Shared Eugenic Visions: Raymond B. Cattell
and Roger Pearson
Andrew S. Winston, University
In order to place Raymond B. Cattells postwar
eugenics in context, it is necessary to consider the intellectual
community that received and promoted these works. In the final
two decades of Cattells life, this community centreed around
the journal Mankind Quarterly, published and edited by
anthropologist Roger Pearson. Between 1979 and 1996, Cattell published
nine articles in Mankind Quarterly, a journal which featured
discussions of race, genetics, and culture, and he served on the
honorary Advisory board from 1980 until his death. In addition,
Roger Pearson (1981; 1994) published two Mankind Quarterly
Monographs by Cattell, and Pearson's Scott-Townsend Publishers
issued two books by Cattell on dysgenics and national IQ differences.
Cattell's acknowledgment of Pearson's help in his 1987 edition
of Beyondism (p. x) is further indication of their scholarly
cooperation. However, it would be inadequate to "link"
Roger Pearson and Raymond Cattell together merely on the basis
of cooperation in publishing. What must also be examined is whether
Cattell and Pearson held shared views of race and eugenics and
were therefore engaged in a common intellectual project. This
paper presents an introduction to these issues.1
Pearson and Cattell were committed to eugenics
as the basis for ethical decisions and the reorganization of society.
Cattells views on these issues have been clearly summarized
by Tucker (1994) and Mehler (1997). Both Pearson and Cattell shared
a vision of race and competition, and this vision persisted in
the 1987 edition of Cattells Beyondism. Although
much less prominent in the work of Cattell than Pearson, race
occupied an important place in Beyondism. Chapter 6 detailed
the presumed role of race in determining the preferred religion
or philosophy of a group, as well as personality characteristics
beneficial or detrimental to group survival. Environmental influences
and complex gene-culture interactions were described, but the
predominant theme was that industrialization, technology, higher
education, moral standards and creativity of a nation were determined
in part by the "average genetic mental capacity levels of
the populations involved" (Cattell & Brennan, 1981, p.
239). For Cattell, average group differences in fluid intelligence
were presumed to be a crucial factor in the development of complex
culture, and fluid intelligence was presumed to be highly heritable
Throughout the discussion, the cautious conclusion
was that genetic differences in racial groups produce differences
in nervous system functioning and that Arthur Jensens pessimistic
conclusions about race and educability were largely correct (see
Cattell, 1987, p. 269, note 5). Even small differences in the
mean IQ of racial groups were said to have major consequences
for the groups history, achievements, and economic status
(p. 272). Unemployment was described as primarily the result of
low IQ rather than economic or social conditions. Cattell awaited
"research indicating that the poor are not necessarily
the downtrodden, but occupy a level reached by inherent
properties, as an oil level separates out from a shaken mixture
of oil and water" (p. 280, note 86).2
For Cattell (1987), the major racial groups were
Mongolian, Negro, Nordid, Alpinid, and Mediterranid-Caucasian,
and these groups were said to be so obvious that "even the
ignoracist [Cattells term for those who deny innate
racial differences in average behavioral potential] cannot, unless
blind, deny the physical types of races" (p. 271). The use
of the categories of "Nordid" and "Alpinid"
to denote gene pools is unusual for a scientific discussion from
the 1980s, although it would have been unremarkable in the 1920s.
There are two important themes regarding these groups. First,
Cattell rejected hybridization or "mixing" as a source
of group improvement:
In the USA, praises are traditionally sung to
the Melting Pot, but the first requirement in successful plant
hybridization is a rejection of perhaps 90% of the hybrids as
unsuccessful . . . The appearance of unfortunate combinations
goes on naturally, and this, rather than the sociologists wild
western frontier, is very likely partly responsible for the
higher crime and insanity rates in the USA than in the parent
countries . . . The average citizen seems to be mistaught that
the melting pot is good per s�, in the first step, regardless
of whether the selection is made, in the indispensable follow-up,
to bring out the more effective combinations. With most traits,
whose genetic parts are due to many genes, such as intelligence
or stature, a hybrid typically falls (dominance aside) halfway
between the two parents. The same holds for hybrids of racial
groups, so that virtually all studies of intelligence on white-colored
crosses show the intelligence on a sufficient sample to fall
halfway between the two groups. (pp. 202-203)
Cattell maintained that "an average of the
two races is the main consequence for all polygenic traits"
(p. 203) and this principle had important implications for immigration:
"When a country is opening its doors to immigration from
diverse countries, it is like a farmer who buys his seeds from
different sources by the sack, with sacks of different average
quality of contents" (p. 187). Given Cattells 60 year-concern
over dysgenic trends in IQ, the assertion that "white-colored
crosses" will reduce average white IQ is crucial. His position
was hardly unique, and was shared by Mankind Quarterly
editors Henry Garrett, R. Ruggles Gates, and many others.
