Barry Mehler, "Rightist on the Rights
Panel" originally published in The Nation
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.
(May 7, 1988) p. 640-641. Slightly revised from the original.
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."
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
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
Francis Berry, "Taming the Civil Rights Commission," The Nation,
February 2, 1985.
Santiago, "Rights Official has racial `purity' links," Des
Moines Register (28 February 1988) p. 9a.
Scott, "Its So Controversial Newspapers Refuse Ads," National
Spotlight 2 #10 (8 March 1976)].
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.
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.
Leo, "Credentials Cloudy, Credo Clear: Busing Opponent Spreads
the Word," Evening Journal (Wilmington) 8 June 1976, p.
Leo, "Named Revealed, Cover Blown For `Busing Coverup' Author,"
Evening Journal 14 June 1976, p. 3.
B. Edall and David A Vise, "Helms-Connected Money Machine Bankrolling
Fairness in Media," The Washington Post (31 March 1985)
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.
from Santiago, "Rights Official has racial `purity' Links" p.
Lichtenstein, "Fund Backs Controversial Study of `Racial Betterment'"
New York Times (11 December 1977).
A. Raffel, The Politics of School Desegregation: The Metropolitan
Remedy in Delaware (Philadelphia: Temple University Press,
1980) p. 156-57.
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.
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
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