Lies and the Rumour Mill

Pearson’s stand against Marxist totalitarians and their fellow travelers has raised considerable ire amongst the political left. Furthermore his commitment to a positive outcome for both the environmental and genetic future of mankind has attracted misrepresentation from egalitarian activists who place the pleasure and convenience of the living ahead of the wellbeing of innumerable generations to come. As a consequence varied and generally libelous attacks on Pearson, most of them in fact rather fantastical and deeply offensive, have accumulated over the years. This persecution is especially rife on the internet. However, over the decades, libel and other significant errors have also accumulated in a number of published books, some written by drama-seeking journalists but others by authors who despite holding university positions have lamentably failed to check the authenticity of their sources. Indeed, among scholars interested in the future of humanity he is far from alone in being subject to misrepresentation and criticism, as he has documented in his 304 page book, Race, Intelligence and Bias in Academe, (Scott-Townsend Publishers, Washington D.C., 1997). Since he wrote that book numbers of scholars such as the distinguished psychologist Raymond B. Cattell, an associate of Pearson, and even the Nobel Prize-winning co-discoverer of DNA, James Watson, have suffered persecution for making open comments that linked intelligence to ancestry and expressed concern for the genetic future of mankind.

It is sad that, through no fault of its own, Wikipedia is so routinely and extensively misused in this respect, strongly politicized texts being uncritically used and false data about Pearson being placed on Wikipedia, across many entries, more frequently than Pearson has time to identify them. Indeed, corrections contributing to a more just impression of Pearson are generally reversed out of hand by committed activists (whose Wikipedia accounts automatically alert them to changes) often even before the Wikipedian making the corrections has completed the task. Furthermore, sustained attempts to maintain an entirely honest and fair Wikipedia entry have so far drawn an even greater weight of fire both on and off Wikipedia.

Tragically, examples of defamation practiced against Pearson are so numerous and so transient, particularly on the internet, that continually to identify them all as they evolve from rumour to rumour would be an excessively extensive and depressing labour. We cite and address but a few examples:

