Remembering J. Philippe Rushton: December 3, 1943–October 2, 2012
Posted on: 10/09/2012 02:48 AM
by Greg Johnson
Psychologist J. Philippe Rushton died on October 2, 2012, of Addison’s disease. He was 68. Rushton was born in Bournemouth, England to an English father and a French mother. He studied at Birkbeck College of the University of London (B.Sc. in psychology, 1970), the London School of Economics (Ph.D. in psychology, 1973), and Oxford University (postdoc, 1974).
He moved to Canada in 1974 and taught at York University, the University of Toronto, and the University of Western Ontario, where he was tenured and spent the rest of his career. His research focused on genetic similarity theory and biological race differences. He was the author of five books, including the classic study of biological race differences, Race, Evolution, and Behavior: A Life History Perspective (1995, 1997, and 2000), and more than 200 scientific papers.
I hope to run more extensive tributes to Rushton from people who knew him better than I did and who are better able to pass judgment on his work. In the meantime, however, I want to share my personal thoughts and recollections, limited though they may be.
I first encountered Rushton’s work in 2000, the year of my awakening. I was given a copy of the abridged version of the third edition of Race, Evolution, and Behavior (available online here), which I read in one sitting. A few years before, I had read and assimilated the lessons of The Bell Curve, so Rushton’s overall thesis was not surprising, but many of his details were quite unexpected. The whole sweep of his presentation was crushingly convincing, an impression that was confirmed when I read the unabridged first edition. (My copy arrived on March 3, 2001, the day I met Wilmot Robertson.)
I was also impressed by the pedagogical brilliance of Rushton’s presentation of his argument in the abridged edition, as well as the lengths to which he was willing to go to disseminate the book through bulk purchase discounts.
Rushton was, first and foremost, a scientist. He believed that the pursuit of truth was a high moral calling. But he also believed the truths he had discovered imposed new obligations on him, namely to disseminate them as widely and compellingly as possible.
The truth that Rushton discovered is that racial differences are biologically based and systematic: from the most superficial to the most fundamental, all human traits are racially differentiated. But modern white societies operate on the opposite assumption: that racial differences are socially constructed and socially mutable, thus superior white performance in the societies we have created is a function of racial injustices to non-whites that must be redressed through white dispossession.
Not only did Rushton see that these policies based on false premises, he also saw that they were directed at his own people. Thus as a scientist and a white man, he felt obligated to speak out: to deliver scientific truth in a politically effective manner. It is a lesson we should all take to heart, and the abridged edition of Race, Evolution, and Behavior is an ideal model to follow.
(When we first met, Rushton rather graciously signed my copy of the abridged Race, Evolution, and Behavior. Unfortunately, it was one of those books I constantly loaned out, and I lost it. But in karmic compensation I was given the copy that Rushton sent, with a signed reviewer’s slip, to Sam Francis, complete with Francis’ underlining and annotations.)
I first met Rushton in February of 2002 at an American Renaissance Conference. I found him even more impressive in person than in print. He was a brilliant lecturer and conversationalist. I had a number of questions about Race, Evolution, and Behavior. Since he was eager to welcome another Ph.D. into “this thing of ours,” he was very generous with his time.
I remember a conversation about immigration quite vividly.
First, I asked him his opinion of Francis Parker Yockey’s somewhat apodictic claim in Imperium that a political system will find ways to generate the population that it needs, thus if a society does not encourage immigration from without it will find ways to encourage the existing population to reproduce itself. The population gains due to immigration may, moreover, be partially illusory, since the disruption and competition caused by immigrants suppresses the reproduction of the native population.
As I recall, Rushton thought this was interesting and could be formulated as a testable scientific hypothesis.
Second, I offered the argument that perhaps America would have been better off if it had not allowed in progressively more heterogeneous European and non-European immigrant groups to settle the continent, for immigration depressed wages and created social disruptions that made it more difficult for the original founding stock to reproduce itself. If immigration had not been allowed, the continent would have been peopled more slowly, surely, but the resulting society would have been more homogeneous and more egalitarian, since labor would have been scarcer and thus workers would have had greater bargaining power against capital.
Rushton thought this argument made sense, but he believed that my concerns were ultimately trumped by higher concerns of Darwinian Realpolitik: the United States was not the only contender for control of the North American continent. Mexico was also a contender, and he thought it was better for the white race as a whole that the United States rather than Mexico populated the West, regardless of the costs in ethnic homogeneity or social justice, which were real but less pressing issues that could be sorted out later.
Third, I asked Rushton if he thought the that the rising tide of non-white immigration into white countries could be explained as the result of businesspeople looking for cheap labor and welfare statists looking for needy constituencies, without any consideration of the common good or long-term demographic consequences. Thus white dispossession is merely a ghastly mistake, the unintended consequence of selfish and short-sighted policies.
Rushton thought this was an inadequate explanation and stated flatly that he believed that mass non-white immigration was also driven by a conscious purpose: the extermination of the white race.
Good old Phil. What I admired most about him was his manner of stating the most radical claims in a calm and unapologetic way. His manner conveyed both moral certitude and openness to reason.
He also suggested that if I wanted to know who was behind non-white immigration, and why, I needed to read chapter 7 of Kevin MacDonald’s The Culture of Critique. (I had already been there, of course, but I wanted to see if that’s where Rushton would go.)
Intellectual excellence is seldom combined with good character or social graces. Most academics are in large part wimps, dorks, and slobs. Phil Rushton was a brilliant and hard-working scientist, but he was also a well-rounded and virtuous man: cultured, socially polished, masculine, self-assured, and enormously courageous.
Because of his scientific and political convictions, Rushton endured decades of social ostracism, professional discrimination, grotesque smears, mentally unhinged stalkers, attempts to have him fired from his job, and even physical assaults at the hands of Canada’s egalitarian peace- and love-mongers.
I met Rushton four or five more times in subsequent years, and although to him I should have been a nobody, he always remembered my name and greeted me warmly. His professional trials and more recent health problems would have embittered most men, but not Phil. All I saw was magnanimity and good humor and undimmed intellectual curiosity.
A truly great man has died.