Roger Pearson

Roger Pearson is a retired British anthropologist and purveyor of extreme racist and anti-Semitic ideas. Over the course of his career, Pearson has been a fierce defender of “Aryan” racial superiority, and has maintained ties to numerous Nazi and neo-Nazi groups and individuals, promoting and publishing their theories in pseudo-academic journals like Mankind Quarterly, which Pearson has run since 1978.

About Roger Pearson

Pearson advocates for total racial isolation, arguing that the possibility of “interbreeding” between “higher” and “lower” races will result in the “devolution” of the more “highly evolved” race. He has also been, either directly or through his organizations, among the most significant recipients of grant money from the eugenicist Pioneer Fund, receiving regular support over several decades.

In His Own Words:

“If a nation with a more advanced, more specialized, or in any way superior set of genes mingles with, instead of exterminating, an inferior tribe, then it commits racial suicide, and destroys the work of thousands of years of biological isolation and natural selection.”

—“Sir Arthur Keith and Evolution,” Northern World, 1957

“A note from Germany reveals the appalling aftermath of World War II. During ten years of occupation 67,000 illegitimate children were left by the occupying forces, who were drawn from widely different parts of the world. As a matter of policy Negro troops were stationed in Germany by the American government, and Moorish troops by the French government. It is calculated that well over half these children were born of Negro soldiers alone. This note takes no account of the Russian zone of occupation, where the position is believed to be even worse.”

—“German Problem,” Northlander, 1958

“It would appear possible that Africa may be the ancestral home of the human species, who would have spread outwards from the African continent while still in the sub-human or ‘missing link’ stage of development. This theory of an African origin is interesting as the African Negro remains the most ape-like in appearance of all the existing races of man. This does not mean we are descended from Negroes any more than that we are descended from monkeys, but merely that we share common ancestors with both Negroes and monkeys, and have evolved further and lost the ape-like appearance of our original ancestors which, however, to a greater or lesser extent still characterizes Negroes and monkeys.”

—“Early Beginnings,” Eugenics and Race, 1966

“[Fear of the ‘yellow peril’] was based on evidence, already apparent but since then magnified many times, that while the white race was threatened by a decline in numbers and quality, the speed with which the population of Asia was increasing, and the attempts Asians were already making to migrate into North America, constituted a threat to the United States which then perceived itself as a white nation.”

—“The Concept of Heredity in the History of Western Culture, Part One,” Mankind Quarterly, 1995

“Race by any name is a biological reality that has acquired a wide range of cultural associations. What is more it is a biological reality that can be shown to have significant behavioral implications. Sub-Saharan African Negroes tend to have more dense bones and to develop more powerful muscles than Caucasoids or Mongoloids, and so have a natural advantage in boxing, others due to their height have an advantage in basketball. But mathematicians are more commonly found amongst Caucasoids or Mongoloids. Behavioral potential resides in the genes.”

—“The Debate on Race,” Mankind Quarterly, 2002

Background

British-born anthropologist Roger Pearson is, in the words of historian and psychologist William Tucker, “perhaps the most important postwar exponent of the racial science that had characterized the Third Reich.” Through his own writings and the numerous journals he has founded, edited, or published, Pearson has spent decades promoting Nordic racial superiority and arguing for the need to maintain Aryan “purity.”

Pearson’s career as a publisher began with his establishment in 1956 of Northern World, a magazine dedicated to pan-Nordic solidarity and racial segregation. Northern World published, among others, the Nazi race theorist Hans F.K. Günther, who Pearson described as “one of the world’s greatest names in the field of raciology.” Günther, described by Nazi government officials as having “laid the groundwork for the struggle of our movement and for the legislation of the National Socialist Reich,” provided Pearson with a theoretical framework for understanding Nordic superiority, leading Pearson to emphasize not only the importance of racial purity and the supposed dangers of “mingling” with “lesser” races, but the necessity of “exterminating inferior tribe[s].”

