Alternative media outlets of the Left and Right have become a crucial supplement to our knowledge of the world, providing those perspectives usually ignored by our mainstream media. This small webzine will aim to provide convenient access to at least a fraction of those voices and topics.
- Editor-in-Chief and Publisher: Ron Unz
- National Security Editor: Philip Giraldi
For decades I have spent a couple of hours every morning carefully reading The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and several other major newspapers. But although such a detailed study of the American mainstream media is a necessary condition for remaining informed about our world, it is not sufficient. With the rise of the Internet and the alternative media, every thinking individual has increasingly recognized that there exist enormous lacunae in what our media tells us and disturbing patterns in what is regularly ignored or concealed.
In April 2013 I published “Our American Pravda,” a major article highlighting some of the most disturbing omissions of our national media in issues of the greatest national importance. The considerable attention it attracted from The Atlantic, Forbes, and a New York Times economics columnist demonstrated that the mainstream journalists themselves were often all too aware of these problems, but perhaps found them too difficult to address within the confining structure of large media organizations. This reinforced my belief in the reality of the serious condition I had diagnosed.
In an attempt to partially remedy this disturbing situation I will be regularly publishing on this website a selection of the sort of interesting, important, and controversial perspectives that rarely if ever reach the pages of our major newspapers or the pixels of our television sets. The handful of columnists and bloggers whose work I am herein providing represent merely the smallest slice of the enormous range of unconventional ideas that lie just a mouse-click or a Google search away from each of us, and my particular selection is certainly not intended to be comprehensive. But over the years I have regularly read the writings of all these individuals and found their ideas stimulating and useful, and I believe that many others might have the same reaction.
This is not to say that I personally agree with all or even most of what these writers believe or claim. However, sometimes the most valuable insights are obtained by reading opinions sharply divergent from one’s own. Facing a sharp intellectual or ideological challenge forces us to more effectively frame our arguments and buttress the weaknesses in our logic and evidence that had previously remained unnoticed. Taking the measure of an effective critic is always more valuable than listening to a mindless echo. And I would always prefer reading something disturbing than something dull.
Ron Unz, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher
The Unz Review • An Alternative Media Selection
I’m a theoretical physicist by training, with undergraduate and graduate degrees from Harvard University, Cambridge University, and Stanford University. In the late 1980s, I entered the financial services software industry, and soon founded Wall Street Analytics, Inc., a small but successful company in that field. A few years later, I became strongly involved in politics and public policy writing, and I have subsequently oscillated between software and public policy activities. Below are links to several major media profiles from the late 1990s, chronicling my activities to that point. I also served as publisher of The American Conservative, a small opinion magazine, from 2006 to 2013. Most recently, in late 2013 I launched an initiative campaign to raise the minimum wage to $12.00 per hour in California and the rest of the country, based on ideas I had previously published on the subject, and this is discussed in the linked New York Times article, with more of the details available here. Although the California campaign was unsuccessful, it played a major role in promoting the issue both in the state and nationally, leading to the sweeping victories there and elsewhere in the years that followed.
Major Media Profiles
- This Man Controls California
The New Republic, Monday, July 19, 1999, COVER STORY
- The California Entrepreneur who Beat Bilingual Teaching
The New York Times, Sunday, June 14, 1998, FRONT PAGE
- Hooked on Politics
The Los Angeles Times, Thursday, July 16, 1998
- Ron Unz, swim instructor
The Economist, Saturday, May 2, 1998
- Conservative Leads Effort to Raise Minimum Wage in California
The New York Times, Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Here are several cover-quotes provided for my Meritocracy collection, published in 2016:
With high intelligence, common sense, and advanced statistical skills, presented transparently and accessibly, Ron Unz has for decades been addressing key issues in a rapidly changing America, enlightening us on the implications and effects of bilingual programs in American schools, clarifying the issues around crime and immigration so often distorted in political and popular discussion, placing the question of an increased minimum wage effectively on the national agenda, and addressing most provocatively the issue of affirmative action and admission to selective colleges and universities, revealing some aspects of this ever disputed question that have never been noted or discussed publicly before. He is one of our most valuable discussants and analysts of public issues.—Nathan Glazer, Professor Emeritus of Education and Sociology, Harvard University, and author of Beyond the Melting Pot.
