Foundation for Fascism: the New Eugenics
Movement in the United States, Patterns of Prejudice
for Fascism: the New Eugenics Movement in the United States, Patterns
of Prejudice, vol. 23, no. 4. 1989 by BARRY MEHLER
the January 1989 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement
of Science a little-known psychologist from the University of
Western Ontario delivered a paper(1) at a symposium on evolution
and political theory. That paper caused a major international
uproar.(2) This article outlines the background to the paper's
author and his connection to the right wing eugenic organizations,
Mankind Quarterly and the Pioneer Fund [link:
Philippe Rushton, a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow with an impressive
publication history, explained that data show Asians and whites
to be different and, by implication, superior to blacks. Orientals
and whites have evolved into races that are allegedly more intelligent,
family oriented and law-abiding than Negroes. According to this
explanation, the Negro race is, on the whole, smaller brained,
slower to mature, less sexually restrained and more aggressive
than its white and Asian cousins. Yet the use of a tripartite
division of races into white, black and yellow has been widely
discredited by biologists and anthropologists.(3)
Peterson, the Premier of Ontario, called Rushton's work 'morally
offensive' and 'destructive'.(4) The Urban Alliance on Race Relations
in London, Ontario, called for Rushton's dismissal from the university
and for an investigation of his activities. Indeed, the Ontario
police initiated an investigation under the hate propaganda laws
following numerous complaints about statements Rushton made on
a radio phone-in show. As a result, Rushton had to cancel a planned
speaking engagement before the Citizens for Foreign Aid Reform,
an extremist anti-immigration group.(5) Instauration, a
racist and antisemitic magazine, also embraced Rushton as a scientific
source for its belief in the inferiority of Afro-Americans.(6)
theories are a bizarre mélange of nineteenth century anthro-pometrism
and twentieth century eugenics. Although there is no evidence
showing different cranial sizes between races, Rushton has cited
the genetic distance studies of Allen Wilson of the University
of California to claim that /18/ Africans have smaller brains
and are more primitive than whites and orientals, who evolved
to cope with the more demanding northern climes.(7) Wilson commented:
'He is misrepresenting our findings'. These 'show that Asians
are as closely related to modern Africans as Europeans are'. When
asked if he was aware of any anthropological evidence at all that
might support Rushton's claim, he replied, 'I'm not aware of any
such evidence. The claim shocks and dismays me'.(8)
to Rushton, the differences between the three races emanate from
evolutionary differences in reproductive strategies. Rushton uses
the r/K selection theory developed in the late 1960s(9) to explain
differences between species in evolutionary development. Species
that emphasize r-selected strategies, such as the cockroach, reproduce
quickly and invest little in their offspring, many of whom die.
The K end of this scale is best represented by humans who produce
very few offspring but lavish great care upon them to ensure survival.
applies this theory to humans. At one extreme are blacks who are
said to produce large numbers of offspring and offer little care.
At the other extreme are Orientals and whites who have fewer children
but lavish great care on them.(10) Rushton even suggests that
grieving patterns are related to genetic investment. This suggests
that black parents will grieve less upon the death of a child
than white or Asian parents.(11)
Mark Feldman, Stanford University Population Biologist and recognized
authority on r/K selection theory, claims that r/K is 'absolutely
inapplicable' to differences between humans. Feldman concluded
that Rushton's work 'doesn't really classify as science . . .
it has no content, it is laughable'.(12)
uses measurements of sixty different characteristics to put forward
his case for blacks being less advanced in evolution. These include
everything from family size to brain size, but the vulgarity of
his racism is evident in his use of an inconsistent nineteenth
century source described as 'anthro-porn',(13) from which Rushton
claimed that black men not only have larger penises than other
men, but that this accounts for promiscuity and large families.(14)
academic opposition to Rushton, it seemed that precipitate action
against a tenured professor might be regarded as damaging the
fundamental principle of academic freedom.(15) Tom Collins, Vice
President for Academic Affairs at the University of Western Ontario,
compared the calls to silence Rushton to the Ayatollah's death
threat against British author Salman Rushdie, whose book The
Satanic Verses offended Muslims.(16) A Toronto Star editorial
chastised the University for not taking decisive action against
Rushton, whose theories had been found 'without exception' to
have 'no scientific basis'.(17) Western 'has shirked its responsibility',
the editorial concluded. Yet calls for Rushton's dismissal only
helped to obscure the dimensions of the problem.
