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The major media overlooked Communist spies and Madoff’s fraud. What are they missing today?
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
Last year I published Race, IQ, and Wealth, presenting the overwhelming evidence that group IQs were far more malleable and shaped by social influences than is widely acknowledged in many quarters. The result was a lengthy and ferocious Internet debate, including an overwhelmingly negative and even hostile response to my suggestions, mostly by bloggers who... 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
Salon just published my piece pointing out the crucial importance of including a large rise in the federal minimum wage in the current immigration legislation: No Immigration Amnesty Without a Minimum Wage Hike Salon, May 18, 2013 Congress is currently considering bipartisan legislation providing an amnesty for America’s 11 million illegal immigrants, probably combined with... 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
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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
For a combination of demographic and ideological reasons few topics in American public life are more explosive than those involving race. Racial factors obviously underlie a wide range of major public policy issues yet are almost always ignored by nearly all participants. However, every now and then a careless statement or uncovered document will suddenly... 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
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
With all eyes and all headlines fixed so intently upon Boston’s two Caucasian Bombers, hardly anyone has been paying attention to revelations of a far more devastating disaster that unfolded close nearby, but which were generally buried on the inside pages of our major newspapers. I refer, of course, to the Harvard Spreadsheet Glitch, the... Read More
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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
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
The season of college admissions is now upon us, weeks of envelopes fat and thin. With so many teenagers now discovering their future life-prospects as dealt out by our academic gatekeepers, discussions of the selection process are appearing in our media, and some of these include reference to my own Meritocracy article of almost five... Read More
Developments of enormous consequence sometimes follow the most mundane of motives. During the mid-1990s, the giant Disney Corporation became concerned that its 1928 copyright on Mickey Mouse was close to expiration. Deploying heavy lobbying efforts, it persuaded Congress to pass and President Bill Clinton to sign what was officially entitled the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright... 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
My Friday Aspen Institute panel in DC on raising the minimum wage went well, though the discussion underscored the somewhat insular thinking of many of the policy elites who dominate life in our capital city. As an example, although the audience and participants skewed heavily toward the “economic left,” several individuals mentioned how surprised they... Read More
About the only detailed public criticism of my Meritocracy article by an academic has come from Prof. Janet Mertz, a Wisconsin cancer researcher. Since her analysis draws so heavily upon her own 2008 academic paper on top performing math students, I decided that paper warranted a close examination. The primary focus of her article was... Read More
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A thousand years of meritocracy shaped the Middle Kingdom.
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
Several years ago, Harvard President Larry Summers spoke at an academic conference on diversity issues, and casually speculated that one of the possible reasons there were relatively few female mathematics professors might be that men were just a bit better at math than women. Although his remarks were private and informal, the massive national scandal... 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
For reasons best known to himself, Columbia University statistics professor Andrew Gelman has now seen fit to publish his sixth(!) lengthy blogsite column discussing or sharply critiquing my analysis of Ivy League university admissions. Just like most of his previous ones, he seeks to rebut my particular claim that there is a highly suspicious degree... Read More
The front page of this morning’s New York Times carried a story highlighting the growing discontent of working-class Americans whose “wages have floundered” over the last few years despite the “record levels” of corporate profits. Although this discontent may seem somewhat mysterious to many American politicians, who spend their time closely cosseted with affluent lobbyists... Read More
In publishing a 30,000 word article covering such a broad range of complex and controversial topics, I was certain that my work would necessarily contain at least a few factual errors or omissions. The hundreds of individuals examining my material over the last three months have located several, and being from an academic background, I... Read More
One noticeable disappointment in the ongoing discussion of my Meritocracy article has been the relative lack of critical commentary. Both my previous Hispanic Crime and Race/IQ series had unleashed vast outpouring of harsh attacks, thereby assisting me in sharpening and refining my analysis. But I think that so far the overwhelming majority of the many... 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
I just returned from attending a couple of events at Yale University, all in connection with the controversial issues raised by my Meritocracy article. On Tuesday, I participated in a large public debate organized by the Yale Political Union on the somewhat related question of whether Affirmative Action on college admissions should be ended. The... Read More
As all writers know, a good title should be both descriptive and provocative, and both these considerations certainly apply to Russell Nieli's very detailed 2200 word review of my Meritocracy article "Asians as the New Jews, Jews as the New WASPs," recently published on Minding the Campus, a prominent education-oriented webzine affiliated with The Manhattan... Read More
