Reflections on My Life as a Eugenicist, Part 3

Abbott Handerson Thayer, My Children, detail [1]

Abbott Handerson Thayer, My Children, detail

4,232 words

Part 3 of 4

Robert Klark Graham

Robert Klark Graham invented the plastic used for shatter-proof eyeglasses, and he made a fortune. After he sold his company, he began thinking about how he could use his money to help the world. He talked at length with Hermann J. Mueller, a Nobel Prize-winner in genetics, and they came up with the idea of a sperm bank that would store and distribute the sperm of exceptional men. They named it The Repository for Germinal Choice [2]

In 1983, when I was still in grad school at the University of Texas, I met Bob Graham in Austin where I interviewed him about The Repository. We hit it off immediately. I remember at one point during the interview, the issue of race came up, and he motioned for me to turn off the tape recorder, so I did. He told me that where he grew up in Michigan, there were few blacks, but when he went out to California, he hired several blacks to work in his laboratory that manufactured eyeglass lenses. He was not impressed with their work ethic, and then one night they deliberately sabotaged the machinery so they could stop working and take a break, and this infuriated him. After the interview, we went out to lunch, and we talked and talked, and thus began a long friendship. We corresponded, talked on the phone, and got together a number of times over the years.

I published a tiny journal called The Eugenics Bulletin while I was in grad school. It only had about 80 subscribers. I used to staple the copies together on the dining room table. I published my interview [3] with Bob Graham in the next edition, and Jensen had also sent me an article for it, which I really appreciated. (As editor of a homespun journal about the world’s most unpopular subject, I was hardly swamped with submissions!) He said “edit it any way you like, I trust you.” This was just one of his many acts of generosity.

GrahamRobert [4]

Robert Klark Graham

Many, many years later – in 1996 – Bob sponsored a eugenics conference in San Diego at a beautiful, informal resort. Maybe 20 to 25 people were invited, including Philippe Rushton, Art Jensen, Richard Lynn, and Garrett Hardin. I was delighted to meet Ray Cattell for the first time in person because I admired his work enormously, and because he had been so kind and encouraging to me over the years through our correspondence. I also met Jared Taylor, Sam Dickson, and Bill Regnery there. We had a number of discussions, and we started a new organization called SAGE (Society for the Advancement of Genetics Education), but the organization was still-born because the newly-elected president soon realized that if he got involved with eugenics, his anti-immigration work would suffer.

The last time I saw Bob was the year after his eugenics conference. I happened to be in Los Angeles, so I figured that while I was so close, I might as well fly down to San Diego to visit him. He told me that he was dying of throat cancer, and the doctor had given him one year to live. This was sad news, of course, but he was very old (90), and never one to be sentimental. He said that he wanted to make concrete plans for my future before he died. I hoped to start a eugenics organization to be called “Future Generations,” and he planned to leave me a large sum of money to fund it. We talked about it in his office, and I remember that I even jokingly suggested that he adopt me! He thought he had time to work things out with his lawyers, but then he suddenly died of a heart attack, so in the end he left me nothing, and needless to say I was bitterly disappointed.

It was unfortunate that Bob’s wife, Marta, and in fact his entire family, thought that The Repository was nothing but an embarrassment. It’s a shame that even today, in all likelihood, they have no inkling of its positive impact. When he died, they first told reporters that it would continue to operate, but soon thereafter, they closed it down. My guess is that none of the records were saved.

Very recently, I watched an old videotaped interview with him. It was interesting because when I saw his face – and especially when I heard his voice again – I felt both happy and sad, and I realized that I missed him.

The realization had finally begun to sink in that I possessed extraordinary naiveté! But knowing about it hardly makes it go away! I always figured that if I ever needed a pseudonym, I would call myself “Donna Quixote.” (Get it?) Anyway, I was uncertain as to whether or not I should give issues of The Eugenics Bulletin to the faculty of the Differential Department because I’d had so much trouble in the past. But clearly, this place was different. They seemed to be impressed with my IQ-fertility study, and nobody but a eugenicist would even care about that. So finally I put one issue of The Eugenics Bulletin in each of their mailboxes. After that, I thought maybe I detected a few “bad vibes.” (Nothing was ever said openly, but it seems that we were permitted to believe in eugenics privately, but it was frowned upon to say so publicly.)

