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Ideology

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A couple of years ago, I launched my Unz Review, providing a wide range of different alternative perspectives, the vast majority of them totally excluded from the mainstream media. I've also published a number of articles in my own American Pravda series, focusing on the suspicious lapses and lacunae in our media narratives. The underlying... Read More
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An alliance of pro-immigrant Democrats and anti-immigration Republicans could finally fix our broken system
From everything I've heard Swedes seem like very pleasant people, rather agreeable to have around, while my personal experience with Mexicans leads me to a similar conclusion. But suppose so many millions of Swedes poured across the borders into our southern neighbor that within just a few decades Mexico City had become majority Swedish, while... Read More
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When I'm driving, my car radio is invariably tuned to KOIT, the leading "easy listening" station in the San Francisco Bay area. My tastes are humdrum and unsophisticated, so the songs merely provide some pleasant background music, occasionally punctuated by commercial ads, mostly annoying but occasionally amusing. One of the better ones began running only... Read More
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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
Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman.  Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons
For months the business headlines of America's leading media outlets have been charting the looming downfall of Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman, now on the verge of losing control of his enormous media company to Shari Redstone, the once-estranged daughter of controlling shareholder Sumner Redstone. Just a few years ago, he was America's highest-paid chief executive,... Read More
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Twenty years ago, California public schools were forcing thousands of Latino children into Spanish-almost-only classes against the wishes of their parents. In 1996, The Los Angeles Times told the story of a group of Latino immigrant parents who began a public protest against their local elementary school for refusing to teach their children English, boycotting... Read More
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Keeping English, Raising the Minimum Wage, Fixing Immigration
I'm willing to take clear stands on issues, including some controversial ones, regardless of ideology or political orientation. Maybe you'll agree with me and maybe you'll disagree with me, but at least you'll know what I a U.S. Senator, I'll carefully listen to both sides of every issue, do my own research, and support the... Read More
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I appreciate that the Crimson has afforded denied me an opportunity to reply to their highly misleading article of the 14th, featuring the particularly lurid headline "Overseers Candidate Donates to 'Quasi-White Nationalist' Group," and supposedly documenting my links to various rightwing extremists. Coming at the peak of alumni voting, such unfair accusations have the potential... Read More
Victory Night for Prop. 227 in 1998. Credit: Chris Pizzello/AP
As some of you may have already heard, a few days ago I made a last-minute decision to enter the U.S. Senate race for the seat of retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer in California. I took out my official papers early Monday morning and returned them with the necessary 65 signatures of registered voters on Wednesday... Read More
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Over the last few months I've been much too preoccupied with my Harvard University Overseer project to pay much attention to the unfolding saga of the presidential race; I've closely read my morning newspapers as I always do, but not watched a single one of the endless debates. Still, even out of the corner of... Read More
As many of you already know, I recently launched the "Free Harvard/Fair Harvard" campaign, aimed at electing a slate of five candidates to the Harvard Board of Overseers on a platform of (1) increasing the transparency of today's opaque and abuse-ridden admissions process and (2) immediately eliminating undergraduate tuition as being unnecessary given the huge... Read More
Last week I noted in a column that the California Republicans in the Education Committee of the State Senate had joined an 8-to-0 vote to repeal Proposition 227 and restore Spanish-almost-only “bilingual education” in our schools. The academic performance of over a million immigrant student had doubled in the four years following the implementation of... Read More
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After almost seventeen years history may be about to repeat itself in California politics, though perhaps with a strong element of farce. Late last week, the Senate Education Committee voted 8-to-0 to place a measure on the November 2016 ballot repealing Prop. 227 and restoring “bilingual education” in California public schools. The long-dormant Language Wars... Read More
An important story ran Saturday ran in the Los Angeles Times: Bid to hike L.A. minimum wage gets pair of powerful backers As the L.A. City Council examines the 'living wage' issue, philanthropist Eli Broad and developer Rick Caruso say they support a higher minimum wage. James Rainey, The Los Angeles Times, March 1, 2014... Read More
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Our media naturally tends to cover stories that are surprising or unexpected far more than boringly routine ones, and this has certainly been a central aspect of my ongoing initiative campaign to raise the California minimum wage to $12 per hour, the highest rate in America. Labor unions and some prominent liberals have promoted minimum... Read More
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Over the last couple of months the minimum wage has moved into the political headlines, but most of the arguments for raising it have come from liberals. That’s fine, but since I’m not a liberal, I’d rather focus on the conservative reasons for supporting a much higher minimum wage, which are just as compelling. Cutting... Read More
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In my last column I had noted that the national debate over poverty and inequality had drawn a peculiar response from mainstream conservatives. Whereas liberals advocated making work pay by raising the minimum wage, their conservative counterparts proposed raising welfare payments instead. Sometimes this position was explicit, as when economist Martin Feldstein took to the... Read More
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As economic inequality and the plight of the working-poor have suddenly erupted as leading topics in the national debate, the proposed solution of a big minimum wage hike has evoked many varied reactions. On the Democratic side, the responses have been pretty much what one might expect. In recent decades, liberals had shied away from... Read More
As most readers have no doubt already heard, early last week I filed the text of an initiative that would raise California's minimum wage to $12.00 per hour, a figure far higher than that of any state or city in America. The heavy resulting coverage in The New York Times and numerous other major media... Read More
Credit: Intelligence Squared
Views change about massive immigration once both sides of the issue are heard
Last week I took a brief break from two months of concentrated software development effort on my new publication The Unz Review to travel to NYC for a debate on a hypothetical “Open Borders” proposal for private employment, one in a long series of such public events produced by Intelligence Squared. The event was carried... Read More
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Amid the fury over the ex-Heritage staffer's work the question to ask is: was he right?