The second theme concerns "speciation,"
namely, the formation of new species. Cattell (1987) maintained
that a single species is dangerous for humans, and it would be
highly desirable to separate into several species incapable of
interbreeding. For Cattell, speciation would allow for evolutionary
experiments within the separate groups, permitting scientific
conclusions regarding traits which favour group survival and should
therefore be ethically valued. Most startling is the claim that
although we do not yet have species- level differences among races,
we are already headed in that direction: ". . .we lack gynecological
records and research that might well show that relative sterility
the forerunner of interspecies infertility exists
in mating between the presently most distant racial types"
(p. 189). Cattell argued that dividing of the races into species
could be achieved by complete segregation via colonization of
other planets, or by "strong, diverse sociobiological cultural
ideals alone" (p. 189). "Speciation" must be viewed
in context of Cattells urging that a group must control
its "genetic direction" by means that would not always
be democratic, and his discussion of the deficiencies of democracy
and problems arising from "freedom of the press" (pp.
252-252). Speciation and hybridization had important political
ramifications for him.
These themes are also important in the work of
Roger Pearson. In publications from the 1950s to the 1990s (e.g.,
1995), themes of group competition and the importance of race
in determining economic success are central. In a pamphlet entitled
Blood Groups and Race (Pearson, 1959a), the basic racial
"types" were identified as "sub-species,"
a view also implied by the cover illustration of Mankind Quarterly
which divided humans into three sub-species. Pearson defined a
"subspecies" as "a distinctive group of individuals
which are on their way to becoming separate species, but which
have not been isolated long enough, or had time to become sufficiently
diversified to lose the power to inter-breed" (p. 7). Like
Cattell, Pearson assumed that racial separation might produce
this evolutionary "advance." Both emphasized the use
of blood groups for identification of races. Pearson was clear
about the problem of contact between races:
. . . evolutionary progress can only take place
properly amongst small non-cross-breeding groups. Always, a
cross between two types meant the annihilation of the better
type, for although the lower sub-species would be improved by
such a cross, the more advanced would be retarded, and would
then have a weaker chance in the harsh and entirely amoral competition
for survival. (1959a, pp. 9-10)
This assumed evolutionary value of non-interbreeding
gene pools is echoed in Beyondism, although Cattells
version tends to emphasize this process as a human-controlled
experiment in which some groups would lose out and disappear,
but not necessarily through intergroup aggression, as in Pearsons
work. Nevertheless, both emphasized the "naturalness"
of aversion and hostility of racial groups toward each other.
Cattell discussed the issue in detail in Mankind Quarterly,
noting that racism has both advantages and disadvantages (Cattell,
1992a). For both, altruism should be naturally directed
toward those who are genetically similar, but believed that the
natural processes have been distorted by ideologies which encourage
altruism toward members of competing gene pools. Pearsons
anthropology owed a great debt to Sir Arthur Keith and his views
of race and racism (see e.g., Wolpoff & Caspari, 1997), a
debt that Pearson often acknowledged. Cattell (1987) also cited
Keith frequently and approvingly.
Finally, both Cattell and Pearson argued that
without drastic social changes, the consequences will be dysgenic,
and potentially disastrous. Spenglerian themes of the decline
of Western Civilization are prominent in both Beyondism
and Pearsons work. Although there are important differences
in their positions, particularly in Cattells much greater
sophistication regarding statistical issues and more complex view
of culture, their shared eugenic vision indicates that cooperation
was more than a matter of convenience.
To understand the implications of this cooperation
and the audience for their work, it is necessary to consider Pearson's
career in detail. Blood Groups and Race was actually a
collection of articles from Northern World, a journal Pearson
founded in the mid-1950s for his new organization: the Northern
League. Pearson formed the Northern League in collaboration with
Peter Huxley-Blythe, who was active in a variety of neo-Nazi groups
with connections in Germany and North America (Tauber, 1967, Vol.
