Dr. Mehler's Archives
Barry Mehler, "Rightist on the Rights Panel" originally published in The Nation
(May 7, 1988) p. 640-641. Slightly revised from the original.
Ralph Scott, professor of educational psychology at the University of Northern Iowa, in Cedar Falls, chairs the Iowa Advisory Commission on Civil Rights. State advisory commissions collect information relating to discrimination and pass it along to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, headed by Clarence Pendleton Jr. Scott was named to the post in 1985, although it is not clear who recommended him for it.
Scott's appointment was part of the Reagan administration "shakeup" of the Civil Rights Commission in 1985-87, which included closing seven out of its ten regional offices and replacing the heads of most state commissions with white males. (1)
The problem with Scott is that he is known in his hometown of Cedar Falls as an opponent of civil rights. In the 1970s he fought vigorously against school integration in the Waterloo district, and filed a suit, later dropped, against three civil rights activists who called him a racist. "There's a fire that burns within me when I am described as a racist," Scott told The Des Moines Register recently. "I've always been committed to equity in education." (2)
As Scott sees it, he's simply a white conservative fighting the bigotry and intimidation liberals "unhesitatingly employ against professors who speak their minds." That's why Scott "reluctantly" disguised his identity in 1975 when he wrote The Busing Coverup, a 158-page book contending that black children have been victimized by school desegregation.
The Busing Coverup was published by Howard Allen Enterprises of Cape Canaveral, Florida, a major publisher of neo-Nazi material. Howard Allen also published Wilmot Robertson's The Dispossessed Majority in 1972. Scott reviewed that book for Spotlight, a publication of the Liberty Lobby, which the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith calls "The best financed anti-Semitic organization in the United States." Scott found the book full of "mind-stirring ideas" and praised its "well-articulated and richly documented argument." The central theme of the book, he wrote, "is that Majority Americans such as the English, Irish, Germans, Poles and Scandinavians are getting short shrift in today's America which is essentially ruled by vigorous and united minorities." (3)
Scott wrote, "For those majority Americans who seek to understand their cultural heritage, this book is a family must." The main argument of Robertson's book is that "the essence of history is the rise and fall of races." In the grand design of evolution, Robertson holds, one race will ultimately survive to give birth to "a new species, the better-than-man." The race best suited to shoulder this burden is the Northern European. In order to put things back on the evolutionary track in the United States, minority elements in the population should be separated out and either returned to their homelands or resettled in new ones. But this enterprise would be difficult because the American majority has been dispossessed by the Jews, who have acquired a stranglehold on the American mind.
Robertson propounds "a different brand of history," Scott wrote, one that "throws a bright clear light" on facts "which our politicians have kicked into dark corners." Indeed, Robertson does specialize in a different brand of history. His magazine, Instauration, is dedicated to the proposition that the Holocaust was a hoax. "For those Majority Americans who seek to understand their cultural heritage," Scott concluded, "this book is a family must." (4)
Ralph Scott's defense of the rights of the American majority has not been limited to print. In 1974, he was the American Party candidate in the Iowa gubernatorial race. The American Party was started by George Wallace in 1967 as the American Independent Party, but when he left in 1972 the party lurched further to the right. Wallace was replaced by Tom Anderson, a founding member of the Council of the John Birch Society. By 1974, when Scott joined, the American Party had gained national attention by exploiting the violence that swept South Boston in the wake of desegregation. The party also gained the support of Billy James Hargis, leader of the Christian Crusade, and Willis Carto. Carto's Liberty Lobby was distributing a tabloid, America First, "especially for the use of the American Party." (5)
In 1976 and 1977, Scott, under the pseudonym Edward P. Langerton, traveled around the country organizing a national anti-busing group, the National Association for Neighborhood Schools. In an interview with the Delaware Evening Journal, "Langerton" explained that he had to hide his identity to protect the $2 million in Federal funds that supported his research. (6) When the Evening Journal revealed Langerton's true identity, Scott told its reporters that he might sue if he lost his grants. The newspaper later revealed that Scott had received no federal funds. The money he referred to had been awarded to the Waterloo, Iowa school district, and the sum was $1 million. (7)