Amid loud cries of “Witch! Witch! Burn the Witch!” an enraged throng of ideological activists and media pundits late last week besieged the fortress-like DC headquarters of the conservative Heritage Foundation, demanding the person of one Jason Richwine, Ph.D., employed there as a senior policy analyst. The High Lords of Heritage, deeply concerned about any... Read More
Given the unprecedented peace and prosperity currently enjoyed by nearly all Americans, it's hardly surprising that a symbolic issue such as Gay Marriage has now moved to the forefront of the public debate, not least among the contributors to my own magazine. Personally, it’s not the sort of issue that keeps me in a state... Read More
As many may know, I have spent most of the last decade or more producing a content-archiving website that provides convenient, readable access to over 500,000 print articles from the 19th and 20th centuries, together with hundreds of thousands of books. Most of these articles are drawn from what were once America’s leading journals of... Read More
Earlier this week Washington Post Columnist Matt Miller published an excellent piece making the case for a large increase in the federal minimum wage, including arguments drawn from a wide range of prominent business and political figures, as well as mention of my own recent New America article on that issue. Given the importance of... Read More
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How Los Angeles undercut its pathbreaking IHP project
In late September I attended a memorial service for William M. Fitz-Gibbon, a retired public school teacher who had passed away a few weeks earlier, just short of his 78th birthday. Without doubt Bill Fitz-Gibbon—“Fitz” to everyone—was the individual who had the greatest academic influence on my life, and my feelings were shared by many... Read More
Even as the front pages of America's top newspapers were debating the vital question of whether Obama's raised eyebrow had overcome Romney's clenched jaw, and which of our two ideologically-polar-opposite candidates was more sincere in his pledge of undying loyalty to Israel, a story of perhaps greater significance was reaching our shores from across the... Read More
The endless pace of change in our media landscape regularly plays tricks upon all of us. Many have seen the amusing web video in which a very young child repeatedly attempts to click or swipe the colorful pages of a magazine, before finally declaring it "broken" to his smiling father, who finally hands him an... Read More
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Remembering Alexander Cockburn (1941–2012)
I first encountered the writing of Alexander Cockburn in the early 1990s on the op-ed pages of the Wall Street Journal, where he served as a regular columnist. Given that Alex was one of the premier radical-left journalists of our era, this highlights the unique background of the man. Being myself then a rather moderate... Read More
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Romney owes his only win to English for the Children.
With Mitt Romney now the de facto Republican presidential nominee, I sometimes recall how I inadvertently launched his political career a decade ago, which is less implausible than it might sound. Unlike the vast majority of previous major-party presidential candidates, Romney has a remarkably slender record of election victories, having previously won just a single... Read More
Just a few days ago prominent liberal economist James K. Galbraith strongly endorsed the economic proposals at the heart of my recent immigration article, arguing they constituted the best chance for reviving the American economy. And now National Review's leading domestic policy analyst, Reihan Salam, has written a lengthy column discussing Galbraith's arguments and exploring... Read More
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The sources of America’s immigration problems—and a possible solution
Will mass immigration destroy the GOP? Can our middle-class society survive high immigration levels? Is there any political solution to our current immigration difficulties? Last June the U.S. Census disclosed that non-white births in America were on the verge of surpassing the white total and might do so as early as the end of this... Read More
Although I didn’t pay a great deal of attention to this particular election, a few results do seem a bit intriguing and indicative. According to the newspapers, well over $2 billion was spent by both parties, and of this national combined total almost 10%—perhaps approaching an astonishing $200 million—was spent by a single candidate, Republican... Read More
I must grudgingly concede that even those liberal, pinko wimps over at Paul Weyrich's Free Congress Foundation occasionally propose interesting notions, such as in the latest column by William S. Lind. Lind raises a fascinating, though extremely speculative point, namely that if the current trajectory in Iraq continues in linear fashion, political certainties may suddenly... Read More
Go ahead, spend lots of cash. You’ll still lose.