of Rushton's theories spread throughout the United States, /19/
Canada and Britain, and Rushton even appeared on a popular US
television show.(18) Most disturbing about the media-fest which
surrounded Rushton was the lack of understanding of the context
of academic racism and the resurgence of eugenics. Rushton was
regularly depicted as a lone kook spouting nonsensical theories.(19)
It was as if he had dropped out of the sky.
Feldman commented that both the scientific and the lay community
would quickly dispense with Rushton. 'There is no merit in any
of his claims and it won't take a trained eye more than a microsecond
to realize that.(20)
and the new eugenics movement
was missed in the two-month debate was any sense of history. Where
had Rushton come from? At forty-five years old, he is a tenured
professor holding one of America's most prestigious fellowships
(the Guggenheim). He has been publishing in prestigious journals
in North America and Britain regularly for five years (21) and
has coauthored articles with some of the most highly respected
academics in the fields of psychology and sociobiology in the
US, Canada and Britain;(22) he has even published an article containing
all of the essential elements of his biological determinism -
that individuals seek out genetically similar people for friendship,
marriage and social and cultural organization - in the prestigious
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.(23)
is only by examining Rushton in the context of his support and
the large movement for which he speaks, that one begins to understand
the significance of his work.
publication of E. O. Wilson's Sociobiology: The New Synthesis
in 1975 (24) allowed sociobiological concepts to be applied to
an ideology of racial nationalism. Rushton has taken the 'new
synthesis' and developed it into a full-blown naturalistic ethic.
draws heavily on the work of Arthur Jensen, Hans Eysenck, Daniel
Vining, R. T. Osborne and Richard Lynn. All these men are closely
associated with each other and with Mankind Quarterly,
which is the primary outlet for the new eugenics, and with the
Pioneer Fund, which is the movement's major funding source.
Mankind Quarterly, dedicated to'race-science' and 'racial
history', was established in 1960 by Professor R. Gayre of Edinburgh
who believed that 'racial fundamentals' were 'all important' in
human affairs. He maintained that scientific evidence proved blacks
'prefer their leisure to the dynamism which the white and yellow
races show'.(25) Gayre's work owed a heavy debt to that of Hans
F. K. Günther, a major Nazi race theorist. Indeed, Gayre's first
important work, Teutotn and Slav, argued for improving
the 'racial homogeneity' and 'Nordic' purity of the German nation.(26)
Among the founders, early editors, advisory board members and
contributors to the /20/ Mankind Quarterly one finds people
who have supported apartheid and neo-Nazism, such as Donald Swan,
Robert Kuttner [link:
and the South African, J. Hofmeyer.
the late 1970s, control of the Mankind Quarterly - was
transferred to Roger Pearson [link
Washington D.C. who came to the United States from Britain in
the mid-1960s to work with Willis Carto, America's leading publisher
of antisemitic literature. He became editor of Western Destiny,
a neo-Nazi magazine, whose staff included Arthur Ehrhardt,
former Waffen-SS officer and founder of the post-war Nation
Europa; A. K. Chesterton, pre-war editor of Blackshirt
(published by the British Union of Fascists); Fabrice Laroche,
the pseudonym for Alain de Benoist, editor of Nouvelle Ecole;
and Henry Garrett, Chairman of the Department of Psychology
at Columbia University and champion of racial segregation in US
Pearson himself founded the Northern League in 1958 which brought
together Nazi and neo-Nazi intellectuals from Europe to further
the cause of post-war fascism. He has argued for a eugenic use
of modern biological technology to produce 'a new super-generation'.