Limping Back to Memphis

Several months later, I was sitting in my apartment in my old oak rocking chair, reading, when I looked up and thought to myself, Jesus Christ! My head hurts! And my throat! And that was the beginning of the end. It was frightening, the speed and the power with which the virus swept over me. Within 24 hours, I crawled from the bed to the bathroom, resting several times along the way. I kept expecting to get better, but I never did. Any hope of finishing my doctorate was rapidly fading. I moved back to Memphis to live with my parents and my grandmother because I simply had no other choice. I couldn’t work, I couldn’t cook, I couldn’t do much of anything except lie in bed.

It turns out that I had caught a virus that attacks the central nervous system, variously known as Epstein-Barr Virus / Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / Systemic Exertion Intolerance. It causes absolute crushing exhaustion and very significant cognitive impairment. I remember dialing a phone number from a piece of paper, one digit at a time. Sometimes I felt so “stoned” from the illness that I knew it would be far too dangerous to drive a car. Studies show that the levels of pain and debilitation with this illness are equaled only by the last 2 weeks of terminal cancer or heart disease. Occasionally, on a very good day, I could go out to lunch (and that was it for the day), but on a bad day, I couldn’t make it to the dining room table, and my meals had to be brought in to me on a tray.

I went out to Denver (the flight was an ordeal) so I could go to the National Jewish Hospital there which specializes in allergies and immunology. I was in the hospital for almost a month while a team of 3 doctors tried to figure out what was wrong with me. They knew I was very sick, and they were determined to get to the bottom of it. I respected them, I was impressed by their efforts, and grateful. They performed zillions of tests. That’s where they discovered that I had an immune deficiency.

From the outset, my symptoms strongly suggested a virus. It was so debilitating that half the time, I couldn’t sit up in a chair for more than 20 minutes. That’s when I began my strange habit of lying down in all kinds of unusual public places, such as benches, back seats of cars, stretched out along a row of chairs that had no arm rests, or even on the sidewalk or the floor at the airport, simply because I couldn’t walk any further. “I’m OK, I’m just exhausted,” I would reassure the kind people who stopped to ask if I needed help. “Thanks for your concern!”

I assumed I was dying. (I couldn’t imagine how anyone could feel that bad for that long and not be dying.) But when they told me the diagnosis, it was so much worse than imminent death! They told me I had Epstein-Barr virus, that I’d never be well again, and I’d never improve at all, but that it wouldn’t shorten my life – that I’d probably die of old age! I didn’t even know that there existed an illness that’s so severe and lasts forever. When they told me I wasn’t dying, I almost laughed – I’m supposed to be happy to suffer day after miserable day until I finally die of old age? Is this some sort of a sick joke? It was so awful, it was almost funny.

They said the virus was only contagious during the first few weeks of the illness, so that was good. Of course, the prognosis was appalling, but at least I had the comfort of knowing that I’d had a really thorough diagnostic work up by some top-notch guys. I asked them specifically not to sugar-coat the prognosis, but to tell me the unvarnished truth, no matter how horrible, and they certainly did that!

I thought seriously about committing suicide, and I began hoarding pills. But I’m glad now that I didn’t. My productivity took a nose dive when I got sick, but it didn’t descend to zero. I managed to get some work done, despite being spaced out and exhausted, by a great effort of will – by what I think of as “Teutonic determination.” I’d read a book at least twice, and I’d take much longer to write a paper than I used to, going over and over drafts.

