Searchlight July 1998


The funding of the science

This special issue of Searchlight devoted to race science contains articles on American Renaissance magazine, Richard J Herrustein's and Charles Murray's The Bell Curve, Right Now! magazine and two articles on the history and modern applications of race science. If one scratches the surface of any of these topics one will find that the Pioneer Fund has played a significant role.

The Pioneer Fund has been involved in the history of race-science since its establishment in 1937. One of its founders, Harry Laughlin, wrote a model sterilisation law widely used in both the United States and Europe. Many of the key academic racists in both Right Now! and American Renaissance have been funded by the Pioneer, and it was directly involved in funding the parent organisation of American Renaissance, the New Century Foundation. Indeed, most of the leading Anglo-American academic race-scientists of the past several decades have been funded by the Pioneer, including William Shockley, Hans J Eysenck, Arthur Jensen, Roger Pearson, Richard Lynn, J Philippe Rushton, R Travis Osborne, Linda Gottfredson, Robert A Gordon, Daniel R Vining Jr, Michael Levin and Seymour Itzkoff - all cited in The Bell Curve.

The Pioneer Fund's original endowment came from Wickiiffe Draper, a scion of old-stock Protestant gentry. Draper grew up in Hopedale, Massachusetts, a company town built by his family, living in what one historian has called "a quasi-feudal manor house". The company maintained almost total control over the lives of company workers until 1912, when the International Workers of the World (IWW) organised the Draper Company at Hopedale after a four-month strike.

Colonel Draper, as he was often called by his friends and admirers, was a man searching for a way to restore an older order. Under his direction, the Pioneer Fund's original charter outlined a commitment to "improve the character of the American people" by encouraging the procreation of descendants of the original white colonial stock.

Abandoned by the political mainstream after the Second World War, Draper turned more and more to academic irredentists still dedicated to white supremacy and eugenics. Most prominent among these early recruits was Henry Garrett, Chair of Psychology at Columbia University from 1941 to 1955. A Virginia born segregationist, Garrett was a key witness defending segregation in the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education in 1954.

During the 1950s and 1960s, Garrett helped to distribute grants for the Pioneer Fund and was one of the founders of the International Association for the Advancement of Eugenics and Ethnology (IAAEE) in 1959. The IAAEE brought together academic defenders of segregation in the USA and apartheid in South Africa. The Pioneer Fund supported the IAAEE and other institutions working to legitimise race-science, including the IAAEE's journal, The Mankind Quarterly.

The major recipients of Fund grants in the 1990s have been the University of Minnesota, the University of Western Ontario, the Ulster Institute for Social Research, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, the Institute for the Study of Man, and the University of Delaware.

Compared to the largest American foundations, the Pioneer Fund is very small. Its assets have never exceeded $6.5 million (£4 million) and its total annual grants have never exceeded $900,000. But the Pioneer Fund's importance in the history of postwar race science far exceeds its size or the size of its grants. With almost laser-like precision, the Pioneer Fund has been at the cutting edge of almost every race conflict in the United States since its founding in 1937.

Leading Grant Recipients, 1994-1996

University of Western Ontario (J. Philippe Rushton) $334,405

Ulster Institute for Social Research (Richard Lynn) $289,000

University of Minnesota (Thomas Bouchard) $218,967

University of Delaware (Linda Gottfredson) $177,541

Institute for the Study of Man (Roger Pearson) $159,500

Federation for American Immigration Reform $100,500

Shockley and Jensen

The Pioneer Fund has changed little since its inception. An article in the New York Times on 11 December 1977 characterised it as having "supported highly controversial research by a dozen scientists who believe that blacks are genetically less intelligent than whites". In the 1960s Nobel Laureate William Shockley (1910-1989), a physicist at Stanford University best known for his "voluntary sterilisation bonus plan", received an estimated $180,000 from the Pioneer Fund.

Arthur Jensen, an educational psychologist recruited by Shockley to the racist cause in 1966, has garnered more than a million dollars in Pioneer grants over the past three decades. Three years after receiving his first Pioneer grant, Jensen published his now famous attack on Head Start in the prestigious Harvard Education Review. Jensen claimed the problem with black children was that they had an average IQ of only 85 and that no amount of social engineering would improve their performance. Jensen urged "eugenic foresight" as the only solution.