The first nation to adopt this 'would eventually dominate the
rest of the world'.(27)
Professor of Psychology at the University of Ulster
and the leading proponent of the oriental superiority theory,
has been associate editor of Mankind Quarterly for over
fifteen years.(28) In 1987, he invited Rushton to contribute an
article which elaborated on the political and social consequences
of his biological determinism.(29) In that article, Rushton found
the causes of 'ethnic conflict and rivalry' to be rooted in the
genetic differences between groups, and warned that the white
majority in the United States and the Soviet Union was 'unlikely
to maintain their position' as the dominant group' given the differential
birth rate' between the white and non-white populations.(30)
raised a problem which Rushton recognized as a paradox in his
own theory. If we are all out to advance our own genes, why have
whites adopted ideologies which 'discourage nationalist and religious
beliefs' reflecting their interest in outbreeding blacks and Hispanics?
'Why are European populations throughout the world currently experiencing
negative growth while allowing extensive immigration from genetically
less similar gene pools? Clearly ideologies can arise which have
the paradoxical effect of dramatically decreasing fitness.(31)
Rushton speculated that this is the key to why civilizations decay.
The ruling group, either a class or race, fails to reproduce itself,
How to solve the 'fertility paradox' will 'herald a quantum jump
in understanding the nature of gene-culture coevolution.'(32)
implications of this new biological determinism (spelt out in
detail by Raymond B. Cattell) [link:
http://www.ferris.edu/isar/bios/cattell/] are that
nations should recognize themselves as biological entities.(33)
Immigration should be discouraged and the genetically superior
stocks should be encouraged to have large families."(34)
People are poor largely because they are unintelligent, according
to Cattell, and progressive taxation is thus unethical because
it is dysgenic - i.e. it helps the poor to reproduce. This apocalyptic
vision demands that society recognize /21/ that extinction of
the unfit is the only path to progress, since ignoring the laws
of nature will destroy civilization.
this resurgent fascism stands the Pioneer Fund. Established in
1937 by textile machinery millionaire, Wickcliffe Draper, the
Pioneer Fund has a long connection with Nazi and neo-Nazi race
theories, and for many years has been funding a small, tightly
knit group of people who cite each other's work, review each other's
books and acknowledge each other in their books. When scandal
emerges, these people invariably deny knowing anything of the
Pioneer fund's nefarious history, even though many scandals have
broken into national prominence and articles about the fund have
appeared for over three decades.
Pioneer Fund was incorporated in 1937 by two American scientists:
Harry Laughlin, who received an honorary doctorate from Heidelberg
University in 1936 in honor of his contribution to Nazi eugenics,
and Frederick Osborn, who wrote in 1937 that the Nazi sterilization
law was 'the most exciting experiment that had ever been tried'.(35)
fund had two purposes. The first, modeled on the Nazi breeding
program, was aimed at encouraging the propagation of those 'descended
predominantly from white persons who settled in the original thirteen
states prior to the adoption of the Constitution of the United
States and/or from related stocks, or to classes of children,
the majority of whom are deemed to be so descended'. Its second
purpose was to support academic research and the 'dissemination
of information, into the 'problem of heredity and eugenics' and
'the problems of race betterment'.(36)
the first projects discussed for 1937 was the distribution of
two Nazi eugenic propaganda films to 'high schools, colleges,
clubs [and] churches'." (37)
the 1950s and 1960s, the Pioneer Fund aligned itself with the
American right fighting Brown v. Board of Education.(38)
also worked with the House Un-American Activities Committee to
prove "that the Negro race is genetically inferior and that
American Negroes ought to be 'repatriated' to Africa", and
was regarded by several academics as 'a racist of the usual type'.(39)
(alias Edward P. Langerton), Professor of Educational Psychology
at the University of Northern Iowa,"' received over $40,000
from the Pioneer Fund in the mid-1970s. This included a $6,000
grant to test 'Anglo-Saxon' schoolchildren in a study directed
by Donald Swan, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University
of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. When Swan was arrested in 1966 for
mail fraud, authorities found Nazi paraphernalia, swastika flags,
weapons, pictures of Swan with members of George Lincoln Rockwell's
American Nazi Party and hundreds of anti-semitic, anti-black and
anti-Catholic pamphlets in his home."