Yesterday, the National Association of Bilingual Educators concluded its 2001 annual national convention in Phoenix on a desperate note. According to a front-page story in the Arizona Republic, the 7,000 participants were beseeched to pony up millions of dollars to fight the forthcoming state-wide "English for the Children" campaigns in Colorado, Massachusetts, New York, and... Read More
Letter to the Editor
I was absolutely appalled by your current cover story attacking the Darwinian theory of evolution. I am a conservative. I support traditional social values and maintaining the crucial role of organized religion in our society. On most issues, I would probably be characterized as a strong social conservative. But I am a scientist first and... Read More
The Autumn issue of City Journal, a highly-regarded public policy quarterly published by the free-market Manhattan Institute, contained a fascinating conflict of visions. One short article by Sol Stern reiterated much of the standard case for educational vouchers, a mainstay of most free-market think tanks and conservative educational reformers. The piece correctly focused on growing... Read More
Letter to the Editor
I very much appreciated the excellent article by Howard Husock, describing the dreadful failure of our system of public housing vouchers. Mr. Husock convincingly suggests that an ideological fixation with naive "free market mechanisms" led conservatives to create a mammoth governmental program which has done little or nothing for the poor while seriously damaging portions... Read More
For the first time in living memory, California's entire diverse galaxy of campaign finance reform groups has united behind a single ballot measure campaign. Surprisingly, this reform grand alliance is actually aimed at defeating a campaign finance reform proposal--namely, Proposition 34, a measure placed on the November ballot by Gov. Gray Davis and the Democrats.... Read More
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The Golden State isn't too liberal for the GOP. Its leaders simply scared away immigrant voters
Just 10 years ago, California was a GOP bastion, regarded as the cornerstone of the Republican Electoral College "lock." The 1990 elections merely confirmed this impression, with the GOP winning its third gubernatorial race in a row, its fifth of seven. Two years earlier, the 1988 presidential race had marked the sixth straight California victory... Read More
Letter to the Editor
Samuel Francis (Principalities & Powers, April 2000) is correct in much of his analysis of the weaknesses of Gov. George W. Bush's political strategy for attracting Hispanic votes. He is also correct in debunking the endlessly repeated canard that Bush won 49 percent (rather than 39 percent) of the Texas Hispanic vote in his successful... Read More
In November, a turning point for U.S. education
Originally proposed by Economics Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman in 1955, educational vouchers and related types of school choice have increasingly become the main focus of conservative education- reformers, as attractive to parochial-school Christian conservatives as to free-market libertarians. In the past year, some prominent liberal journalists, such as Matt Miller writing in The Atlantic and... Read More
Letter to the Editor
I appreciated John Maggs' thoughtful article on ballot initiatives ("Ballot Boxing," 7/1/2000, p. 2144) but have a few comments. First, Peter Schrag's book on the harmful consequences of Proposition 13 in California claims that by limiting property taxes, that landmark measure resulted in decades of "disinvestment" in California's public schools, and their consequent decline; and... Read More
Here’s a paradox. A reasonably successful non-fiction public policy book may sell 15,000 to 30,000 copies, many, perhaps most of which will end up being unread. These numbers are absolutely negligible in a nation of almost 300 million, and are even dwarfed by the tens or hundreds of thousands who might read an op-ed in... Read More
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PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Tuesday's crushing defeat of a sweeping campaign finance measure in California thwarted reform in a state much in need of it. It also put the lie to the conventional wisdom that the Democratic Party is less opposed to campaign reform than the Republicans are. With absolutely no limits on the size... Read More
This past Wednesday, even as Democratic Presidential candidates Al Gore and Bill Bradley were debating in Los Angeles over which was the stronger supporter of campaign finance reform, the California Democratic Party was pouring $500,000 into the campaign to defeat the campaign finance reform measure---Prop. 25---on the same March 7th ballot. This should come as... Read More
Everyone agrees that the current campaign-finance system is dreadfully flawed, consisting as it does of a mishmash of contribution limits unadjusted for 25 years of inflation and a gigantic "soft money" loophole that has grown large enough to devour any and all financial restrictions. But the virtual defeat yesterday of the McCain-Feingold bill marks an... Read More
WITH THE DEFENSE of Marriage Act on California's March ballot, the subject of gay rights is likely to move to the forefront of the political debate. Already, many Democratic candidates are said to be desperate to avoid taking a position on this controversial measure while many Republicans wish that the issue would simply disappear. The... Read More
The reaction to last week's shooting massacre in Hawaii---among the worst in American history---indicates that our national gun control debate is driven less by reasoned analysis and more by political demagoguery. Gun control supporters who regularly urge tougher laws after each such shooting were forced into a quandary: Hawaii already has America's strictest gun laws... Read More
The flow of money to candidates and causes calls the idea of the people's best interests into question
There are many areas of the world where ordinary citizens suspect that their elections are for sale. But California is one of the few places where these purchases are publicly disclosed. Consider last November's Proposition 9, an initiative sponsored by consumer activists that would have slashed utility rates in the state. The utility companies spent... Read More
The recent release of campaign finance reports for the first half of 1999 has revealed a surprising fact: unlike its national counterpart, the California Republican Party has suddenly become the party of the poor. Early press accounts mostly emphasized the astonishing pace of Democratic Gov. Gray Davis’s post-election fund-raising, in which he racked up nearly... Read More
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RonUnz1
About Ron Unz

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.


Personal Classics
The unspoken statistical reality of urban crime over the last quarter century.
The major media overlooked Communist spies and Madoff’s fraud. What are they missing today?
What Was John McCain's True Wartime Record in Vietnam?
Are elite university admissions based on meritocracy and diversity as claimed?
A simple remedy for income stagnation
What the facts tell us about a taboo subject