II, n. 142, 207). The purpose of the Northern League was to save
the Nordic race from "annihilation of our kind" and
to lead Nordics in Europe and the Americas in the "fight
for survival against forces which would mongrelize our race and
civilization" (Pearson, 1959b, pp. 2-3). In this struggle,
Pearson announced a merger of newsletters with Britons Publishing
Company, the most extreme anti-Semitic publisher in England, and
a major distributor of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
The readership of both groups understood who the forces of "mongrelization"
were, the Jews.
Leading members of the Northern League included
the premier Nazi race scientist Hans G�nther, who continued his
work in the postwar period under a pseudonym. It should be noted
that Cattell cited G�nther in Beyondism as an authority
on the genetic quality of Harold MacMillans family (1987,
p. 38). Other active members included Mankind Quarterly
founder Robert Gayre, Mankind Quarterly editors Robert
Kuttner and Donald Swan, ex-Waffen SS officer and postwar neo-Nazi
leader Arthur Ehrhardt, and a number of postwar British fascists.
In fascist circles of the 1950s the Northern League was considered
extremist (see Billig, 1979; Thurlow, 1987).
The basic principles in the Northern League literature
are the same principles as those in Roger Pearsons "scientific"
writings about evolution and race, and his blend of science and
politics represents the continuation of a tradition: in the words
of a Bavarian cabinet minister of the 1930s, "National Socialism
is nothing but applied biology" (quoted in Proctor, 1988,
p. 64). Moreover, the Northern League Statement of Aims (n.d.)
hearken back to19th century conceptions of Rasse and Volk.
According to the "Aims," Northern Europeans are the
"purest survival of the great Indo-European family of nations,
sometimes described as the Caucasian race and at other times as
the Aryan race." Almost all the "classic civilisations
of the past were the product of these Indo-European peoples."
Intermarriage with conquered peoples was said to produce the decay
of these civilizations, particularly through interbreeding with
slaves. "The rising tide of Color" threatens to overwhelm
European society, and would result in the "biological annihilation
of the sub-species," according to the Northern League.
When he moved to the United States in the 1960s,
Pearson worked closely with Willis Carto, the founder of the ultra-right
wing Liberty Lobby and the most important purveyor of anti-Semitic
and holocaust denial literature in the country. Cartos Noontide
Press distributed old Nazi works by Hermann G�ring and Alfred
Rosenberg, works on race by Arthur de Gobineau, pamphlets on racial
differences in IQ by Mankind Quarterly editors, and the
Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Pearson served as editor
in chief of Western Destiny, a Carto publication which
promoted international Jewish-Communist conspiracy theories, holocaust
denial, and White genetic superiority. Under a pseudonym, Pearson
briefly edited another Carto-based periodical, The New Patriot,
devoted to virulent anti-Semitism (McCune, 1984). Other editors
included Edward Fields, leading American Nazi and longtime associate
of George Lincoln Rockwell, and British Admiral Sir Barry Domvile,
who was imprisoned during World War II for collaboration with
the Nazis (see Thurlow, 1987). Thus Roger Pearson had a very active
career as a leader of neo-Nazi groups, and his promotion of scientific
writings by Cattell and others must be seen as an integral part
of his Weltanschauung and his political activism.
No assumptions should be made regarding Cattell's
awareness of these activities, and any analysis of the joint activities
of Cattell and Pearson must deal carefully with issues of "guilt
by association" (Winston, 1998). Whether aware or not, Cattells
cooperation provided Pearson with a psychologist of tremendous
visibility and reputation, thereby adding to the legitimacy of
the Mankind Quarterly, Scott Townsend Publishing, and Pearson's
own position. In turn, Pearson provided Cattell with an outlet
for ideas rarely mentioned in Cattells mainstream publications
and consequently unknown to most psychologists. The legitimization
of Mankind Quarterly is a significant issue, and illustrates
the way in which individuals from mainstream psychology can contribute
to the survival of scientized racism and neo-fascist movements.
To explicate and justify his eugenics, Cattells
Beyondism and his publications in Mankind Quarterly
drew on his mainstream work in personality and intelligence, including
the familiar concepts of fluid and crystallized intelligence (e.g.
1992b). In his postwar eugenics writings, there is no separation
of scientific and political issues; eugenics was said to be a
matter of science, and scientific data are to be the basis for
political decisions. These writings cannot be termed his "political"
writings and treated separately from his scientific achievements,
as it is sometimes claimed. Nor can it be said that these ideas
were merely part of the pre-World War II context of eugenics given
that he continued to publish closely related ideas up to 1996.