So anyway (deep sigh!) I started an Epstein-Barr Virus support group which met monthly at the Episcopal church where my family belonged. After my previous triumphant victory over the “mystery illness,” I mistakenly thought maybe I could somehow make progress on my own. Whereas I was hell-bent on getting better, finding the smartest doctors in the world, and keeping up with the latest research, the other members of the support group seemed more interested in venting and learning to cope with the illness. I discovered that most of these people are told it’s “psychological” for years and years – at least I had a diagnosis. The doctors in Denver had told me that there was no cure, or even very much knowledge about the virus, and that I’d be very sick forevermore. However, even first-rate doctors are sometimes wrong, progress marches on, and I had to keep trying. Hope springs eternal.

Borrowing from 2% milk, I realized that I now lived a “2% life,” but even that adds up when it’s spread out over many years, so I tried to figure out how I could make the best possible use of my new, severely diminished “life force.” I pursued a two-track plan simultaneously: one for if I never got any better (write a novel), and the other for if I did (keep up with the research). This was in addition to trying desperately to improve my health, all of which required more energy than I could muster.

Wan Ying, my friend from Austin, came up to visit me in Memphis. She completely charmed my family with all her funny stories about China. I wasn’t able to do much, but it was great to see her again, and to just sit around and talk and laugh.

I still corresponded with Jensen, and he agreed to do an interview for The Eugenics Bulletin over the phone. It turned out to be more of a conversation, which I taped over several days, and it lasted almost 5 hours. It wasn’t intended to be anywhere near that long, but we enjoyed talking with each other, and I think he was trying to be especially nice to me because he felt sympathy for my plight. It was good to be able to ask him endless questions because he’s so brilliant and fascinating, and I have so much respect for him and, quite frankly, affection as well. After our long conversation, I started typing up the transcript, and quickly became exhausted. I tried again. And again. And again. The audio of this long conversation has just recently been made available in full [5] on Counter-Currents, thanks to Greg Johnson’s efforts. The content is quite interesting, but also it reveals what a warm and gracious man Jensen was.

Over the years, I tried dozens of medical treatments – from traditional to alternative to downright bizarre (such as honey bee stings) (which actually helped me!) I’d estimate that not quite 20% produced some detectable improvement, making the entire odyssey worthwhile from my point of view. Also, I discovered the wonderful world of palliatives. By 1997, I was still sick, but my condition had improved just to the point that I could live independently, so I moved to an apartment not far from Boston because it has exceptionally good medical care. By a great stroke of luck, I ran into the same super-smart immunologist there in Boston who had originally diagnosed me in Denver many years before.

Philippe Rushton

j_philippe_rushton [6]

J. Philippe Rushton

I first met J. Philippe Rushton at a luncheon sponsored by the Pioneer Fund in New York, circa 1987. He gave a brief presentation about his research, and I talked to him afterwards. Like most illnesses, mine waxed and waned, but on this particular day I was just starting a “bad spell,” so when it was over, I walked out to the street and I suddenly found myself in a dream world, a chaotic swirl of noise and movement. As soon as I figured out where I was and what was going on, I realized that I needed one of those yellow cars that drive people around so I could go to the airport, but I couldn’t think of how to get one, or even what they were called! That’s how disoriented I was.[1]

I knew Rushton wasn’t married, and I imagined he must be suffering from all kinds of vicious attacks because of his research on race differences in IQ – and there he was, all alone!

Plus he was a very nice guy, he had an English accent, and he was good-looking to boot! (He looked a bit like a taller, more slender version of the original Clark Kent/Superman.) So I decided to call him on the phone. I identified myself, and I told him I was just calling to see how he was getting along. He sounded really glad to hear from me. Most people called him Phil, but I asked him if I could call him Philippe (the French pronunciation) just for fun, and he said sure. Anyway, this was the beginning of long, week-end phone calls that lasted years. It turned out that he was not being attacked for his research on race the way Jensen had been. I couldn’t understand it. His colleagues in the Psychology Department at the University of Western Ontario knew all about his research on racial differences in IQ, and apparently, they were fine with it. He said he got along well with all his colleagues. I thought to myself, Gee, isn’t that amazing, that Canadians could be so different from Americans?

