A strong dam may hold back an immense quantity of water, but once it breaks the resulting flood may sweep aside everything in its path. I had spent nearly my entire life never doubting that a lone gunman named Lee Harvey Oswald killed President John F. Kennedy nor that a different lone gunman took the... Read More
About a decade ago, I got a Netflix subscription and was amazed that the Internet now provided immediate access to so many thousands of movies on my own computer screen. But after a week or two of heavy use and the creation of a long watch-list of prospective films I'd always wanted to see, my... Read More
Although I've soured on him in recent years, for the first decade and more of Paul Krugman's tenure at the New York Times I regarded him as about the only national columnist worth reading. Certainly many others felt the same way, and Krugman regularly ranked among the most influential liberal voices in the country, gaining... Read More
For many years I maintained far too many magazine subscriptions, more periodicals than I could possibly read or even skim, so most weeks they went straight into storage, with scarcely more than a glance at the cover. But every now and then, I might casually browse one of them, curious about what I had usually... Read More
Some years ago as I became increasingly aware of the severe dishonesty of our mainstream media on all sorts of controversial topics, I began telling a joke to a few of my friends. Suppose, I would say, that I happened to be out walking one pleasant afternoon in Palo Alto, and suddenly heard a gigantic... Read More
Over the last few decades, I doubt that any American political organization has received greater negative attention in our national news and entertainment media than the Ku Klux Klan, or KKK. For example, although white activist David Duke left that group over 35 years ago, the media still often identifies him as one of its... Read More
A year or two ago, I saw the much-touted science fiction film Interstellar, and although the plot wasn't any good, one early scene was quite amusing. For various reasons, the American government of the future claimed that our Moon Landings of the late 1960s had been faked, a trick aimed at winning the Cold War... Read More
About a decade ago I'd gotten a little friendly with the late Alexander Cockburn, one of America's premier radical journalists and the founder of Counterpunch, a leading leftist webzine. With virtually all of America's mainstream media outlets endlessly cheerleading for the total insanity of our Iraq War, Counterpunch was a port in the storm, and... Read More
During the long Cold War many Russians grew sufficiently disenchanted with the lies and omissions of their own news outlets that they turned to Western radio for a glimpse of the truth. The growth of the Internet has now provided Americans with a similar opportunity to click on a foreign website and discover the important... Read More
Several years ago, my articles advocating a large hike in the minimum wage caught the attention of James Galbraith, the prominent liberal economist, and we became a little friendly. As president of Economists for Peace and Security, he invited me to speak on those issues at his DC conference in late 2013. And after the... Read More
To recast a famous philosophical conundrum, what would happen if hundreds of thousands of Americans died, but the media never reported that calamity? I spend hours each morning closely reading the print editions of my daily newspapers, and for over a decade that question has seemed real rather than merely hypothetical. The reason may be... Read More
The Best Picture winner at this year's Academy Awards was Spotlight, which seemed an excellent choice to me. That powerful ensemble performance showed a handful of daring investigative reporters at The Boston Globe taking on the political and cultural establishment of their city, breaking the story of how the Catholic Church had long shielded its... Read More
Last week America suffered the loss of Sydney Schanberg, widely regarded as one of the greatest journalists of his generation. Yet as I'd previously noted, when I read his long and glowing obituary in the New York Times, I was shocked to see that it included not a single word concerning the greatest story of... Read More
The death on Saturday of Sydney Schanberg at age 82 should sadden us not only for the loss of one of our most renowned journalists but also for what his story reveals about the nature of our national media. Syd had made his career at the New York Times for 26 years, winning a Pulitzer... Read More
Although the memory has faded in recent years, during much of the second half of the twentieth century the name “Tokyo Rose” ranked very high in our popular consciousness, probably second only to “Benedict Arnold” as a byword for American treachery during wartime. The story of Iva Ikuko Toguri, the young Japanese-American woman who spent... Read More
When a small publication such as The American Conservative publishes a sharp attack against the mainstream media as I recently did in American Pravda, the ultimate result largely depends upon whether that selfsame media will take any notice. Many tens or even low hundreds of thousands may read a highly popular article online, but such... Read More
For years futurists have been regularly prophesizing that the power of the Internet will level the playing field between the mighty and the weak, and one more nugget of evidence that this day is finally dawning has now come to my attention. A few days ago my regular Google sweeps discovered that a website called... Read More
As I often tell people, there seems a totally unpredictable, even random aspect to major American media coverage. Whether a scandal explodes into the public eye or escapes without notice seems difficult to foretell. Consider the recent example of Dr. Jason Richwine, late of the Heritage Foundation, whose ideological travails became one of Washington’s major... Read More
The early reaction to my “American Pravda” article has been quite encouraging, with the piece attracting more traffic during its first week than nearly any of my others and with several websites discussing, excerpting, or even republishing it. Furthermore, the average time spent on the page by readers steadily rose to nearly a full hour... Read More
In mid-March, the Wall Street Journal carried a long discussion of the origins of the Bretton Woods system, the international financial framework that governed the Western world for decades after World War II. A photo showed the two individuals who negotiated that agreement. Britain was represented by John Maynard Keynes, a towering economic figure of... Read More
