Ron Unz

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Ron Unz
Born Ron Keeva Unz
(1961-09-20) September 20, 1961 (age 56)
North Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, United States
Alma mater Harvard University
University of Cambridge
Occupation Businessman, political activist, writer
Political party Republican Party

Ron Keeva Unz (born September 20, 1961) is a former businessman and political activist, best known for an unsuccessful race in 1994 for the governorship of California, and for sponsoring propositions promoting structured English immersion education. He was publisher of The American Conservative from March 2007 to August 2013.


Unz attended Harvard University, earning a bachelor of science in physics and ancient history.[1] He then went to the University of Cambridge and eventually to Stanford University to do doctoral work in theoretical physics, which he never completed. He was later awarded a master's degree by Stanford.[2][3]


Unz worked in the banking industry writing software for mortgage securities during his studies, and founded a company called Wall Street Analytics in Palo Alto, CA. In 2006 his company was acquired by the ratings firm Moody's.[4]


Unz made an unsuccessful bid for the Republican nomination for Governor of California in 1994. He received 707,431 votes (34.3 percent) in the primary race against the incumbent Pete Wilson, who won the primary with 1,266,832 votes (61.4 percent).[5]

Newspapers referred to Unz's candidacy as a Revenge of the Nerds and often quoted his claim of a 214 IQ.[6][7][8][9]

In 1994, Unz opposed California Proposition 187 to deny social services to illegal immigrants, passed by 58.8% of the voters but later overturned by a federal court.[10] Unz said at the time that "Silicon Valley ... is absolutely dependent upon immigrant professionals to maintain its technological edge. If they left or their future inflow were cut off, America's computer industry would probably go with them."[11]

In 1998, he sponsored California Proposition 227, which aimed to change the state's bilingual education to an opt-in structured English language educational system and which was approved by the voters[12] despite opposition from language education researchers.[13] Proposition 227 did not seek to end bilingual education, as special exemptions were made for students to remain in an English immersion class if a parent so desires. However, there were limits (such as age restrictions) for the exemptions, and there were provisions to discipline teachers that refused to teach solely or predominantly in English.[14]

The book English for the Children: Mandated by the People, Skewed by Politicians and Special Interests by Johanna Haver (Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2013) recounts the controversies and political action resulting from Unz's California and subsequent ballot initiatives: Arizona Proposition 203, Colorado Amendment 31, and Massachusetts Question 2.

Other activities

In January 2012, Unz launched the website, an archive of free periodicals, books, and videos.

In November 2013, Unz launched the website The Unz Review, a blogging platform.


  1. Bruni, Frank (June 14, 1998). "The California Entrepreneur who Beat Bilingual Teaching". The New York Times. 
  4. "Moody’s Corporation Acquires Wall Street Analytics". MWSA News. Moody’s Corporation. December 18, 2006. Archived from the original on 2007-10-28. Retrieved 14 September 2013. 
  5. "1994 Statement of Vote". California Secretary of State. 
  6. Phil Reeves, "'Nerds' seek revenge in Californian poll: Apathy marks the run up to the contest for governor", The Independent (Los Angeles), May 17, 1994
  7. Amy Wallace, Unlikely Path Led to Wilson Foe's Far-Right Challenge - Politics: A computer 'genius' with a passion for Greek philosophy, Ron Unz has set out to jolt the GOP. May 8, 1994 Los Angeles Times
  8. Margot Hornblower, "The Man Behind Prop. 227", By Frank Bruni,, June 8, 1998
  9. The California Entrepreneur who Beat Bilingual Teaching, New York Times June 14, 1998.
  10. "English for the Children". 
  11. Ron K. Unz, "Immigration or the Welfare State: Which Is Our Real Enemy?" Policy Review, Fall 1994, p. 34.
  12. Arguments in favor of 1998 California Ballot Proposition 227
  13. Notes on the Unz attack by Stephen Krashen
  14. Crawford, James (2000). At War with Diversity. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. ISBN 1-85359-505-5. 

External links