The letters column of the Sunday New York Times Book Review carried a sharp attack on Nicholas Wade's best-selling new book A Troublesome Inheritance by several individuals, organizers of a denunciatory public statement that they had persuaded some 139 prominent genetic scientists to sign. Although these signatories may be credible experts in their own scientific... Read More
Although my own academic background is in theoretical physics, I’m the first to admit that field seems in the doldrums these days compared with human evolutionary biology. The greatest physics discoveries of the last couple of years---the Higgs Boson and strong evidence for Cosmological Inflation---merely confirm the well-established beliefs that physicists have had since before... Read More
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
The notion of a Gay Germ---homosexuality transmitted as some sort of infection---probably horrifies many mainstream intellectuals unfamiliar with the details of modern evolutionary biology. Therefore, it is perhaps unsurprising that my recent column discussing that subject quickly provoked a striking example of Internet censorship. But the circumstances were different than people might naively expect. Most... Read More
The twists of intellectual fashion in our society are often quite peculiar, especially when “touchy” topics are involved. Consider, for example, the analysis of human behavior. Whatever most people may privately believe or say, the vocal academics and activists who control the commanding ideological heights of our media tend to claim that people act as... Read More
As an individual who often regrets his decades-old defection from the academic community, I was remarkably pleased to see anthropologist Peter Frost very generously discuss my recent China article under the rubric “the Clark-Unz Model.” The senior researcher identified is obviously economist Gregory Clark, whose influential 2007 book A Farewell to Alms had suggested a... Read More
In modern American society, few terms carry the negative and socially disreputable ring of “eugenics,” first coined by Darwin's cousin Francis Galton and later widely advocated by Margaret Sanger, America’s founding mother of birth control and abortion. Denouncing one’s opponents as eugenicists has become a mainstay of political rhetoric across both the Left and Right,... Read More
During the three decades following Deng Xiaoping’s 1978 reforms, China achieved the fastest sustained rate of economic growth in human history, with the resulting 40-fold rise in the size of China’s economy leaving it poised to surpass America’s as the largest in the world. A billion ordinary Han Chinese have lifted themselves economically from oxen... Read More
I first encountered the strong case for global warming in the early 1970s in an Isaac Asimov science column. As an elementary school student, I merely nodded my head, assumed that America’s political leadership would address the danger, and moved on to an explanation of quarks. Even in those days, the subject was hardly new.... Read More
As people are probably aware, I've recently written a few articles and subsequently participated in various Internet discussions. But for most of the last decade, stretching back well into the 2000s, my time was largely absorbed by a major software project, namely the creation of the UNZ.org content-archiving system. This system, although somewhat crude and... Read More
In “Race, IQ, and Wealth,” I examined the pattern of IQ scores for various European peoples as presented by Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen in IQ and the Wealth of Nations and noted the considerable evidence for a large socio-economic influence. In nearly all cases, impoverished, rural populations seemed to exhibit far lower IQ scores... Read More
At the end of April, Charles Kenny, a former World Bank economist specializing in international development, published a blistering attack in Foreign Policy entitled “Dumb and Dumber,” with the accusatory subtitle “Are development experts becoming racists?” Kenny charged that a growing number of development economists were turning towards genetic and other intrinsic human traits as... 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
The general debate: http://www.reason.com/bioresearch/bioresearch.html First, we should realize that a "clone" is simply the scientific name for an identical twin, which has been a rare though perfectly natural part of humanity since long before civilization began. I am not aware of any nation in history that has ever denied such twins their equal rights under... Read More
Long, long ago, before the events of September 11th eclipsed all national issues other than terrorism, public policy pundits had seen fit to focus some of their attention on whether or not Congress should ban research into cloning. Several prominent conservative intellectuals, including William Kristol and Francis Fukuyama, circulated a draft petition supporting such a... Read More
In late December, the cover of the conservative American Spectator featured the caricature of a confused-looking monkey. Perhaps to the surprise of many subscribers, the focus of the entire issue was a fierce denunciation of the Darwinian theory of evolution. The fundamental kinship of hamsters and Hammurabi---a settled part of the high school science curriculum... Read More
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
In late December, I happened to notice a caricature of a confused looking monkey on the cover of the American Spectator, a prominent conservative magazine recently come under new ownership. To my horror, the lengthy cover story, with associated articles, contained a strong denunciation of Darwinian evolution and advocated support for a version of "scientific"... Read More
VOICES OF OUR TIME: Q: From your perspective, what have been some of the most important developments of the 20th century, and how will the world be different 100 years from now? Over the past four or five years, the Internet has exploded from an obscure scientific tool to omnipresence in our society. Any process... Read More
Path Integration and the Functional Measure (PDF) by R.K. Unz Il Nuovo Cimento, October 1985, pp. 397-426 Summary. - The functional measure for the Feynman path integral is investigated, and it is argued that nontrivial measure factors should not be automatically discarded as is often done. The fundamental hypothesis of path integration is stated in... Read More
Unorthodox curvature interactions, black holes, and inflation (PDF) by Ron K. Unz Physical Review D, December 15, 1984, pp. 2521-2527 The coupling of other fields to gravity is not uniquely determined if one removes the requirement that such interactions maintain gauge invariance. This paper discusses the possible consequences of such non-gauge-invariant couplings to gravity, and... Read More
Social Darwinism and Rural China by Ron K. Unz Preliminary notes on the possible sociobiological implications of the rural Chinese political economy Unpublished, Harvard University/E.O. Wilson, April 1980 April 1983 February 2011 Discussion Sociobiological implications of the (historical) rural Chinese economy? by Steve Hsu Information Processing, February 16, 2011 Ron Unz on the Evolution 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.