Few people on the planet are smarter than Ron Unz or have more intellectual curiosity. This fascinating and provocative collection of essays explores a remarkable range of topics, many of them high profile, some of them arcane. Unz’s analysis is always serious and invariably challenges prevailing wisdoms, which is to say there are a lot of controversial arguments in this book. No one is likely to agree with every one of his conclusions, but we would be better off if there were more people like Ron Unz among us. —John J. Mearsheimer, the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago, and author of The Israel Lobby.
Ron Unz is a brilliant essayist. His interests run from ancient history and black holes to contemporary issues like racial quotas and the minimum wage. He moves swiftly to the heart of a subject with cogent analysis and limpid argument. This collection of essays sparkles with unexpected gems ranging from critiques of the mainstream press to appreciation of dissenters from common wisdom such as General Bill Odom and Alexander Cockburn. In every paragraph of these essays the reader enjoys a penetrating intelligence at work. —Nicholas Wade, former writer and editor for The New York Times, and author of Before the Dawn, The Faith Instinct, and A Troublesome Inheritance.
Over the past two decades as an original thinker and writer Ron Unz has tackled complex and significant subjects such as immigration, education, economics, race, and the press, pushing aside common assumptions. This book brings together in one volume these pieces from a variety of publications. Unlike other essayists on culture and politics, Unz shreds ideology and relies on statistical data to support his often groundbreaking ideas, such as his 2010 essay on “The Myth of Hispanic Crime.” And his 2014 efforts to put a $12 an hour minimum wage bill before California voters is an example of how the action of an individual can draw public attention to an issue he believes is necessary for the economic health of the Republic. Anyone reading this book will learn a great deal about America from an incisive writer and scholar who has peeled back layers of conventional wisdom to expose the truth on issues of prime importance today. —Sydney Schanberg, Pulitzer-Prize winning former reporter and editor for The New York Times, whose story inspired the 1984 film The Killing Fields.
Provocative and fearless, sometimes infuriating, and quite often, persuasive. And when American’s low-wage workers get their coming big raise, the apostate conservative Ron Unz will deserve a decent share of the credit. —Prof. James K. Galbraith, author of The End of Normal and Welcome to the Poisoned Chalice: The Destruction of Greece and the Future of Europe.
Does The Unz Review stand behind all the controversial claims made in the articles it publishes?
Absolutely not! In any event, that would be a logical impossibility, since so many of the writers and their arguments directly contradict one another. Each reader must carefully weigh the logic and evidence backing the viewpoint of each author and decide for himself how much—or how little—of the material to accept. Thinking for yourself is difficult but necessary. However, as publisher of The Unz Review, I do fully stand behind my own past writings, and over the years the corpus of my work has grown to include numerous major articles across a wide range of topics presenting ideas at least as controversial as almost anything else published on this website. Here’s a lengthy list of these highly contentious articles, which certainly offer any angry critics as “target-rich” an environment as they could possibly desire:
- How to Grab the Immigration Issue, The Wall Street Journal, May 1994, 1,000 words
- Immigration or the Welfare State?, Policy Review, September 1994, 4,200 words
- Educational Nonsense and Vouchers, The Sacramento Bee, January 1999, 1,700 words
- The Right Kind of Outreach for the GOP, The Weekly Standard, March 1999, 2,600 words
- Voucher Veto, The Nation, May 1999, 1,100 words
- Federalism vs. Roe vs. Wade, The Wall Street Journal, June 16, 1999, 800 words
- California and the End of White America, Commentary, October 1999, 8,700 words
- Gay Marriages Today, Polygamy Tomorrow?, The San Francisco Chronicle, October 8, 1999, 700 words
