Earlier this month, The Nation, America’s premier left-liberal opinion magazine, carried a long article about America’s elite colleges that opened by describing Harvard as “a hedge fund with a university attached”:
Universities Are Becoming Billion-Dollar Hedge Funds with Schools Attached
Astra Taylor, The Nation, March 8, 2016
Now where, I wonder, have I previously heard that particular description?
Paying Tuition to a Giant Hedge Fund
Harvard’s academic mission is dwarfed by its $30 billion endowment
Ron Unz, The American Conservative, December 4, 2012
Harvard as Hedge Fund: Harvard Replies
Ron Unz, The American Conservative, December 10, 2012
Our Elite Colleges Should Abolish Tuitio n
Schools like Harvard have become tax-exempt hedge funds with huge returns. Ending tuition would be a form of payback
Ron Unz, The New York Times, March 30, 2015
With Harvard University about to mail out Overseer ballots to its 320,000 alumni, this article certainly constitutes a helpful form of free advertising for our Free Harvard/Fair Harvard slate of candidates. We argue that gigantic hedge funds should not collect tuition and that Harvard should henceforth begin providing a free education for its many thousands of undergraduate students, a decision that would surely be immediately followed by Yale, Princeton, Stanford, and various other wealthy and elite colleges.
Meanwhile, somewhat similar notions, expressed from a considerably different point on the ideological compass, have now also appeared elsewhere. The Economist, of venerable 19th century origins, probably edges out The Wall Street Journal as the world’s most prestigious and influential center-right publication, and just this last week it ran a major article discussing our free tuition at Harvard campaign, and treating our ideas with considerable sympathy. When pragmatically conservative voices of highest reputability seem to find reasonable merit in what at first glance might seem a wild-eyed Bernie Sandersesque proposal, perhaps all those tens of thousands of Harvard-educated lawyers and MBAs will read our Overseer ballot statements with an open mind.
But ideas and opinions only have impact if they are widely disseminated, and after many years of largely avoiding the Social Media that now dominate the Internet, I have at long last established a Twitter account. Those interested in receiving my sometimes provocative or controversial opinions may now follow me at https://twitter.com/RonUnz1, with my maiden Tweet probably going out later today. The primary factor persuading me to overcome my notorious stodginess in new software adoption was my very recent—and completely last-minute—decision to enter the U.S. Senate race in California.
This unexpected development was, in turn, prompted by the wholehearted support of the Republicans in the California Legislature for the repeal of my 1998 Prop. 227 “English for the Children” initiative and the reestablishment of the disastrous and nearly-forgotten system of Spanish-almost-only “bilingual education” in our public schools. This latest Republican idiocy had inspired my previous column entitled “Is the Republican Party Just Too Stupid to Survive?”
As a certain wildly successful Reality TV star has demonstrated, American politics these days has often become a game of 140-character slogans and attacks, and if others play by these rules, I must utilize that same medium myself. But I expect my candidacy to be a highly unusual one in many respects.
One of the sad realities of today’s political world is that the vast majority of our candidates are collective entities, their position-papers and talking-points drafted by consultants and the focus-groups these employ, their words crafted by speech-writers, and their crucial political decisions often made or unmade under the dominant influence of the donors who fund their campaigns. The individual whose name appears on the ballot is often merely an empty-headed front-man, operated by these hidden puppet-masters. The massive, open corruption of this process has tremendously outraged voters, thereby opening the door to the rise of the Lord of Trump Tower and also the Democratic Socialist from Vermont, whose positions may be controversial or incorrect, but at least seem somewhat genuine and honest. Such personal authenticity seems a very useful commodity in this particular election year.
To this end, I have spent the last week or so producing my new simple but utilitarian Senate Campaign Website, and loading it with 200,000 words of my old articles, stretching back over more than two decades. My views on all sorts of issues may be controversial or incorrect, but at least they are my own, and any voters who support putting me into the U.S. Senate can easily obtain a very good idea of what sort of things they might expect if I manage to get there.
To help ensure that my campaign remains relatively free from the temptations of donor-induced corruption, I will not accept any contribution over $99, which is also a sum small enough for donors to easily afford losing when they contribute to a Republican running in an overwhelmingly Democratic state such as California. If you agree with me more than you disagree with me and like it when I begin saying in public the “politically incorrect” things that virtually no politicians ever do, then just make your $99 payment, enjoy the vicarious thrill of a bit of ideological entertainment value, and don’t be too surprised if a Democrat does ultimately win in November, as almost always happens in post-Pete Wilson California.
As for my actual views, well there’s 200,000 words of previously published material you can begin reading on my website whenever you like.
And since the now long-forgotten “English in the Schools” issue will probably become so central to my campaign, I’ve also uploaded another 200,000 words or so of scanned newspaper articles from the era of the “English Wars” of the late 1990s so that individuals can uncover the depths of the ignorance and stupidity exhibited by the current Republican politicians in Sacramento.