  1. Subtly crafted, powerfully harmful misquotations from Pearson’s anthropological writings are hard for the innocent reader to identify as false.
    • One such invented and ridiculous allegation is that Pearson’s “earliest work has constantly advocated that the human species consists of biologically distinct races that ought to compete against each other”. Pearson has never argued this. Both as an anthropologist and the author of numerous books and papers including a major anthropology textbook (Introduction to Anthropology, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1974), his position on this is not essentially different from that of Richard Dawkins’ “selfish gene.” Pearson refers to genetic competition, which is and will always be a fact of life, certainly between individuals, and also between groups, whether intentional or not. In the ongoing struggle for survival, genes and genetic strains (races) are inevitably in demographic competition: there is no ‘ought’ about it. This misquotation not only makes Pearson look ridiculous but is also vicious. This false allegation originated when a political journalist picked a sentence written by Pearson describing the views of the notable British anthropologist Sir Arthur Keith concerning human evolution and misrepresented it. In a clearly designated section, Pearson was reporting how Sir Arthur believed that in the struggle to survive Homo and pre-Homo populations often competed with, and sometimes even eliminated, rival groups with which they came into contact. Using this passage, the author changed “often compete” to “ought to compete” and alleged not that this was what Sir Arthur Keith believed did happen, but what Pearson believed ought to happen.
    • It is not true that Pearson has ever written about “super” or “superior” races in the unscientific fashion attributed to him. The mechanisms by which all speciation (including the formation of sub-species and races) occurs is primarily natural selection -- in which the holders of some traits are indeed “better” able or “fitter” to survive in their prevailing environment. Selection and “the survival of the fittest” is a complex process that Pearson has often discussed but always without attributing moral value, except where it affects future generations of humanity. Over the course of human and proto-evolution, human selection has favored not only those best fitted to survive in any given environment, but also those genetically best suited to survive changes in that environment. Not just genes, but cultures, too, can either improve the survival chances of a group’s genes, or harm them.
    • Another case of taking a quote from Pearson’s work and attributing a false meaning to that quote relates to Pearson’s description of a sub-species as “a distinctive group of individuals that are on their way to becoming a separate species, but which have not been isolated long enough, or had time to become sufficiently diversified, to lose the power to inter-breed.” It is absurd to cite these words as proof that Pearson “hope[s] that races would subdivide into groups that were biologically unable to interbreed” – that is simply not what Pearson ever wrote or said. Isolated inbreeding groups evolve into separate sub-species, and if isolated long enough may evolve into separate species, but it makes Pearson look ridiculous incorrectly to claim that he “hopes” they will!
    • Pearson has written a great deal over the past sixty-five years, and those who do not like his arguments about the importance of heredity have sifted through hundreds of thousands of words in search of quotations that can be misrepresented. In 1959 he authored a treatise called Eugenics and Race (Clair Press, London).  In this early work Pearson explained the significance of the distinction between dominant and recessive genes to the understanding of evolution in small, largely inbreeding human groups, such as inhabited the world for thousands of years before more recent times. While natural selection can easily control the spread of unhealthy dominant genes, Nature has difficulty in eliminating unhealthy recessive genes because being recessive these show themselves in the phenotype less frequently. He wrote that in such cases: “[T]here is no way of eliminating disadvantageous genetic qualities except by annihilating the ‘line’, that is by preventing the individual who carries the unfortunate genes from reproducing. If one does not wish to go so far as that, then one must at least prevent cross-breeding between healthy and unhealthy stock, for once the entire stock is contaminated there is no solution other than the annihilation of the entire species.” Pearson was explaining the problem behind breeding between healthy and unhealthy stocks. Wrenching these words out of their explanatory context, denigrators have reversed this vulnerably worded statement to claim that Pearson advocated genocide! This is a heinous offense against Pearson who has never argued in favor of involuntary nor in any other way inhumane eugenic measures, let alone, it should not need to be said, in favor of genocide! Nature, red in tooth and claw, annihilates any stock that has too heavy a “genetic load,” such as the renowned Nobel-Prize winning scientist Herman J. Muller of the University of Texas warned about. This statement written fifty-five years ago merely warned about the danger inherent in the acquisition of unhealthy genes to the level that they infected the entire stock. It should further be observed that since that passage was written, the chances of identifying damaged or other undesirable genes, and of avoiding their transmission to subsequent generations, has greatly improved as a result of advances in scientific knowledge.
    • It is totally untrue that Pearson ever wrote of the need for “a totalitarian state, with conscious purpose and central control . . . to embark upon a thorough-going policy of genetic change for its population. . . . there is surely little doubt that it could soon outstrip rival nations.” This author purports to cite documentary evidence for these words and yet they are not in any of the references the author cited to give specious authenticity to his allegation. This is not so important however since the actual offense is entirely contained within the preface applied to the words that he attributes to Pearson viz.: “[Pearson] wrote of the need for ‘a totalitarian state….’” Pearson has never advocated totalitarian government or compulsory eugenic programs.  Pearson has warned that Chinese scholars have been taking an interest in human genetics, and if totalitarian China, which has already passed laws concerning reproduction amongst its subjects, should impose a combination of negative and positive eugenic laws on the already intelligent population under its control, then the outlook for the rest of the free world, so oblivious to demographic realities, could be bleak indeed.