This theoretical framework, derived from Günther, but also other prominent scientific racists like the anthropologist Arthur Eddington, relied on bizarre appropriations of evolutionary theory to provide “scientific” foundations for Nordic superiority. According to Pearson, Nordic Europeans stand “at the very peak of evolutionary progress — the highest form of life that Nature has ever produced.” In addition to promoting Aryan superiority, Pearson deployed pseudo-evolutionary arguments to warn of the dire threat posed by miscegenation. He claimed that “Nature” dictates that “those who are unfit can improve their prospects only by intermarriage with those who are fit. Those who are fit can suitably destroy their own prospects by marriage with those who are unfit.” To combat this prospect, society must “follow the dictates of the eugenicist.” Otherwise, the “people of the Western world … will have instead of healthy races that breed true, and produce generally healthy stock in their own likeness, only a confused mass of genetic qualities, good and bad all mingled together, producing repeated failures, no matter how far science may advance.”

In an effort to take a more activist approach to promoting the ideas he published in Northern World, Pearson founded the Northern League in 1958, a “Pan-Nordic cultural organization” dedicated to convincing Northern Europeans to recognize “their common problems and their common destiny,” and to come to “an appreciation… of the threat of biological extinction with which we [i.e. Nordics] are threatened.” Many Nazis and neo-Nazis quickly joined Pearson’s Northern League including, among others, Günther, Franz Altheim (a classicist and historian for Ahnenerbe, the Nazi archaeological institute founded by Heinrich Himmler), Colin Jordan (leader of the World Union of National Socialists and National Socialist Movement in the United Kingdom), and John Tyndall (deputy leader of the National Socialist Movement in the United Kingdom, leader of the British National Front, and founder of the British National Party).

The Northern League maintained its own newsletter, Northlander, which Pearson published alongside Northern World. Northlander focused primarily on the perceived problems of immigration and “mongrelization” in majority-white countries, support for the apartheid regime in South Africa, and the threat of Jewish influence on society. Pearson, writing both under his own name, various pseudonyms, and in unsigned editorials, railed against the court system which, he alleged, promoted the interests nonwhites over whites (a phenomenon Pearson described as “Jewisprudence”). He also published essays and letters from figures like Mississippi US Rep. Arthur Winstead, who provided Northlander with an open letter to President Dwight D. Eisenhower, accusing him of hypocrisy for espousing an interest in pure-bred dogs while “giv[ing] aid and comfort to those who would mongrelize the human race.”

Following the demise of Northern World, Pearson established a new journal, Western Destiny, with fellow white supremacist publisher Willis Carto in 1964-1965. Somewhat bizarrely, Pearson adopted the pseudonym “Edward Langford” for this project, the first of many pseudonyms he has used over the course of his career. Western Destiny heavily emphasized anti-Semitism, repeatedly praising South Africa and Rhodesia, which were ruled by a tiny minority of whites “enlightened and conscious of the truth about the Culture Distorter [i.e., Jews, in the terminology of neo-Nazi mystic Francis Parker Yockey], openly and proudly declaring that they stand for White Civilization.”

In 1966 and 1967, Pearson edited and published a new journal, the New Patriot, this time under the pseudonym of “Stephen Langton.” The New Patriot marked a turn towards a more academic portrayal of Pearson’s fringe racism and anti-Semitism, presenting itself as a scholarly magazine dedicated to “a responsible but penetrating enquiry into every aspect of the Jewish question.” Despite his pretensions to respectability, the New Patriot was a self-evidently racist outlet, publishing outlandish and outrageous claims, including that Jews had been the aggressors in 1930s Germany, demanding the “extermination or genocide of the German nation.” The magazine also decried the “be-Jewing of art” and the degeneration of music into “jungle-style dances” that were popular with “the Negro and the Jew” but to which “the European form is inherently unsuited.”