Not long afterwards, however, Philippe went to an AAAS conference in San Francisco (American Association for the Advancement of Science) where he presented a paper on his research. The newspapers got wind of it, and suddenly he was being lambasted by the American media, and this spread to the Canadian media. When he got back home to Toronto, suddenly all his colleagues in the Psychology Department shunned him! Because the newspapers became harshly critical of his research – which members of the department had known about and accepted for years – when they passed him in the hall, all of a sudden they looked the other way instead of saying hello. Presumably these were grown men and women with above-average intelligence. In my opinion, this behavior was absolutely revolting – cowardly, dishonorable, rude, cruel, stupid, and disloyal – all at the same time. What a bunch of morally worthless, despicable, low-life bums! This marked the beginning of many years of trouble for Philippe.

When I was having a “good spell,” we’d sometimes meet at a conference. Once Philippe came to visit me in Memphis, and my grandmother put him up at the Memphis Country Club. We had a great time together. He asked me if we could go see Graceland, the home of Elvis, and I said sure, but I thought it was kind of funny that such a brilliant guy was an Elvis fan.

I remember we were talking on the phone one day, and he asked my advice about a career decision he was mulling over. I told him that I needed to know what his long term goal was in order to give good advice. He paused for a moment, and then he said in total seriousness, “I guess my ultimate objective is to alter the course of human evolution.” “Well,” I laughed in surprise, “no one can ever accuse you of lacking ambition!”

For Philippe to apply the r/K theory of reproductive strategies in animals to different races was a stroke of genius. His other major contribution was the genetic similarity theory. It applies to animals and people, that altruism is strongest towards those who are most closely related genetically, and this makes perfect sense from an evolutionary perspective.

In 1989, there was a debate about race and IQ between Philippe and David Suzuki, a geneticist. It was quite extraordinary that such a debate took place at all, and nothing short of a miracle that it was broadcast live in prime-time on Canadian TV. It was held at the University of Western Ontario where Philippe was on the faculty. He mailed me a video of the debate which I watched with great interest. (I watched it again yesterday and it’s still interesting!) There was a large university crowd, and great excitement in the air. Philippe looked handsome as always, and he had a remarkable presence. He was composed, he didn’t appear to be the slightest bit nervous, and he gave a very cogent statement about his theory of r-K differences between the races. By contrast, Suzuki was clearly upset, but he didn’t have anything concrete to disprove Philippe’s theory. There were a number of black students in the front row who looked sullen and angry. I found myself getting frightened for Philippe’s safety, and I had to remind myself that the debate was already over.

One of the last things Philippe did in the way of research was a study with Art Jensen on the “Flynn Effect.” Both men were getting older and not in the best of health, and I believe they chose their last research carefully. James Flynn, a New Zealand political scientist, had reported “massive gains” of 3 IQ points per decade in much of the Western world over a large swath of the 20th century.[2] This sounds highly implausible on the face of it, especially in light of dysgenic fertility, and Flynn himself was not at all sure it was “real.” Most of my colleagues puzzled over this for years – is it really real? And if so, what could possibly account for such a big increase? Improved nutrition? Outbreeding? Better test-taking skills? I’d been pondering this question, too – I thought it was next-to-impossible that it was real, but I didn’t have a clue as to what might account for his findings. Art was in correspondence with Flynn, who seemed like a serious and honorable man, and he told me that Flynn wanted to discredit IQ in order to make the black-white difference meaningless. At any rate, I was delighted when Philippe and Art (both psychometricians) refuted Flynn’s hypothesis. They analyzed the data themselves and reported that the IQ subtests in his study that improved over time had zero or even negative g loadings (which means that intelligence itself has absolutely not improved).[3] The title to their paper aptly began, “The Rise and Fall of the Flynn Effect.”

