Racial Purist Uses Reagan Plug

By Rich Jaroslovsky
Wall Street Journal
Sept. 28, 1984

WASHINGTON -- Roger Pearson, a publisher of politically conservative academic journals here, has something other publishers would envy; a glowing letter of praise from Ronald Reagan.

Plenty of well-known conservatives have written for Mr. Pearson�s publications, but his kudos from the most famous conservative of all stands out. Mr. Pearson has used reproductions of his 1982 letter - praising "your substantial contributions to promoting and upholding those ideals and principles he (sic!) values at home and abroad" - in bulk mailings to solicit sales and subscriptions.

Those who have received copies of the presidential letter might be surprised to learn that Mr. Pearson, a British-born anthropologist, has spent much of his career advancing the theory that the "purity" of the white race is endangered by "inferior" genetic stock. He has warned that people of European descent may be "annihilated as a species" unless they act to reserve their "racial identity," and he currently receives funds from a controversial foundation dedicated to "racial betterment."

The 57-year-old Mr. Pearson even draws harsh attacks from other elements of the hard right, members of which fear he may discredit their goals. He resigned from the World Anti-Communist League, a federation he once headed, after some of its chapters charged that he encouraged the membership of European and Latin American groups with Nazi or neo-Nazi ties. Former Maj. John Singlaub, who now heads the league�s U.S. affiliate, calls Mr. Pearson an "embarrassment" who is "not at all welcome in any activity" of the group.

"The White House ought to repudiate this bird," says Justin Finger, civil-rights director of the Anti-Defamation League of B�nai B�rith, the Jewish organization. Mr. Finger complained to the White House when he learned of the letter this summer, but he says he hasn�t received any response.

Composed by Pearson Associate

Though the letter bore Mr. Reagan�s signature, it was actually composed by a Pearson associate who had joined the White House staff. There isn�t any evidence that the president knows Mr. Pearson, and Mr. Reagan�s public statements on race don�t bear any resemblance to Mr. Pearson�s writings. But the incident shows how a highly ideological presidency - conservative or liberal - can be used by well-connected outside activities (sic!) to gain respectability.

What�s more, the White House isn�t disavowing the letter, or repudiating Mr. Pearson, although it wants him to stop using the letter to sell subscriptions to two journals he currently publishes, the Mankind Quarterly and The Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies. Anson Franklin, an assistant presidential press secretary, says: "The president has long-held views opposing racial discrimination in any form, and he would never condone anything to the contrary. But that�s a general statement; I�m not addressing Dr. Pearson specifically."

The White House says the letter was written after Mr. Pearson sent to the president a copy of his journals that didn�t espouse his controversial racial views. Not all such gifts are answered so glowingly, but in this case Mr. Pearson had a champion in Robert Schuettinger, then a mid-level White House official and currently in the Defense Department.

Mr. Schuettinger says he has known Mr. Pearson for several years and is on the editorial board of one of Mr. Pearson�s publications. He concedes he wasn�t aware of all of Mr. Pearson�s past activities but says "there is absolutely no valid ... to accuse him of racism," though Mr. Pearson may have been "a little naive" in his associations.

In two lengthy interviews, the affable Mr. Pearson largely refuses to comment on the record about his activities, though he doesn�t dispute the central elements of this account of them. But he insists, "I�m not ashamed of anything I�ve said or written."

�Breeding Ideal Types�

Among those writings is an old article calling for the use of artificial insemination to preserve "pure healthy stock" and allow "breeding back the �ideal� types." The 1958 article, in a magazine Mr. Pearson founded called Northern World, also warned of a "terrible outcome" should such a program of genetic selection "fall into the hands of the cosmopolites or one-worlders, or any who wish to see our race and our heritage destroyed.

Other Pearson writings appeared in Western Destiny, a magazine published by the far right, anti-Semitic Liberty Lobby. Mr. Pearson edited Western Destiny briefly in the mid-1960s and wrote several books on race and eugenics that were issued by Liberty Lobby�s publishing arm. These pamphlets are still sold by the National Socialist White People�s Party, the Arlington, Va.-based American Nazi group; Mr. Pearson says he doesn�t have any connection that group.

After breaking with Liberty Lobby Leader Willis Carto in a personal dispute, Mr. Pearson began moving more into the conservative mainstream, holding academic posts at several small colleges and authorizing (sic! authoring?) an anthropology textbook. In 1977, he was on the original board of editors of Policy Review, a journal published by the Heritage Foundation, a mainstream conservative think tank. Knowledgeable sources say he was asked to resign when Heritage officials learned of his background.

Mr. Pearson currently runs a tax-exempt organization called the Council on Social and Economic Studies out of a three-room suite in a downtown Washington apartment building. Besides his publishing income, he acknowledges that he also receives money from the Pioneer Fund, a controversial New York-based trust fund dedicated to "racial betterment." The fund also has supported the work of psychologist William Shockley, who holds views on race and heredity similar to Mr. Pearson�s.

Mr. Pearson�s current publications, which generally downplay his racial views, boast contributions from some eminently respectable conservative political figures. Spokesmen for several of Mr. Pearson�s contributors say they weren�t aware of his background when they submitted articles.

"Generally, the conservatives are so concerned with conspiracies on the left that they don�t realize when they may be part of a conspiracy on the right," asserts John Rees, a contributing editor of the John Birch Society�s magazine and a harsh critic of Mr. Pearson.

Source: Rich Jaroslovsky (1984, September 28). Politics '84 -- Controversial Publisher: Racial Purist Uses Reagan Plug. Wall Street Journal (Eastern Edition), p. 1. Retrieved November 6, 2007, from ABI/INFORM Global database. (Document ID: 27121258).