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A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
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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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As a software developer and company co-founder who has lived in Palo Alto since the early 1990s, I understand the extraordinarily important contribution that immigrants have made to our technology industry over the last half century and the crucial role they play in maintaining American competitiveness. I've found it unfortunate that for years top Silicon... Read More
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Schools like Harvard have become tax-exempt hedge funds with huge returns. Ending tuition would be a form of payback.
Although Harvard is widely known as one of America's oldest and most prestigious colleges, that public image is outdated. Over the last couple of decades, the university has transformed itself into one of the world's largest hedge-funds, with the huge profits of its aggressively managed $36 billion portfolio shielded from taxes because of the educational... Read More
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Raising the Minimum Wage to $12 an Hour
During the 1950s peak of America’s post-war prosperity, Detroit was our wealthiest city, General Motors our biggest employer, and GM CEO “Engine Charlie” Wilson delivered the famously misquoted claim that “what was good for our country was good for General Motors, and vice-versa.” Times have changed. These days retail giant Wal-Mart is our largest corporation,... Read More
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Millions of California immigrants work in low-wage service industries. They would be among the greatest beneficiaries of our ballot initiative to raise the state minimum wage to $12 per hour. Latinos, many of whom come from a relatively recent immigrant background, would gain the most. The data shows that around half of all Latino wage-earners... Read More
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Lifting Our State Above Mississippi and Alabama
California is home to both Silicon Valley and Hollywood, two of the world's greatest wealth-producing engines, and much of the state enjoys tremendous affluence. By some estimates, my own town of Palo Alto has the world's highest per capita concentration of billionaires. But California also has pockets of enormous poverty. The U.S. Census recently estimated... Read More
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From Making Low Wages Livable - A Symposium in The New York Times Tens of millions of low-wage workers in the United States are trapped in lives of poverty. Many suggestions have been put forth to improve their difficult situation, ranging from new social welfare programs to enhanced adult education to greater unionization. But I... Read More
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Congress is currently considering bipartisan legislation providing an amnesty for America’s 11 million illegal immigrants, probably combined with extra visas for skilled workers and an agricultural guestworker program. But principled liberals and conservatives should both demand that any immigration reform proposal also include a sharp rise in the federal minimum wage. The reason is simple.... 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
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Have three decades of Supreme Court support for affirmative action been based on fraud?
For almost 35 years, college-admissions decisions in America have been governed by the continuing legacy of University of California v. Bakke, in which a fragmented U.S. Supreme Court struck down the use of racial quotas but affirmed the legitimacy of considering race as one factor among several. The justices are now revisiting these crucial national... Read More
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Just as their predecessors of the 1920s always denied the existence of "Jewish quotas," top officials at Harvard, Yale, Princeton and the other Ivy League schools today strongly deny the existence of "Asian quotas." But there exists powerful statistical evidence to the contrary. Each year, American universities provide their racial enrollment data to the National... 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.
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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
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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
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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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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
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What the facts tell us about a taboo subject
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
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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
In contrasting China and America, pundits often cite our free and independent media as one of our greatest strengths, together with the tremendous importance which our society places upon individual American lives. For us, a single wrongful death can sometimes provoke weeks of massive media coverage and galvanize the nation into corrective action, while life... Read More
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Which superpower is more threatened by its “extractive elites”?
The rise of China surely ranks among the most important world developments of the last 100 years. With America still trapped in its fifth year of economic hardship, and the Chinese economy poised to surpass our own before the end of this decade, China looms very large on the horizon. We are living in the... 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
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Hundreds of POWs may have been left to die in Vietnam, abandoned by their government—and our media.
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
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Talk TV sensationalists and axe-grinding ideologues have fallen for a myth of immigrant lawlessness.
According to Lou Dobbs, “a third of the prison population in this country is estimated to be illegal aliens,” and Glenn Beck regularly warns of “an illegal alien crime wave.” Congressman Tom Tancredo insists, “The face of illegal immigration on our borders is one of murder, one of drug smuggling, one of vandalism for all... Read More
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While other top brass played press agents for the administration’s war, William Odom told the truth about Iraq—though few listened.