Scott is not a geneticist, he also used Pioneer funds to study
/22/ 'forced busing and its relationship to genetic aspects of
educability',(42) and to organize anti-busing conferences, out
of which grew the National Association for Neighbourhood Schools.(43)
Scott defended his acceptance of Pioneer funds, even when the
organization was exposed as racist.(44)
have successfully legitimated and integrated themselves with the
Reagan right. In 1985 Scott was chosen as the chair of the Iowa
Advisory Commission on Civil Rights by Clarence Pendelton, Reagan
administration appointee to the US Civil Rights Commission.(45)
The Pioneer Fund also is currently closely associated with Jesse
multi-million dollar high-tech political machine. The fund's president,
Harry F. Weyher, is lead counsel for Fairness in Media (FIM),
the group that attempted to take over the CBS television network.
Thomas F. Ellis, Helm's political strategist and FIM founder,
served as a director of the Pioneer Fund.(46) Despite Roger Pearson's
connections through the World Anti-Communist League with people
such as Earl Thomas, former American Nazi Party storm trooper,
and Giorgio Almirante, former leader of the Italian MSI, who served
in Mussolini's government, he has also developed successful relationships
with the conservative mainstream. In 1982, he distributed a letter
from President Reagan praising Pearson's substantial contribution
to 'promoting and upholding' those 'ideals and principles that
we value at home and abroad'. In 1984 the Wall Street Journal
the White House into asking Pearson to stop sending the letter
out but it refused to repudiate the letter.(47)
current focus for many scientists is the IQ question. A recent
survey of 661 scholars working on this issue showed that the campaign
to legitimate the work of the racist scholars connected to the
Pioneer Fund is having a profound effect. The survey revealed
that the single most compelling reason convincing scholars of
the genetic component to IQ was the recent 'barrage of studies
on identical twins reared apart'.(48)
source of this 'barrage' is Thomas Bouchard's Minnesota Twins
Study Project. Although only a few articles on personality and
character traits have been published in refereed journals, the
Minnesota group has announced 'conclusions' and generated massive
publicity about the heritable nature of personality traits. In
order for the scientific community to have an opportunity to evaluate
the twin study a book-length monograph is needed. Such a monograph
was promised by 1987. The twin project is now entering its second
decade and a full-length study has still not appeared.(49)
is possible that Bouchard's survey is methodologically rigorous,
but few bodies save the Pioneer Fund would back a study which
has not been published in a reputable academic journal. Until
such time, 'a decade of media coverage will have made its impression',(50)
and ideas generated by right wing eugenicists heralding all end
to white civilization might have become acceptable and commonplace.
J. Philippe Rushton, 'Evolutionary Biology and Heritable Traits
(With Reference to Oriental-White-Black Difference)'. Paper
presented at the Symposium on Evolutionary Theory, Economics
and Political Science, AAAS Annual Meeting (San Francisco, CA,
19 January 1989).
Chronicle of Higher Education, 20 January 1989; San
Francisco Tribune; 20 January 1989; Houston Chronicle,
20 January 1989; St. Louis Post Dispatch, 22 January
1989; Detroit Free Press, 24 January 1989; Toronto
Star, 28 January 1989, 1; Independent, 8 March 1989,
Sunday Telegraph, 12 March 1989.
See S. Molnar, Races, Types and Ethnic Groups: the Problem
of Human Variation (Englewood Cliffs 1975). Rushton does
not define his racial categories. See Rushton, 'Race differences
in behavior: a review and evolutionary analysis'; for criticism
see M. Zuckerman and N. Brody, 'Oysters, rabbits and people:
a critique of "Race differences in behavior" by J.
P. Rushton'; see also Rushton's reply to Zuckerman, 'The reality
of racial differences: a rejoiner with new evidence', all in
the Journal of Personality and Individual Differences, vol.
9 (1988) 1009, 1025-33, 1035-40; see also F. Weizmann, et.
al., 'Evolutionary biology, psychology and scientific racism:
the strange case of differential-K theory', York University
Department of Psychology Reports (March 1988), 54.
