Academia at Forefront of Racist Ideals, White Supremacy
Academic ideas a pillar of racist thought
By Barry Mehler
Behind the ideas of race scientists for the past half-century, there has been money — and lots of it.
If you scratch the surface of almost any of the prominent race scientists of recent decades, you will find the same well-endowed institution: the Pioneer Fund. Established in 1937 to "improve the character of the American people" by promoting the study of eugenics and the procreation of descendants of the original white colonial stock, Pioneer has funded many of the leading Anglo-American race scientists of the last several decades.
These grant recipients have included William Shockley, Hans J. Eysenck, Arthur Jensen, Roger Pearson, Richard Lynn, J. Philippe Rushton, R. Travis Osborne, Linda Gottfredson, Robert A. Gordon, Daniel R. Vining Jr., Michael Levin and Seymour Itzkoff.
The Pioneer Fund's original endowment came from Wickliffe Draper, scion of old-stock Protestant gentry. Living in what one historian described as a "quasi-feudal manor house," Draper grew up in Hopedale, Mass., a company town built by his family. After losing a four-month union battle with the left-wing International Workers of the World, Draper became a man obsessively seeking a way to restore the old order.
Abandoned by the political mainstream after World War II, Draper turned more and more to those academics who were still dedicated to race science and eugenics — most prominently, in the early years, Henry Garrett. During the 1950s and '60s, Garrett helped distribute Pioneer grants and was one of the founders of the International Association for the Advancement of Eugenics and Ethnology (IAAEE) in 1959.
The IAAEE brought together academic defenders of segregation in the United States and apartheid in South Africa. The Pioneer Fund also supported a variety of institutions working to legitimize race science, including the IAAEE and the journal Mankind Quarterly.
A look at Pioneer grantees is instructive.
Nobel Laureate William Shockley (1910-89), a physicist at Stanford best known for his "voluntary sterilization plan," received $188,710 between 1971 and 1978. Arthur Jensen, an educational psychologist focusing on race since 1966, got more than $1 million in Pioneer grants over three decades.
In his famous 1969 attack on Head Start — the early education program that aims to help poor children — Jensen wrote in the prestigious Harvard Education Review that the problem with black children was that they had an average IQ of only 85. No amount of social engineering could improve that performance, he claimed, adding that "eugenic foresight" was the only solution.
Roger Pearson, whose Institute for the Study of Man has been one of the top Pioneer Fund beneficiaries over the past 20 years ($870,000 from 1981 to 1996), provides the clearest indication of the extremists supported by the Fund.
Pearson came to the United States in the mid-'60s to join Willis Carto, founder of the anti-Semitic Liberty Lobby. In 1965, he became editor of Western Destiny, a magazine established by Carto and dedicated to spreading far-right ideology.
Using the pseudonym Stephan Langton, he then became editor of The New Patriot, a short-lived magazine published in 1966 and 1967 to conduct "a responsible but penetrating inquiry into every aspect of the Jewish Question." Its articles carried such titles as "Zionists and the Plot Against South Africa," "Early Jews and the Rise of Jewish Money Power" and "Swindlers of the Crematoria."
Pioneer support for all the groups linked to Pearson between 1975 and 1996 amounted to more than $1 million — nearly 10% of total Pioneer grants in that period.
In more recent decades, University of Western Ontario psychology professor J. Philippe Rushton has replaced Jensen as the top individual beneficiary of Pioneer largesse, receiving more than $1 million since 1981. Rushton argues that behavioral differences among blacks, whites and Asians are the result of evolutionary variations in their reproductive strategies.
Blacks are at one extreme, he claims, because they produce large numbers of offspring but offer them little care; at the other extreme are Asians, who have fewer children but indulge them. Whites lie somewhere in between.
Despite Rushton's controversial theories — including positing an inverse relationship between brain and penis size — he has been embraced by the scientific mainstream. He has been made a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and is a member of the American, British and Canadian psychological associations.
Ideas Have Consequences
The world of the Pioneer Fund goes beyond pure science. For example, Pioneer leaders Harry Weyher and Thomas F. Ellis have been part of an interlocking set of directorates and associations linking the Fund to groups connected to Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), according to The Washington Post.
While a Pioneer director, Ellis served as chairman of both the National Congressional Club and the Coalition for Freedom, and co-founder of Fairness in Media — all organizations linked to Helms. In the 1980s, Weyher, the longtime president of the Fund, was simultaneously lead counsel for Fairness in Media.
In recent years, Weyher has said that the Fund is spending down its capital and "once it's gone, we'll just quit." As a result of this policy, by the end of 1996 the Fund's assets had declined in real terms to less than 40 percent of their 1986 level.
With or without the Pioneer Fund, the debate over genetic racial differences is sure to occupy scholars and others for a long time to come. And this is not a mere ivory tower squabble of little concern to Americans outside academia.
Race science has potentially frightening consequences, as is evident not only from the horrors of Nazi Germany, but also from the troubled racial history of the United States.
If white supremacist groups had their way, the United States would return to its dark days. In publication after publication, hate groups are using this "science" to legitimize racial hatred.
In Calling Our Nation, the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations publishes a piece by a New York psychologist surveying the work of Jensen, Garrett and numerous others.
National Vanguard, the publication of former physics professor William Pierce (see The Alliance and its Allies) and his neo-Nazi National Alliance, runs a similar piece that concludes that "it is the Negro's deficiency ... which kept him in a state of savagery in his African environment and is now undermining the civilization of a racially mixed America."
Ed Fields, a longtime, virulent racist, uses a review of Charles Murray's highly controversial book on IQ, The Bell Curve, to conclude that "over 50% of all Blacks test in the dull to retarded range."
But it may be David Duke who sums it up best. "No subject is more controversial than the nature versus nurture debate, and no subject has more direct consequences on society," he writes. "If heredity is shown to [be] the primary influence on intelligence rather than environment, then racial equality will crumble as a viable concept... ."
Barry Mehler, associate professor of history at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich., is a leading authority on the modern eugenics movement and executive director of the Institute for the Study of Academic Racism.