Scott's major anti-busing support actually came from the Pioneer Fund, which has long subsidized academic racists out to prove the intellectual inferiority of blacks. The fund was established in 1937 by Frederick Osborn and Harry Laughlin, leaders of the American Eugenics Society. The funds first project was to bring a Nazi propaganda film on eugenics to the United States for distribution to schools and churches. More recently, the Pioneer Fund was closely associated with Jesse Helms's CBS takeover bid. (8)
Scott received over $40,000 in some half-dozen separate grants from the Pioneer fund in the mid-seventies. These included a $6,000 grant to send a University of Northern Iowa student to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, to test the intelligence of "Anglo-Saxon" school children. The study was directed by Donald Swan, then assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Southern Mississippi at Hattiesburg. (When Swan, a long time activist in Pioneer Fund circles, was arrested for mail fraud in April 1966 authorities found Nazi paraphernalia, weapons, pictures of him with members of George Lincoln Rockwell's American Nazi Party, and hundreds of anti-Semitic, anti-Negro, and anti-Catholic pamphlets in his home). (9)
In 1967 Scott was involved in an exchange of letters in the University of Northern Iowa student newspaper after Rockwell visited the campus. Replying to attacks on Rockwell, Scott stated that "there is another side of the coin." Historians should not ignore half the facts. "Do we believe it is wrong to kill a Jew, right to kill a German?" Scott insisted that when discussing atrocities committed by Germans in World War II, historians "should take steps" to insure that atrocities by non-German's "are equally publicized." (10)
Scott also used Pioneer funds to study "forced busing and its relationship to genetic aspects of educability," (11) although he is not a geneticist. Other Pioneer money went to organize anti-busing conferences out of which grew the National Association for Neighborhood Schools. (12) When the Pioneer Fund was exposed in articles headlined, "Fund aids race-based intelligence studies," and "Racist-Bent Funds Paid for Anti-busing Trips," Scott defended his acceptance of Pioneer funds saying, "I don't see that there's any difference in getting money from Idi Amin as long as Idi doesn't have any control over what I do with it." (13)
Since his appointment as chair of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission he has been writing regularly for two journals, The Mankind Quarterly and the Journal of Social, Economic and Political Studies, both edited by Roger Pearson. (14) Virtually all of Scott's anti-busing writings have been published by Pearson. Scott served on the editorial board of the Journal of Social, Economic and Political Studies in 1984, and he joined the board of University Professors for Academic Order (UPAO) during Pearson's presidency of it. (Scott was president in 1988). Pearson also published Scott's monograph, Education and Ethnicity which is still available through Pearson's Washington-based Institute for the Study of Man.
Pearson, a British born anthropologist has had a long career as a racial purist, that is, one who espouses "purification" of the white race. He came to the United States in 1965 to edit Western Destiny, a journal published by Liberty Lobby, which the Anti-Defamation League described as "Nazi tinged." (15) In 1978, Pearson and Earl Thomas, a former American Nazi Party stormtrooper, helped organize the World Anti-Communist League Meeting in Washington, D.C. An internal W.A.C.L. document circulated after the conference asserted that Pearson was associated with "Nazi/Fascist totalitarian ideologists and practitioners of the 1940s" and that he was responsible for bringing many of them into W.A.C.L. Because of criticism over Pearson's Nazi connections, retired Maj. Gen. John Singlaub was named to replace Pearson as the W.A.C.L.'s American representative.
Ralph Scott's connections with eugenicists and neo-Nazi hangers-on are not characteristic of most American conservatives, although they are shared by some on the fringes of the Reagan Administration. But many of Scott's views on civil rights are in the conservative mainstream. Scott's belief that civil rights legislation persecutes the white majority and does not help blacks is echoed by Thomas Sowel in his book, Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality?