Toronto Star, 3 February 1989, 1.
Don Hughes and Howard Goldenthal, 'White-rights supporters draw
close to controversial Western professor', Now Magazine,
Toronto, 16-22 March 1989.
'Crime model', Instauration, vol. 14, no. 2 (January
1989), 36. See also vol. 14, no. 10 (September 1989), 31.
Dr Loring Brace, Professor of Anthropology, University of Michigan,
interview with John Ingram, host of Quirks and Quarks (CBC Radio,
18 February 1989). The arguments come directly from the eugenics
movement 1900-30. See B. Mehler, 'A History of the American
Eugenics Movement, 1921-1940', Ph.D. dissertation, University
of Illinois 1988, 187-92.
Interview with John Ingram, CBC Radio, 18 February 1989.
First articulated in R. H. MacArthur and E. 0. Wilson, The
Theory of Island Biogeography (Princeton 1967).
Rushton first presented this view publicly at the Fourteenth
Annual Meeting of the Behavior-Genetics Association in Bloomington,
Indiana. J. P. Rushton, 'Do "r" and "k"
apply to individual differences in humans?'
Christine Littlefield and J. P. Rushton, 'When a child dies:
the sociobiology of bereavement', Journal of Personality
and Individual Differences, vol. 51, no. 4 (October 1986),
CBC Radio, 18 February 1989.
The source, A French Army Surgeon, Untrodden Fields of Anthropology
(Paris 1896), examined by Neil Wiener in F. Weizmann et al.,
J. P. Rushton and Anthony F. Bogaert, 'Race differences in sexual
behavior: testing an evolutionary hypothesis'. Journal of
Research on Personality, 21 December 1987, 536; F. Weizmann
et al., 28-9.
Comments made to Frank Koller by Glen Caldwell, Western's Vice-
President for Research on Sunday Morning, CBC Radio,
27 February 1989.
Tim Jones, Detroit Free Press, 7 March 1989.
Toronto Star, 9 March 1989, 28.
Geroldo, 8 March 1989.
See David Ansley, San Francisco Tribune, 20 January 1989,
syndicated by Knight-Ritter Newspapers; St Louis Post Dispatch,
21 January 1989, 15A.
Quirks and Quarks, 18 February 1989.
Such as the British Journal of Psychology, British Journal
of Social and clinical Psychology, Psychological Reports, Journal
of Personality, European Journal of Social Psychology, American
Psychologist, Developmental Psychology, Personality and Social
Psychology, American Psychologist, Developmental Psychology,
Personality and Individual Differences, Behavior Genetics and
The Proceedings of the American Academy of Science.
Rushton has coauthored Hans Eysenck, editor of the Journal
of Personality and Individual Psychology. He has published
dozens of articles and review and his work has been favorably
commented upon by a host of academics. Among those he has co-authored
with are N. P. Emier, J. Shapeland, Anne C. Campbell, Paul J.
Barber, Janet Wiener, J, E. Grant, N. S. Endler, Goody Teachman,
H. L. Roediger, F. F. Strayer, S. Wareing, Christine Littlefield,
Mary Wheelwright, C. Winick, G. Cynthia Fekken, Douglas N. Jackson,
Sampo V. Paunonen, S. Meltzer, Richard M. Sorrentino, Charles
J. Brainerd, Michael Pressley, N. J. Allen, Robin J. H. Russell,
Pamela A. Wells, Stephen Erdle, Harry G. Murray, David W. Fulker,
Michael C. Neale, David K. B. Nias, Philip A. Vernon, Karen
L. Horner, Ian R. Nicholson, P. F. K. Chan and Anthony F. Bogaert.
Rushton, Littlefield and Lumsden, 'Gene-culture coevolution
of complex social behavior', Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences, vol. 83 (October 1986), 7340-3. The
publication acknowledges the support of the Pioneer Fund.