Although my Meritocracy article focused primarily on public policy issues---the admissions systems of our elite academic institutions---it necessarily touched on some scientific ones as well. Therefore, it is quite heartening to see that a detailed 1500 word summary and discussion of the piece has now been published by the Genetic Literary Project, affiliated with George... Read More
As I had previously mentioned, the length and range of topics covered in my Meritocracy package resulted in a wide dispersion of responses, many of which seemed to contain almost no overlap in their discussions. Just as in the fable of the Blind Men and the Elephant, a casual reader might almost assume that the... Read More
Doing so would be just as arbitrary as college admissions at present
Given the enormous length of my Meritocracy package---over 35,000 words including sidebar, endnotes, and appendices---it’s hardly surprising that certain parts have received a great deal of discussion, while others have not. For example, my suggestion that our top universities now operated more as hedge-funds than as educational institutions was widely distributed and discussed, as was... Read More
Late Monday night I received a most remarkable and unexpected Christmas present delivered straight from august offices of the New York Times, as David Brooks, one of America's most prominent center-right journalists, named my recent piece "The Myth of American Meritocracy" as one of the winners of his annual Sidney Awards for outstanding articles of... Read More
The New York Times, America's national newspaper of record, has published a forum debating the existence of Asian-American quotas in the Ivy League. My own contribution, drawn from my recent article The Myth of American Meritocracy, focused on the statistical evidence: Statistics Indicate an Ivy League Asian Quota Ron Unz, The New York Times, December... Read More
The reaction to my long Meritocracy cover story followed a very unusual pattern. On the one hand, the piece received just a fraction of the major links and web discussions which several of my previous articles have attracted, and many of these seemed curiously abbreviated or oblique, sometimes describing my article as being quite important... Read More
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Harvard's academic mission is dwarfed by its $30 billion endowment.
From its 1636 foundation Harvard had always ranked as America’s oldest and most prestigious college, even as it gradually grew in size and academic quality during the first three centuries of its existence. The widespread destruction brought about by the Second World War laid low its traditional European rivals, and not long after celebrating its... Read More
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Are elite university admissions based on meritocracy and diversity as claimed?
Just before the Labor Day weekend, a front page New York Times story broke the news of the largest cheating scandal in Harvard University history, in which nearly half the students taking a Government course on the role of Congress had plagiarized or otherwise illegally collaborated on their final exam.[1] Each year, Harvard admits just... Read More
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A simple remedy for income stagnation
With Americans still trapped in the fifth year of our Great Recession, and median personal income having been essentially stagnant for forty years, perhaps we should finally admit that decades of economic policies have largely failed.
The surprisingly wide national victory of President Barack Obama over his Republican challenger has occasioned quite a lot of political second-guessing, including among the GOP donors who contributed well over one billion dollars in cash to their candidate, only to be crushed on Election Day despite record-high national unemployment. To reverse JFK's famous phrase, it... 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
With my long sequence of articles and columns on Race/IQ having now apparently wound to a close, I thought I'd provide a full collection of the entire series and accompanying debate for convenient future access, not least for myself. Running almost a dozen separate items across nine weeks and totalling some 23,000 words, the pieces... 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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Climate change is a cycle—of faddish opinions
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
Although we hear endless complaints about the overly rich compensation of our corporate elite, the front page of this morning's New York Times Business Section provided a glowing portrait of an obvious exception to this pattern, namely Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman, whose 2010 compensation of $84.5 million had outranked that of every other corporate executive... Read More
Although the vast majority of the angry responses greeting my Race/IQ article focused on a few of the ethnicities I had examined---Irish, Mexicans, Italians---my coverage had actually been quite broad, and I presented a large number of IQ gaps whose existence seemed inexplicible from a strictly genetic perspective. Indeed, the first example I cited was... Read More
Determining American reality is sometimes difficult due to the flaws of government statistics, with the contentious subject of race and crime being a perfect example. The FBI publishes a Uniform Crime Report, providing a vast quantity of public data on crime and arrest statistics, including the recorded race of offenders. Anyone interested in learning the... Read More
Although the claims regarding Irish IQ had unexpectedly attracted so many of the angry attacks on my recent Race/IQ series, it seemed quite obvious to me that this represented merely a stalking-horse for the related question of Mexican IQ. In my original article, I had pointed out that up to the early 1970s, both Mexicans... 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
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
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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
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
The major media overlooked Communist spies and Madoff’s fraud. What are they missing today?
The unspoken statistical reality of urban crime over the last quarter century.
What the facts tell us about a taboo subject