    • In addition to such plausible sounding forms of misquotation and misinterpretation as discussed above, smears of a ridiculous and outlandish nature sadly also exist. Some even seek to link Pearson to atrocities in war-torn World War II Germany. In a ludicrous attempt to mention Pearson’s name in conjunction with that of Joseph Mengele, for example, it is untruthfully claimed that Pearson once made the following statement: “Suppose you see a racial crisis coming in the United States that nobody wants to talk about. And the only guy besides you who can see this is like a freight train going 90 mph to a bridge that’s out is Josef Mengele. Do you join forces with him to try to stop the train?” Pearson has never made any statement, even remotely similar or related to that. It is pure fiction.
  1. A classic example of purely fictitious ‘conspiracy theory’ material is the suggestion that Pearson was involved with James J. Angleton, the CIA chief of Counter-Intelligence, in “Vatican – CIA conspiracies.” This ridiculous allegation, first published in Covert Action under the title “The Strange Careers of Pearson and Angleton,” was presumably based on the tenuously related facts that Pearson was a personal associate of Angleton, after the latter’s retirement, that Angleton addressed at least one WACL Capitol Hill meeting for Pearson, that Angleton was a Roman Catholic, and that Opus Dei was a strong anti-Communist member of WACL. In some instances these concocted conspiracies are further described, without any supporting reason, as being somehow “anti-Semitic”: this further epithet is fashioned from even purer imagination, once again showing the deliberate intention of the author to defame Pearson. Another tragi-comically impossible claim has it that Pearson, who was 17½ years old and undergoing basic infantry training in England with the Queens Royal Regiment when the war ended in Europe (Spring 1945), not only knew Josef Mengele, but even more astonishingly “helped him escape” from Germany!  For the same reason it is equally risible that Pearson could have been a “collaborator”, more especially a “convicted collaborator”! Despite Pearson’s very age proving these sillinesses, or anything like them, out of the question the former smear even made it into print cited as a rumour of potentially valid substance and despite the co-author of that book having consented to examine Pearson’s passport proving his birthdate prior to the book being written! 
  2. One of the most egregious slanders is to call someone a Fascist or a Nazi.  Both terms imply totalitarian, despotic, centrally controlled systems, hate-politics and jackboot militarism. Pearson NEVER belonged to or advocated any form of totalitarianism, Nazi, Fascist, or Communist, nor any system of race-hatred or extreme politics:
    • Quite the OPPOSITE -- Pearson has been an active opponent of totalitarian systems. Pearson shared a common pride in his own English (Germano-Celtic) background with pre-War patriots all over northern Europe, certainly including from Germany, an oft-misrepresented fact. Famously, men like Englishman J.R.R. Tolkien were greatly saddened by, amongst other things, the fratricidal nature of World Wars I and II, and Pearson’s feelings on the topic were typical of this genre of response. Tellingly, while some critics have painted Pearson as a Fascist, and even a Nazi, others have accused him of being the opposite, a Fabian Socialist. The Fabian Society was a forerunner of the British Labor Party, and while Pearson as a scholar respects the work of the renowned Beatrice Webb, he is no more a Fabian socialist than a Fascist or a Nazi. More generic and ill-defined allegations of “extreme” politics are equally unfair and untrue.
    • What strikes one most when reading the entry in Wikipedia (for example at time of writing, 19 February 2015) under the heading “Roger Pearson (anthropologist)” is the frequent use of the term “Nazi” and “Neo-Nazi.” Pearson has never advocated totalitarianism of any kind, and has never been a member of any National Socialist or remotely similar organisation. It is a sad day when merely for acknowledging the realities of heredity and race a man is labeled a “Nazi.” The people who throw this term around widely, never seem to define what they mean by it: perhaps because they find it more convenient not so to do. A survey of Leftist literature seems to indicate that this term is freely used to describe anyone who warns about dysgenic trends in contemporary human populations, or who uses the term “race” in any way other than to deny that race is a genetic reality. 
    • “Racist” is another term that is much used as a popular insult to smear anyone who dares identify breeding populations whose members share identifiable phenotypical characteristics and do so because they share a more or less common genotype. It is untrue that Pearson has ever promulgated any kind of race-hate. Conservationism toward human biological and cultural diversity is an act of appreciation and not hatred, just as is any traditional belief in a relationship between kinship and duty.
    • Pearson rejects all of these inaccurate, twisted terms as smears. In an age when they have even been applied to Nobel Prize winning scientists, and to a wide array of distinguished scholars who have even been hounded from platforms by those who use these insults far too freely, there is little one can do to untangle the resultant falsehoods and distorted images that they create.
  3. The same politicized writers have also labored prodigiously to dress the term “eugenics” with unpleasant connotations, allowing mention only of enforced, cruel or criminal expressions of eugenics and never to medically sound, voluntary measures designed to prevent unwanted suffering in future generations. It is further totally untrue that Pearson has argued for the “involuntary sterilization of immigrants”. Nor has he ever advocated the forced repatriation of legal immigrants, or any kind of forced eugenic measures, either positive or negative. It is an accepted fact that humans are no longer effectively subject to “Nature red in tooth and claw” and its brutal method of eliminating defective genes by “survival of the fittest”. As the distinguished Nobel Prize-winning American geneticist Herman J. Mueller of the University of Texas warned, modern mankind is threatened by an increasing “genetic load” of harmful mutations. Pearson follows Muller’s advocacy of voluntary eugenic measures, such as financial inducements to promote positive eugenics (measures that favor an increase in the number of healthy genes useful in the subsequent generation) and also voluntary negative eugenic measures (that may help reduce the incidence of harmful genes in future generations) such as genetic counseling. Pearson also criticizes fiscal policies that discourage family-building and reproduction by the more productive members of society and reproduction policies that boost the phenomenon of dysgenics, such as fiscal policies that selectively discourage family building amongst those who combine altruistic tendencies with high intelligence.
