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
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION. Immigration. Bilingual education. Over the past few years, these issues and broader matters of ethnic politics have become the stuff of nightmares for Republican candidates around the country. On the one hand, ethnic issues are tremendously important to the future well-being of our large and diverse society. They are the hottest of hot... Read More
Responses to The End of White America by Sean Walsh, James W. Wilson, Mark Krikorian, Fred C. Ikle, Edward Blum, Arthur Kruger, Jay P. Greene, Hal Netkin, and Jared Taylor, with reply by Ron Unz. TO THE EDITOR: Readers of COMMENTARY who are not knowledgeable about the events surrounding the passage of three important ballot... Read More
SUMMARY Californians of European ancestry---"whites"---became a minority near the end of the 1980s, and this unprecedented ethnic transformation is probably responsible for the rise of a series of ethnically-charged political issues such as immigration, affirmative action, and bilingual education, as seen in Propositions 187, 209, and 227. Since America as a whole is undergoing the... Read More
Republican leaders, worried about their party's lack of success among ethnic minorities, are reaching for just the wrong remedy. The GOP, they say, should stress symbolic ethnic outreach, while downplaying its principled opposition to affirmative action, bilingual education, and multiculturalism. As a result, "diversity" is now a watchword in GOP candidate selection, choice of convention... Read More
With the victory of Washington state's Initiative 200, which ends affirmative action in government hiring, contracting and education, supporters of racial preferences have asked us to imagine an America in which members of some ethnic groups are virtually excluded not only from state university campuses but elite institutions in general. But no imagination is actually... Read More
During this past year of heated political battle on the affirmative action front, liberal defenders of continued ethnic preference programs---from President Clinton to Jesse Jackson and beyond---have repeatedly suggested compromises prohibiting "unqualified" individuals from receiving such benefits. Many observers---myself included---had long regarded such arguments as specious, being based on a mixture of cynicism and semantics:... Read More
It is astonishing that William McGowan's article on the roots of the bloody civil war in Sri Lanka ("Mythconceptions," June 7) nowhere mentions the words "affirmative action." Yet government "set-asides" to Sinhalese businessman, preferential promotions of Sinhalese in the government bureaucracy and the "race-norming" of test scores for university admissions between the "underrepresented" Sinhalese and... 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.