Pearson’s underlying ideology has not changed over the more than five decades he has been active. His strategy, however, has evolved. Where he once relied on incendiary rhetoric to rile up Nazi sympathizers and fascist activists, the changing political climate forced him to repackage his ideas in more neutral-sounding, jargon-laden language, hiding hardcore racism behind a façade of scholarly respectability. Having obtained a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of London in 1969, Pearson was hired at the University of Southern Mississippi, first as an assistant professor in 1967, then in 1971 as a full professor and chair of the department of anthropology and sociology. As chair of the department, Pearson presided over its absorption of the philosophy and comparative religion departments, and immediately proceeded to eliminate every non-tenured faculty member he could. To replace these experienced and credentialed professors, Pearson hired political allies like Donald Swan, a convicted felon and neo-Nazi who never completed his doctorate, and Robert Kuttner, a biologist with no anthropological training, but a string of publications in Pearson’s Northern World and Western Destiny. Prior to his position at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM), Kuttner had worked for a few weeks under Stanford physicist and prominent eugenicist William Shockley, who recommended Kuttner for the job, attesting that he was “adequately prepared to teach anthropology.” Claude Fike, the dean of arts and sciences at USM and himself a vocal proponent of racial segregation, said of Pearson that he had “used his post as an academic façade to bring in equal-minded fanatics.”

Although he continues to present himself to this day as an anthropologist, Pearson’s academic career was remarkably short-lived. After three years at USM, he moved to the Montana College of Mineral Science and Technology, which he resigned from the following year to found the Institute for the Study of Man, an organization dedicated to studying “the origins and nature of man in order that contemporary Western society and its pressing problems might be more closely perceived.” This institute was funded with grants from the Pioneer Fund, the largest and last source of funding for research into and promotion of eugenics and “race science.”

In 1978, Pearson took over editorship of the pseudo-academic journal Mankind Quarterly. Mankind Quarterly purports to be merely a “quarterly journal of anthropology in the broadest sense of ‘the science of man’,” but is in fact a vehicle for scientific racism. In a book intended for like-minded audiences, Richard Lynn, a frequent contributor and the head of the Ulster Institute for Social Research which now publishes it, described Mankind Quarterly as being established for the purpose of “presenting the hereditarian [i.e., biological determinist] case on race differences and related issues.”

The same year that Pearson acquired Mankind Quarterly, he made one last effort to promote an openly neo-Nazi agenda. Pearson worked to secure leadership positions in more mainstream conservative and right-wing organizations, including the Heritage Foundation, the Foreign Policy Research Institute, and the American Security Council. His presidency of one of these organizations, the far-right Council on American Affairs, automatically made him the chairman of the 1978 conference of the World Anti-Communist League (WACL). The Washington Post covered the conference, and revealed that Pearson had used it as a vehicle to promote a much more extreme ideology than its conservative members were willing to accept.

The WACL conference under Pearson was, according to Post journalist Paul Valentine, an effort to marshal the “forces of authoritarianism, neo-fascism, racial hierarchy, and anti-Semitism.” Openly fascist European groups like Italy’s Movimento Sociale Italiano-Destra Nazionale were formally admitted under the innocuous-sounding “MSI.” A Mexican delegation circulated material deriding a recent NBC television show on the Holocaust as a “gigantic campaign of Jewish propaganda to conceal their objectives of world domination.” French, Australian, South African, and American white supremacists and nationalists were invited and attended in significant numbers. Pearson’s own assistant during the conference was Earl Thomas, a former storm trooper in the American Nazi Party, and when forced to expel two men distributing anti-Semitic literature from the National States Rights Party, he was quoted as telling them, “Not that I’m not sympathetic with what you’re doing … but don’t embarrass me and cut my throat.” He then asked them to give his regards to the secretary of the party.

The Washington Post article caused something of a furor, costing Pearson his position as chairman of the WACL, as well as his removal from the editorial board of the Heritage Foundation and a request from the White House to stop using comments from Ronald Reagan praising Pearson in his self-promotion. In the aftermath of the debacle, Pearson abandoned his efforts to promote naked racism and redoubled his work to transform his Nazi-derived racial ideology into something respectably scholarly. Towards that end, Pearson has attempted to rehabilitate his image by rewriting the history of eugenics and scientific racism. His 1991 book, Race, Intelligence and Bias in Academe, set out to rescue the reputations of notorious academic racists, including, among others, Arthur Jensen, William Shockley, and J. Philippe Rushton, from a growing public awareness of the ideology lurking behind their work. According to Pearson, these figures were all victims of an international Marxist conspiracy made up of student activists, the media, “neo-Lysenkoist” biologists, and historians. Pearson also maintains a personal website flatly denying the most damning facts about his life and career, despite the existence of ample documentation.