Pendelton could not be reached for comment, but Civil Rights Commission spokesperson John Eastman told The Des Moines Register that Scott "appears to have done an excellent job." Scott said in an interview that he has no memory of either reading or reviewing Robertson's The Dispossessed Majority, although he did not deny doing so. Eastman characterized the book as part of "the new social anthropology." He acknowledged that "it certainly wasn't a majority view," but added that "there was a fairly prevalent, large bit of scholarship that went along those lines in the 1970s." In response to an interviewer's question about the liberty Lobby, Eastman asked to be "filled in on some details on this Liberty group because I would be interested." On the question of who appointed Scott, Eastman said that Linda Chavez, who was staff director at the time, could not recall who had suggested his name. But, he said, "I'm sure, they were looking a lot of affirmative action and minority set-asides and doing a lot of research on these issues, [and] that, you know, one of his writings on busing just came up - maybe they looked at one of the conference transcripts that he had put together and decided that he would be good up there."
Mary Frances Berry, one of the last liberal members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, said that Scott is "another appalling example of the way the Reagan Administration has corrupted" it. The commission, she told me, has become worse than useless: "It has become dangerous to anyone who is interested in furthering civil rights.
(1) Mary Francis Berry, "Taming the Civil Rights Commission," The Nation, February 2, 1985.
(2) Frank Santiago, "Rights Official has racial `purity' links," Des Moines Register (28 February 1988) p. 9a.
(3) Ralph Scott, "Its So Controversial Newspapers Refuse Ads," National Spotlight 2 #10 (8 March 1976)].
(4) Howard Allen has called for the establishment of an "Anti-Holocaust Library." Howard Allen Enterprises promotes the sale of such Holocaust-denying books as The Hoax of the Twentieth Century by Arthur Butz and Did Six Million Really Die? by Richard Harwood. For the quotes see Instauration 12 #4 (March 1987) p. 21.
(5) Billy James Hargas was leader of the Christian Crusade located in Tulsa, OK. Willis Carto is the moving force behind numerous extreme right antisemitic organizations such as the Liberty Lobby, the Institute for Historical Review (claims the Holocaust was a Hoax), and Spotlight, a national newspaper with a circulation estimated at above 200,000.
(6) Peter Leo, "Credentials Cloudy, Credo Clear: Busing Opponent Spreads the Word," Evening Journal (Wilmington) 8 June 1976, p. 3.
(7) Peter Leo, "Named Revealed, Cover Blown For `Busing Coverup' Author," Evening Journal 14 June 1976, p. 3.
(8) Thomas B. Edall and David A Vise, "Helms-Connected Money Machine Bankrolling Fairness in Media," The Washington Post (31 March 1985) p. A16.
(9) Robert Walsh, "Probe PO Fraud, Find Arms Cache," New York Daily News (6 April 1966) p. 5; Jewish Telegraphic Agency News Bulletin (7 April 1966) p. 4.
(10) Quoted from Santiago, "Rights Official has racial `purity' Links" p. 9A.
(11) Grace Lichtenstein, "Fund Backs Controversial Study of `Racial Betterment'" New York Times (11 December 1977).
(12) Jeffrey A. Raffel, The Politics of School Desegregation: The Metropolitan Remedy in Delaware (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1980) p. 156-57.
(13) "PAC Leader Admits Racist-Bent Funds Paid for Anti-busing Trips," Evening Journal (21 October 1977) p. 3. See also, "Tax-Exempt Fund Promotes Theory of Black Inferiority," St. Louis Post Dispatch (11 December 1977) p. 60. The St. Louis Post Dispatch article is an edited version of the Lichtenstein article which was a NYT News Service release.
(14) In April 1966, Roger Pearson introduced Wilmot Robertson to the Neo-Nazi reading public. As editor of Willis Carto's Western Destiny, he published an article by Robertson entitled, "Man, The Racist Animal."
(15) "Racial Purist Uses Reagan Plug," The Wall Street Journal (28 September 1984); Extremism on the Right: A Handbook published by the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, 1983, p. 25.
Posted Jan. 26, 1998