted in the woke racket. Science is being politicized and amateurized with vast amounts of power being allotted to the inexpert woke. If you are not fully on board with the woke agenda and if your institution is not, you can kiss grant funding good-bye. This is demanding of scientists that they spend time on proving that they are not racist. They could be working on curing brain diseases but nooooooooo.

Note that there does not have to be any evidence that the researcher or institution have ever engaged in discrimination. They are required to demonstrate “commitment”—as determined by a class of people whose raison d'être is rooting out racism and demanding that others proclaim their opposition to it—and what this all has to do with stem cell research is beyond me. No “commitment,” no funding.

And what is going to be the result of this? Talented researchers who are decent, honorable people and who are not and who have never been racist will give up on academic science and try to seek refuge in corporate science—but that won’t work for long given the wokification of American business. Therefore, we face the prospect of a brain drain in American science. Only the cowed and the resigned and mediocre will remain in biomedical science. The only hope is that those with both self-respect and ability will somehow create a start-up culture that does not demand of scientists that they prostrate themselves before the woke juggernaut. But venture capital is under pressure to be woke, too. Science is running out of places to live.

We are going to see more and more of this kind of thing. It is one thing to, say, create grants designed to shed light on the way the coronavirus is disproportionately affecting certain marginalized groups or to fund clinical trials that encompass groups historically under-represented in such. As a woman, obviously, I am for that. But requiring researchers to spend precious time and money on woke propagandizing and force them to search for ways to be regarded as oppressed and to require what are basically loyalty oaths—nahhh. This psychobabbling leftism is pauperizing science and enriching and entrenching the DEI apparatchiks at the expense of all patients.

Luckily, we laypeople do have a modicum of power in the matter. Grantors are often (not entirely because they get money from woke billionaires and other larger, woke funders and sometimes the woke feds) donor-funded. That means you and I can have some impact.

Therefore, before you give a penny to a cancer society or a lung or diabetes association or a leukemia research foundation and so on, check out its website and look for woke language. If things look wokey, don’t give them any money—and if they keep sending you solicitation letters or calling you up, demand that they itemize their annual reports to indicate what percentage of your donation is going to be spent on DEI efforts. And bear in mind that in the world of grantsmanship, such expenses are often cloaked under innocuous terms like “administration” and “personnel” costs.

Battling wokeness in science requires savviness and vigilance. But money is power—don’t give yours to any group that sells out science to the wokesters. Our lives depend on research. Don’t let yours be shortened by the woke.

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