Although his writings on eugenics form a relatively small portion
of Cattells enormous scholarly output, they are indeed important
to his worldview. The shared eugenic vision and scholarly cooperation
of Cattell and Pearson must therefore be considered in evaluating
the appropriateness of the American Psychological Foundations
Life Achievement Award for Raymond B. Cattell.
1. For an extended discussion of Roger Pearsons
career, see Billig (1979), Tucker (1994), and Winston (1998).
2. The reader is urged to examine the quotes from
Beyondism in the original context. I have included the
quotations here in order to avoid any misunderstanding due to
Billig, M. (1979). Psychology, racism, and
fascism. Birmingham: A. F. & R./Searchlight.
Cattell, R. B. (1981, July). Ethics and the social
sciences: The 'Beyondist' solution. The Mankind Quarterly Monograph,
No. 1. Washington, DC: Cliveden Press.
Cattell, R. B. (1987). Beyondism: Religion
from science. New York: Praeger
Cattell, R. B. (1992a). 'Virtue' in racism? Mankind
Quarterly, 32, 281-284.
Cattell, R. B. (1992b). The relevance of fluid
and crystallized intelligence concepts to nature-Nurture Investigation.
Mankind Quarterly, 32, 359-376.
Cattell, R. B. (1994). How good is your country?
What you should know. Mankind Quarterly Monograph Series,
No. 5. Washington, DC: Institute for the Study of Man.
Cattell, R. B., & Brennan, J. (1981). Population
intelligence and national syntality. Mankind Quarterly,
McCune, W. (1984). Group Research Report, Vol.
23, No. 8. Group Research Collection, Columbia University Archives,
Mehler, B. (1997). Beyondism: Raymond B. Cattell
and the new eugenics. Genetica, 99, 153-165.
Northern League (no date, pre-1965). Explanation
of the aims and principles of the Northern League. Leaflet, 2
pp, copy provided by Marek Kohn, London.
Pearson, R. (1959a). Blood groups and race.
London: Clair Press.
Pearson, R. (1959b). Editorial: Our third birthday.
Northern World, 4, 1-4. (copy available in Herbert
C. Sanborn Papers, Special Collections, Vanderbilt University)
Pearson, R. (1965). Editorials: Our new look.
Western Destiny, 10, No. 9, 3-5.
Pearson, R. (1991). Race, intelligence, and
bias in academe. Washington, DC: Scott-Townsend.
Pearson, R. (1995). The concept of heredity in
Western thought: Part two, the myth of biological egalitarianism.
Mankind Quarterly, 35, 343-371.
Proctor, R. (1988). Racial hygiene: Medicine
under the Nazis. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Tauber, K. (1967). Beyond eagle and swastika:
German nationalism since 1945 (2 Vols.). Middletown, CT: Wesleyan
Thurlow, R. (1987). Fascism in Britain.
Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
Tucker, W. H. (1994). The Science and politics
of racial research. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.
Winston, A. S. (1998). Science in the service
of the far right: Henry E. Garrett, the IAAEE and the Liberty
Lobby. Journal of Social Issues, 53, 179-209.
Wolpoff, M. & Caspari, R. (1997). Race
and human evolution. New York: Simon & Schuster.
ANDREW S. WINSTON is Professor of Psychology
at the University of Guelph. He is currently studying the involvement
of psychologists in neo-Nazi groups during the 1950s through 1970s.
In addition, he has published work on the concept of "experiment"
in the history of psychology, and on psychological aesthetics.
He can be reached at: email@example.com
Recent publications relevant to the special
Winston, A. S. (1996). "As his name indicates":
R. S. Woodworth's letters of reference and employment for Jewish
psychologists in the 1930s. Journal of the History of the Behavioral
Sciences, 32, 30-43.
Winston, A. S. (1996). The context of correctness:
A Comment on Rushton. Journal of Social Distress and Homelessness,
Winston, A. S. (1998). "The defects of his
race...": E.G. Boring and antisemitism in American psychology,
1923-1953. History of Psychology, 1, 27-51.
Winston, A. S. (1998). Science in the Service
of the Far Right: Henry Garrett, the IAAEE, and the Liberty Lobby.
Journal of Social Issues, 54, 179-210.