The recent publication of the fourth long volume of Robert Caro's biography of Lyndon Johnson demonstrates how much even the relatively recent printed past has almost totally disappeared from current consciousness. Consider the 1958-1964 period covered by Caro's current narrative, an era which might reasonably be called the political peak of Cold War liberalism, in... Read More
I've recently released a website providing convenient access to the digitized archives of a wide range of periodicals from the last two centuries, most of which have never before been available outside the dusty shelves of research libraries. Although many of these are generally conservative or rightwing, such as The American Mercury or Social Justice,... Read More
Six days ago, we released our cover story presenting Sydney Schanberg’s stunning account of the American abandonment of hundreds of POWs in Vietnam, their presumed later death at Communist hands, and the decades-long governmental cover-up which thereafter ensued. Since that time, hundreds of websites have reprinted the articles in our symposium or otherwise discussed the... Read More
The current issue of The American Conservative contains a symposium discussing the quite remarkable media silence surrounding the Vietnam POW research of Sydney Schanberg. Schanberg, a Pulitzer-Prize winning former New York Times reporter and editor, has published extensively documented evidence that many hundreds of American POWs were abandoned in Vietnam after the end of America’s... Read More
In the closing days of the 2008 presidential campaign, I clicked an ambiguous link on an obscure website and stumbled into a parallel universe. During the previous two years of that long election cycle, the media narrative surrounding Sen. John McCain had been one of unblemished heroism and selfless devotion to his fellow servicemen. Thousands... Read More
War Crimes vs. Thought Crimes by Ron Unz National Review Online, Friday, May 4, 2001 Former Senator Bob Kerrey is fortunate indeed that the charges recently leveled against him are merely that he committed war crimes and not any far more devastating accusations of thought crimes. Serving as president of the impeccably left- liberal New... Read More
The true chronology of the Pentekontaetia is difficult, perhaps impossible, to establish conclusively. The events between 477 and 432 were of the greatest possible importance: these years saw the creation of the Athenian empire and a precipitious decline in Spartiate manpower, drastic political realignments involving nearly every state in Hellas, and military activity often rising... Read More
Regarding the chronology and events of the Elean War, fought between Sparta and Elis ca 400 B.C., our sources are in notorious disagreement. Xenophon's account (and that of Pausanias, which ultimately derives from it) appears to differ irreconcilably from that of Diodorus. A resolution of this crux is desirable for its own sake, but even... Read More
Our knowledge of the early life of Alexander the Great is based upon very slender literary evidence.[*] Arrian devotes only a few sentences to the years prior to Alexander's campaigns. Plutarch's coverage of Alexander's youth is also very condensed, and both he and Arrian rely almost exclusively upon pro-Alexander sources such as Ptolemy and Aristoboulos.... Read More
In their attempts to understand the tribute income of the First Athenian Empire, historians have found that an unimpeachable contemporary source is challenged by undeniable physical evidence: explicit statements of Thucydides are directly contradicted by the epigraphical record of the quotas paid to Athena on the tribute collected by Athens. This paper proposes a new... Read More
The Spartan Naval Empire, 412-394 B.C. (PDF) by Ron Keeva Unz Unpublished, Harvard University/Ernst Badian, March 23, 1982 In the summer of 478 B.C., Sparta abandoned her first attempt at naval empire. Spartans had had no history of naval excellence, but the overwhelming prestige of Sparta’s land forces and her place at the head of... Read More
A theoretical physicist by training, Mr. Unz serves as founder and chairman of UNZ.org, a content-archiving website providing free access to many hundreds of thousands of articles from prominent periodicals of the last hundred and fifty years. From 2007 to 2013, he also served as publisher of The American Conservative, a small opinion magazine, and had previously served as chairman of Wall Street Analytics, Inc., a financial services software company which he founded in New York City in 1987. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Harvard University, Cambridge University, and Stanford University, and is a past first-place winner in the Intel/Westinghouse Science Talent Search. He was born in Los Angeles in 1961.
He has long been deeply interested in public policy issues, and his writings on issues of immigration, race, ethnicity, and social policy have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, The Nation, and numerous other publications.
In 1994, he launched a surprise Republican primary challenge to incumbent Gov. Pete Wilson of California, running on a conservative, pro-immigrant platform against the prevailing political sentiment, and received 34% of the vote. Later that year, he campaigned as a leading opponent of Prop. 187, the anti-immigration initiative, and was a top featured speaker at a 70,000 person pro-immigrant march in Los Angeles, the largest political rally in California history to that date.
In 1997, Mr. Unz began his “English for the Children” initiative campaign to dismantle bilingual education in California. He drafted Prop. 227 and led the campaign to qualify and pass the measure, culminating in a landslide 61% victory in June 1998, effectively eliminating over one-third of America’s bilingual programs. Within less than three years of the new English immersion curriculum, the mean percentile test scores of over a million immigrant students in California rose by an average of 70%. He later organized and led similar initiative campaigns in other states, winning with 63% in the 2000 Arizona vote and a remarkable 68% in the 2002 Massachusetts vote without spending a single dollar on advertising.
After spending most of the 2000s focused on software projects, he has recently become much more active in his public policy writings, most of which had appeared in his own magazine.