Ron Unz

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Ron Unz
Born Ron Keeva Unz
(1961-09-20) September 20, 1961 (age 57)
North Hollywood, California, United States
Alma mater Harvard University
University of Cambridge
Occupation Businessman, political activist, writer
Political party Republican

Ron Keeva Unz (born September 20, 1961) is a former businessman, best known for an unsuccessful race in the California gubernatorial election, 1994, and for sponsoring propositions promoting structured English immersion education. He was publisher of The American Conservative from March 2007 to August 2013. He now publishes The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection: A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media.[1]


Of Jewish descent and raised in a Yiddish speaking household,[2] Unz attended North Hollywood High School and, in his senior year, won first place in the 1979 Westinghouse Science Talent Search.[3] He attended Harvard University, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in physics and ancient history.[4] He then went to the University of Cambridge and eventually to Stanford University to begin doctoral work in theoretical physics, which he never completed. He was later awarded a master's degree by Stanford.[5][6]


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, California. In 2006 his company was acquired by the ratings firm Moody's.[7]


Unz made an unsuccessful bid for the Republican nomination in the California gubernatorial election, 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).[8]

Newspapers referred to Unz's candidacy as a Revenge of the Nerds and often quoted his claim of a 214 IQ.[9][10][11][12]

In 1994, he was opposed to California Proposition 187, a 1994 ballot initiative to establish a state-run citizenship screening system and prohibit undocumented immigrants from using non-emergency health care, public education, and other services in the State of California.[13]

In 1998, Unz 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[14] despite opposition from language education researchers.[15] 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.[16] Proposition 227 was approved in June 1998; it was repealed by Proposition 58 in November 2016. In 2002, Unz backed a similar initiative, the Massachusetts English Language Education in Public Schools Initiative,[17] which was approved by voters.

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.

Unz was working on a ballot initiative to raise the Californian minimum wage from $10 to $12, but his campaign failed.[18][19] His proposal was supported by James K. Galbraith.[18]

In 2016, Unz started "Free Harvard, Fair Harvard" campaign, centered on the Harvard Board of Overseers. Its slate of candidates is Unz, Lee Cheng, Stuart Taylor, Jr., Stephen Hsu, and Ralph Nader. The campaign seeks for tuition fees at Harvard to be abolished and for greater transparency in the admissions process.[20][21]

Unz also started a 2016 campaign for U.S. Senate in California, primarily to bring attention to the effort to repeal Proposition 227.[22][23]

Other activities

In November 2013, Unz launched the website, The Unz Review, a blogging platform which "bills itself as an 'alternative' to the 'mainstream media'".[24] According to the Anti-Defamation League, the webzine is an "outlet for certain writers to attack Israel and Jews". More generally, according the ADL, while Unz "does not appear to be an anti-Semite, he provides support to extreme anti-Israel ideologues".[25]

Unz has donated tens of thousands of dollars to the far-right website VDARE, claiming that he supports them because they are "mostly broke and they write interesting things."[26]


  1. "The Unz Review". Retrieved May 21, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Hornblower, Margot (1998-06-08). "The Man Behind Prop. 227". CNN. Retrieved 9 June 2018.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Foster, Douglas (November 24, 1999). "Being Ron Unz". LA Weekly.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Bruni, Frank (June 14, 1998). "The California Entrepreneur who Beat Bilingual Teaching". The New York Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Summary Biography of Ron Unz".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "English for the Children".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "1994 Statement of Vote". California Secretary of State. Archived from the original on 2008-12-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. Margot Hornblower, "The Man Behind Prop. 227", By Frank Bruni,, June 8, 1998
  12. The California Entrepreneur who Beat Bilingual Teaching, New York Times June 14, 1998.
  13. Matthew Miller (July 19, 1999). "Ron Unz's Improbable Assault on the Powers That Be in California". New Republic. Retrieved April 9, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Arguments in favor of 1998 California Ballot Proposition 227
  15. "CMMR: Notes by Steve Krashen on the Unz Attack".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Crawford, James (2000). At War with Diversity. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. ISBN 1-85359-505-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Tench, Megan (November 3, 2002). "HEATED BATTLE OVER ENGLISH IMMERSION INTENSIFIES". The Boston Globe. p. B.6. Retrieved March 10, 2018 – via<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. 18.0 18.1 Patterson, Robert. "The Missing Plank of the GOP Platform:". The Natural Family. Retrieved 16 June 2018.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Abramsky, Sasha (8 April 2014). "What If the Minimum Wage Were $15 an Hour?". The Nation. Retrieved 29 May 2018.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. Saul, Stephanie (14 January 2016). "How Some Would Level the Playing Field: Free Harvard Degrees". New York Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. Adamczyk, Alicia (15 January 2016). "Group Says Harvard Tuition Should Be Free for All Students". Time.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. Blood, Michael (16 March 2016). "Republican Ron Unz joins race for Boxer's US Senate seat". Washington Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. McGreevy, Patrick (30 April 2014). "Calif. Senate panel advances bill to restore bilingual education". Los Angeles Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. Shelbourne, Mallory (September 21, 2017). "Valerie Plame tweets story blaming 'America's Jews' for foreign wars". The Hill. Retrieved November 7, 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. "Ron Unz: Controversial Writer and Funder of Anti-israel Activists". Anti-Defamation League. January 20, 2014. Retrieved June 13, 2018.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. Duehren, Andrew M; Thompson, Daphne C (2016-04-16). "Overseers Candidate Donates to 'Quasi-White Nationalist' Group". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved 5 June 2018.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Further reading

  • Sixsmith, Ben (September 15, 2018). "The Curious Case of Ron Unz". Spectator. Retrieved 15 September 2018.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links