Much as the capital loves ceremony, Washington won’t pause on Sept. 8 when Lt. Gen. William Odom is laid to rest at Arlington Cemetery. While he is worthy of his laurels, he did not court the favor of the Beltway political class. Instead, he disdained their blindness to history, their partisan fixations, their herd mentality.... Read More
It's fair to say that when arguably the most liberal Democratic state in the U.S. has abandoned bilingual education, it is indeed an idea whose time has passed. In recent months, the home of Harvard and Michael Dukakis, and the only state that voted for George McGovern in 1972, is rediscovering the value of good... Read More
Amendment 31 would transform how students who don't speak English are educated in Colorado, requiring that they take special classes taught in English. Some of them currently are enrolled in programs in which they are instructed for a substantial part of the day in Spanish. Today's Roundtable debate features Ron Unz, a California entrepreneur who... Read More
PALO ALTO---Regulators looking at how stock options are accounted for have seen cause for concern. I see opportunity. It's true that when actual expenses don't appear on an operating statement it can make for some rude surprises--as at Enron and elsewhere. But faced with the worrisome risk of our economy falling into a double-dip recession,... Read More
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Any attempt to resolve the crisis in the Middle East forces us -- the American people and American Jewry -- to appraise the motives and the ultimate goals of the leaders involved. Endless disputes have raged over whether Yasser Arafat and the other Arab leaders merely seek a Palestinian state living peacefully alongside Israel or... Read More
As former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan gears up for his campaign to challenge Gov. Gray Davis, he faces some serious obstacles. First, no incumbent California governor has been defeated for a second term in 60 years, and Davis -- an experienced, somewhat ruthless campaigner with over $30 million in his war chest -- is... Read More
Dec. 6, 2001---In the wake of the Sept. 11th attacks, Americans are debating whether we should adopt ethnic profiling policies that may ensnare thousands of innocent people---Arabs and Muslims---in the government's net, in order to ferret out a relative handful of guilty individuals. All of America's long legal tradition argues to the contrary, but in... Read More
While most Americans have been transfixed by the terrifying prospect of massive deaths from anthrax or suicide bombers, a few in our society fear an even greater horror: the fanatic defenders of Spanish-almost-always instruction see their doom in an "English" initiative heading toward the November 2002 Massachusetts ballot. Although the vote on "English" is over... Read More
Just a few years ago, congressional Republicans overwhelmingly supported proposals to expel a million or more Hispanic children from American public schools. Now, perhaps in a misguided attempt to expiate that political sin, the Republican-controlled Senate has voted by an overwhelming two-to-one margin to quadruple the federal budget for Spanish-only bilingual education programs, largely aimed... Read More
Given the landslide victories of ballot measures to dismantle bilingual education in California and Arizona, national media coverage of the dramatic rise in subsequent test scores, and the growing possibility of similar efforts in Colorado and New York City, it is hardly surprising that Congress would consider inserting bilingual-education reform into its omnibus package of... Read More
PALO ALTO, Calif.---In 1974, the New York City Board of Education signed a federal consent decree with Aspira, a Hispanic education and advocacy group, requiring that students who speak limited English be taught almost exclusively in their native languages. Today, this decree requiring bilingual education still governs the schooling of some 170,000 students in the... 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
Some kind of conservative
In recent years, Republicans have regularly charged that liberal Democrats tend only to enforce those laws that they support and ignore those laws they regard as misguided. Although the evidence for this criticism is mixed at best, demands for reestablishing the "Rule of Law" have become a staple of partisan Republican attacks on an allegedly... 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
It’s past time for New York to scrap bilingual ed
In June 1998, Californians overwhelmingly approved Proposition 227, the controversial ballot initiative that replaced the state’s bilingual-ed system with English-immersion classes. No more would California’s public schools force non-English-speaking immigrant kits to take their courses in their native tongue, guaranteeing that few would ever gain the proficiency in English they need to get ahead in... 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
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
Today, on the important issue of whether immigrant children should be taught English in American schools, the Republican party is in danger of having won the war but lost the peace. For nearly thirty years, the Republican Party has been on record as opposing so-called bilingual-education programs, which all too often amount to Spanish-only instruction... Read More
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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
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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
John McCain's victory in Michigan was impressive, but he would have lost badly if not for the crossover votes of Democrats and independents. The crucial March 7 primaries in California and New York are both closed to non- Republicans, so Mr. McCain must now concentrate on winning GOP votes. One issue can win him the... 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
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
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The unprecedented racial transformation of California and its political consequences.
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
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
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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