Roger Pearson

The fascist ideologist Roger Pearson, whose Institute for the Study of Man has been one of the top Pioneer beneficiaries over the past 20 years ($869,500 from 1981 to 1996) is the clearest example of the extremist ideology of the Fund's leadership.

Pearson came to the United States in the mid-1960s to join Willis Carto and the group around Right magazine. In 1965 he became editor of Western Destiny, a magazine established by Carto and dedicated to spreading fascist ideology. Using the pseudonym Stephan Langton, Pearson then became the editor of The New Patriot, a short-lived magazine published in 1966-67 to conduct "a responsible but penetrating inquiry into every aspect of the Jewish Question", which included articles such as "Zionists and the Plot Against South Africa", "Early Jews and the Rise of Jewish Money Power", and "Swindlers of the Crematona".

J Philippe Rushton

For the past few years, J Philippe Rushton, a professor of psychology at the University of Western Ontario, has replaced Jensen as the top individual beneficiary of Pioneer largess. Since 1981 he has benefited from more than a million dollars in Pioneer grants. Rushton argues that behavioural differences among blacks, whites and Asians are the result of evolutionary variations in their reproductive strategies. Blacks are at one extreme, Rushton claims, because they produce large numbers of offspring but offer them little care; at the other extreme are Asians, who have fewer children but indulge them; whites lie somewhere in between. Despite Rushton's controversial race theories, he has been embraced by the scientific mainstream, having been elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American, British and Canadian Psychological Associations.

The Pioneer Fund served as a small part of "a multimillion dollar political empire of corporations, foundations, political action committees and ad hoc groups" active in the 1980s (Washington Post, 31 March 1985, p1; A16) developed by Tomas F Ellis, Harry Weyher, Marion A Parrott, R E Carter-Wrenn and Jesse Helms. The Fund has served as a nexus between academic theory and practical political ideology. Its leadership, especially Weyher, Ellis and Parrott, are part of an interlocking set of directorates and associates linking the Pioneer Fund to Helms's high-tech political machine. Ellis, for example, simultaneously served as chairman of the National Congressional Club and the Coalition for Freedom, co-founder of Fairness in Media, a board member of the Educational Support Foundation and Director of the Pioneer Fund. Weyher, president of the Pioneer Fund, served as lead counsel for Fairness in Media.

After the Pioneer Fund?

The Pioneer Fund has defined, in important ways, a distinct era in the history of contemporary thinking about race. This era began after the Second World War, when anti-egalitarian race scientists were scientifically and politically marginalised and defeated, and it continued long enough to witness their subsequent victory, with the Pioneer Fund's support, in an aggressive campaign to rehabilitate the notion of incorrigible racial differences as a cardinal scientific and civic fact. This era may now be coming to an end. Weyher and the others who have guided the Fund's activities for several generations will probably soon pass from the scene, and many of the grant recipients with whom it has been most closely identified also are approaching the end of their productive lives.

The environment within which the Fund operates has also changed. Over the past decade the Fund has responded to these circumstances, and to the window of opportunity afforded it in recent years for advancing its agenda, by accelerating its grant-making to a rate sustainable only by spending its capital. Weyher was quoted in GQ magazine after the publication of The Bell Curve as saying, "It seemed to make more sense to spend the money than to save it, so we spent it. Once it's gone, we'll just quit."

As a result of this policy, by the end of 1996 the Fund's assets had declined in real terms to less than 40 per cent of their 1986 level. If this trend continues, the Fund will not long outlast its current officers. At the same time, the development of alternative sources of funding is making workers in the fields that the Fund has traditionally supported less dependent on it. These changes in funding arrangements will change the character of discourse on immigration and individual and group differences in ways that cannot now be foreseen.

For now, however, it is a useful measure of the Pioneer Fund's success that anti-egalitarian race scientists are more confident and better organised in the United States than at any time since the 1920s, and public policy internationally has begun ineluctably to reflect their assumptions and preferences.

An expanded version of this article with citations and supporting documents can be found at the Institute for the Study of Academic Racism web site: http://www.ferris.edulisar.

Barry Mehler Director and Keith Hurt, Research Associate, Institute for the Study of Academic Racism, 1998.

Copyright © 1998, Searchlight,


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