  4. The Northern League most certainly did NOT advocate National Socialism, Fascism nor any other totalitarian political system during Pearson’s period of membership, nor 'Pan-Germanism' for that matter, whatever may or may not have been the case after he had resigned from it. If the Northern League under Pearson had been neo-Nazi it would never have been permitted by the post-war German authorities to hold its nationally televised 1959 international conference in Detmold, Germany.
    • Contrary to what Wikipedia currently asserts, it is also untrue that the local press described the proceedings as being of a National Socialist character.  Cuttings from the local press were simply newsy and friendly. The person responsible for this statement may have based it on an unfriendly report in a committed leftist publication in Sweden, far distant from Detmold, and not represented at the conference. Anyone who applied was entitled to “join” the Northern League and ‘membership’ involved little more than purchasing a subscription to receive League publications. The records were kept by the League secretary in Dunfermline, Scotland, and not by Pearson, so that Pearson neither knew then, nor knows now, whether someone called Franz Altheim was a member, but certainly he did not ‘recruit’ him. Altheim seems to have been a scholar who took part in a German expedition that visited India and Tibet before World War II with a view to investigating the claim made by a number of Indian scholars regarding an Indian/Tibetan origin of the “Aryans”. (The British authorities in India, still conscious of earlier Czarist Russian threat to British ascendancy in India, were suspicious of the expedition, fearing it might foreshadow a German threat to British rule in India.).
    • It is also totally untrue that Professor Hans F. K. Guenther “attended the Detmold meeting and that his presence was kept secret for reason of his allegedly being a Nazi”. Professor Guenther did NOT attend the meeting, and neither had EVER been a National Socialist. He was specifically “denazified” (a confusing term in fact meaning that he was officially cleared of ever having been a Nazi) by the Allies after the war: he was given only a very small fine by the Allies for having been “a Fellow Traveler” of the Nazis which officially meant no more than that he could not prove that he had undertaken sufficient opposition to the Nazi authorities during their regime (ebenso wenig Widerstand in nennenswertem Umfang geleistet hatten). It is true that, having already been a most significant figure in Anthropology and race science before the Nazi’s came to power, the Nazi party conferred on him their highest award, the Goldene Parteiabzeichne. However it is a generally ignored fact that Guenther was in fact courageously public in his opposition to many Nazi policies. For example, he was known for maintaining an adversarial relationship with Himmler, even daring in 1943 to send this award back to the Parteikanzlei, publicly citing one of his protests to SS policy as his reason.
  5. Another false and libelous accusation brought against Pearson on Wikipedia is that, when head of the department of Anthropology at the University of Mississippi, he “fired all non-tenured faculty” and filled their places with professors of his own choosing. It is true that two faculty members from the formerly separate Religion department, which had recently been merged with Pearson’s department to create a larger, combined department of Anthropology, Philosophy and Religion, were terminated, but this act was ordered by the Administration and not by the department Chair, Pearson. 
  6. It is true that Pearson wrote in support of the earliest proposals for what was then called ‘Apartheid’ in South Africa, whereby the country would be politically divided along ethnic lines into separate and self-ruling ‘Homelands’ or states. Verwoerd for example was arguing that Whites should not exploit cheap Black labor and should do their own work and Pearson supported this notion. However, Verwoerd’s assassination resulted in the virtual reversal of this policy, resulting in what for a time was termed “Petty Apartheid” which, far from ending exploitation of Black labor on the largely White-owned mines and farms, established an even deeper reliance of such exploitation. This Pearson never supported.
  7. Conspicuously baseless attempts to smear Pearson by association have also included accusations of non-political forms of impropriety. For example certain internet born suggestions of a link between Pearson and the Vedanta Mining Company, in Orissa, India. The Vedanta Company has been accused of irresponsible use of chemical processes that caused a famous and terrible incident of widespread human suffering and damage to the environment. Pearson, however, was never a director of or in any other way, connected with the Vedanta Company, even having left India as much as fifty-three years before this tragical event took place. 
  8. It is also untrue that Pearson personally knew the respected and eugenically-minded Wickliffe Draper, the founder of the Pioneer Fund, or that he ever personally “received” sums, large or otherwise, from the Pioneer Fund. The Pioneer Fund never made grants to individuals, only to Universities and non-profit organizations. Indeed, it has been suggested that Pearson may have got to know the founder of that fund in India. This is another figment of someone’s fertile imagination. Colonel Draper was attached as an American liaison officer to the British Army in India during World War II; but Pearson only arrived in India as a very young officer cadet in September 1945, by which time Draper had returned to the U.S..  Pearson never met nor had any connection with Draper at any time in his life, although everything he heard about Colonel Draper indicated a person for whom he would have had the greatest respect.

The invention of falsehoods to drive political change is nothing new and yet the alacrity with which authors, both casual and scholarly, continue uncritically to re-publish such slurs as these and many more like them is remarkable indeed, and it should be noted once more, as stated with reasons above, that this list of corrections to the public record is far from comprehensive.

Professor Roger Pearson M.Sc. (Econ), Ph.D.

Last Revised Saturday, February 28th, 2015

© rogerpearson 2014