E. 0. Wilson, Sociobiology: The New Synthesis (Cambridge,
Quoted in Michael Billig, Chapter 5, 'Race science: the contribution
of psychology', 3 of the English manuscript, published in French
as L'Internationate Rasciste (Paris 1978) and in German
as Die Rassistische Internationale (Frankfurt 1978).
The quote is from Gayre's testimony at the 1968 trial of the
Racial Preservation Society.
Ibid., R. Gayre, Teuton and Slav on the Polish Frontier (London
Roger Pearson, Eugenics and Race (London 1966), 35-40.
For Pearson's antisemitism see his Blood Groups and Race
(London 1966), 26. Pearson has also edited or published
the journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies and
the Journal of Indo-European Studies.
See, e.g. R. Lynn, 'The intelligence of the Mongoloids: a psychometric,
evolutionary and neurological theory', Personality and Individual
Differences, vol. 8, no. 6 (1987) 813-44. His work has gained
a good deal of attention. See, for example, Chris Brand, 'British
IQ: keeping up with the times', Nature, no. 328, 27 August
1987, 761; Bryan Silcock, Sunday Times, 13 March 1977;
'The land of the rising IQ, comment in New Scientist, 27
March 1982, 550. Many other citations could be listed.
Invitation of article confirmed in personal conversation with
Rushton, 17 February 1989-, J. P. Rushton, 'Evolution, altruism
and genetic similarity theory', Mankind Quarterly, vol.
27, no. 4 (Summer 1987), 379-95.
Ibid., 392. 31 Ibid.
Raymond B. Cattell, Beyondism: Religion from Science (New
For similar arguments, see Lloyd Humphreys, 'Intelligence: three
kinds of instability and their consequences for policy', in
Robert L. Linn (ed.), Intelligence Measurement, Theory, and
Public Policy (Urbana 1989).
See H. Laughlin to C. Schneider, I I August 1936, Harry Laughlin
Papers, Northeast Missouri State University; Frederick Osbori-i,
'Summary of the proceedings' of the Con- ference on Eugenics
in Relatioii to Nursing, 24 February 1937, American Eugenics
'Outline proposed foc the first year's work of the Foundation'.
See also 11. Laughlin to Draper. 15 March 1937 and 9 December
1938. All in Harry Laughlin Papers.
The Supreme Court ruling which declared segregated schooling
Ronald W. May, 'Genetics and subversion', Nation, vol.
190, no. 20 (14 May 1960), 420-2.
Peter Leo,Evening Journal, 14 June 1976, 3.
Robert Walsh, New York Daily News, 6 April 1966, 5; Jewish
Telegraphic Agency News Bulletin, 7 April 1966, 4.
Grace Lichtenstein, New York Times, 11 December 1977.
Jeffrey A. Raffel, The Politics of School Desegregation:
The Metropolitan Remedy in Delaware (Philadelphia 1980)
Evening Journal, 21 October 1977, 3. See also St Louis
Post Dispatch, 11 December 1977, 60.
B. Mehler, 'Ralph Scott's curious career: rightist on the rights
panel', Nation, 7 May 1989, 640-1.
Thomas B. Edsall and David A. Vise, Washington Post, 31
March 1985, A 16.
Wall Street Journal, 28 September 1989. Other connections to
the administration are shown by membership of the right wing
University Professors for Academic Order (president, Roger Pearson)
of Deputy Assistant Secretary for Higher Education in the Department
of Education, C. Ronald Kimberling. He was in charge of over
$400 million per annum in federal education grants. Pearson
was succeeded as president of the UPAO by Ralph Scott.
Daniel Seligman, 'Measureing intelligence', Commentary,
vol. 87, no. 3(March 1989), 70-2, in Mark Snyderman and Stanley
Rothman, The IQ Controversy: The Media and Public Policy
(New Brunswick, NJ 1989).
Clare Mead Rosen, 'The eerie world of reunited twins', Discover,
September 1987, 36-46; Robert Bazell, 'Sins and twins', New
Republic, 21 December 1987.
Val Dusek, 'Bewitching science', Science for the People, vol.
19, no. 6 (November/December 1987), 19-22.