The Acid Test for Intrepid Seekers of Truth: The Jews

Between 1995 and 1998, I read Kevin MacDonald’s trilogy, including The Culture of Critique, and David Duke’s book, My Awakening, and this changed my life forever. I was profoundly shocked. I remember reading along, positively enthralled, and then becoming so horrified, I was forced to put the book down. But I’d be compelled to pick it up again because it was fascinating, but after a while I’d become angry and depressed about all the vicious and deceitful things the Jews had done, so I’d have to stop reading. It was a roller coaster ride, an intellectual-emotional experience like no other. It reminded me of watching horror movies when I was a little girl – I used to cover my eyes with both hands, until only a thin sliver of the scene was visible through my fingers. Ironically, I can’t recall any terrifying, ghoulish creatures at the movies that chilled me to the bone quite like the reality we now face today – that of being infiltrated by a hostile alien species.

So many things suddenly made sense after learning about the Jews. I finally began to understand why the Western world had gone insane over race, egalitarianism, and eugenics. It was a tremendous relief to be liberated from confusion. Confusion is so unpleasant! It’s oppressive, and frustrating, and it involves anxiety and a great deal of tension and turmoil – whereas understanding is such a smooth, light, free feeling! Like taking in a deep breath on a beautiful Spring morning, or soaring through the sky like a bird! The brilliance of MacDonald’s works can be measured by the vastness of the social and political landscape they explain, which otherwise would be chaos.

I didn’t tell just anyone what I was reading about, but I did tell several close friends and family members, and they were somewhat alarmed, I guess understandably. I suspect they were gossiping about me over the phone: “Well, she’s really gone off the deep end now!” But that’s because they didn’t know all I knew. It would have been easy for them to learn, but they were too terrified even to hold such books in their hands. (The Thought Police might burst in at any moment!) I offered to send each of them a copy of My Awakening as a gift because it’s very well-written and easy to read, making it perfect for a naive person to get an overview of the Jewish question. But they said “No, thank you!”

I genuinely wish that what MacDonald and Duke wrote about the Jews were untrue – and I’ll wager that they wish this, too – that we could all wake up tomorrow morning and discover that it was only a dreadful nightmare.

If there had ever been any hope of my returning to “polite society” (there was never really any hope!) it vanished after I read those books. Not only was I a eugenicist and a race realist, I was now (according to some people’s definition) an anti-Semite as well.

Sometimes I wonder how Nathaniel and Sylvia Weyl would have reacted to the extremely negative revelations about the Jews, and to my paper on the (Jewish) anti-eugenics hoax [7]. Would they have been deeply offended? Would they have tried to deny the truth? Or would they have faced it? My guess is that initially Nathaniel would have been angry, before he completely understood, and then the facts would sink in, and they’d both be devastated, and terribly, terribly depressed. Then they would have slowly recovered and joined the ranks of the “good Jews” like Israel Shahak, Gilad Atzmon, Norman Finkelstein, Israel Shamir, Victor Ostrovsky, and others who work hard and suffer much abuse in order to warn the world about the crimes of the Jews. That would be my hope, anyway.


1. When I got home to Memphis, I realized that I had an appointment to meet with Harry Weyher, the president of the Pioneer Fund, after the luncheon – but I forgot! I should have called him up immediately and apologized – but this never even occurred to me! So I did nothing. Eeech! I’ve done my very best to compensate, but the truth is that I haven’t been “myself” since that fateful day in 1984 when I first got sick. Navigating the social world through this “brain fog” has not been easy! I shudder to think about all the other things I must have forgotten, all my gaffes, screw-ups, inadvertent insults or slights, over-reactions, failure to take a hint, bad judgement, assorted blunders, and misunderstandings. I’ve probably messed up hundreds or even thousands of things – socially and otherwise – all because I’ve been drugged by that lousy virus. Subjectively, it’s a little bit like being drunk, except that it’s decidedly dysphoric.

2. Flynn, J. R. (1987) Massive gains in 14 nations: what IQ tests really measure, Psychological Bulletin 101: p 171-91.

3. Rushton, J. P. and Jensen, Arthur R. (2010) The rise and fall of the Flynn Effect as a reason to expect a narrowing of the Black-White IQ gap, Intelligence 38: p 213-19.