- The Right Way for Republicans to Handle Ethnicity in Politics, The American Enterprise, April 2000, 3,200 words
- How the Republicans Lost California, The Wall Street Journal, August 2000, 1,300 words
- Sharonism vs. Building a Wall, The Sacramento Bee, April 2002, 1,600 words
- Taking Stock, The Los Angeles Times, August 2002, 900 words
- The Life and Legacy of Lt. Gen. William Odom, The American Conservative, September 2008, 2,400 words
- The Myth of Hispanic Crime, The American Conservative, January 2010, 5,600 words
- Was Rambo Right?, The American Conservative, May 2010, 1,300 words
- Immigration, Republicans, and the End of the White America, The American Conservative, September 2011. 12,200 words
- China’s Rise, America’s Fall, The American Conservative, April 2012, 7,000 words
- Chinese Melamine and American Vioxx: A Comparison, The American Conservative, April 2012, 1,800 words
- Race, IQ, and Wealth, The American Conservative, July 2012, 7,600 words
- Two Cheers for Heresy on Global Warmin g, The American Conservative, September 2012, 1,100 words
- Raising American Wages…by Raising American Wages, The New America Foundation, November 2012, 3,100 words
- The Myth of American Meritocracy, The American Conservative, December 2012, 22,300 words
- Paying Tuition to a Giant Hedge Fund, The American Conservative, December 2012, 1,300 words
- Asian-American Quotas in the Ivy League?, The New York Times, December 2012, 700 words
- Racial Quotas, Harvard, and the Legacy of Bakke, National Review Online, February 2013, 800 words
- How Social Darwinism Made Modern China, The American Conservative, March 2013, 6,800 words
- Our American Pravda, The American Conservative, April 2013, 4,500 words
- No Immigration Amnesty Without a Minimum Wage Hike, Salon, May 2013, 700 words
- Race and Crime in America, The Unz Review, July 2013, 7,300 words
- Raise the Minimum Wage to $12 an Hour, The New York Times, December 2013, 600 words
- What’s Good for America is Good for Wal-Mart, and Vice-Versa, Forbes, February 2014, 1,100 words
- American Pravda: When “Tokyo Rose” Ran for President, The Unz Review, March 2015, 4,100 words
Is The Unz Review “rightwing” or “leftwing”?
Neither and both. Many of the writers we publish are commonly regarded as having a very clear position on the political spectrum and often an extreme one. However, that is largely due to the misconception that ideological perspectives may usefully be measured along a simple, linear axis, and this is obviously false, with the space of such ideas actually having very high dimensionality. Furthermore, although mindless political automatons—or syndicated political hacks— may indeed often possess views that constitute an indivisible political package, received from some external media outlet, the thoughtful and courageous individuals we tend to publish often immune from such failings. They come to their own conclusions, and those conclusions rarely fall into a single, discrete political camp.
Can I republish the articles on this website?
The articles and columns that appear here are under legal copyright and the authors or their representatives have merely granted The Unz Review the right to publish them. The underlying copyrights are still controlled by the existing holders, and only they can authorize republication elsewhere.
The Unz Review intends to moderate comments with a relatively light hand, believing that knowledge is best obtained through the open clash of conflicting ideas. However, comments and commentators that focus on topics unrelated to the article in question, who substantially indulge in profanities or personal attacks, or whose grammar or spelling constitutes an embarrassment may see their comments trashed; and advocating illegal activity is prohibited. Individuals should also avoid cluttering up threads with repetitious or completely non-substantive remarks; craft your comments carefully. Please avoid multiple, successive remarks on a given thread. Spending a bit more time and thought in order to produce a single, more comprehensive comment is much better for everyone.
Given the wide-ranging discussion, often on highly controversial topics, the overwhelming majority of commenters prefer to maintain their anonymity behind a personal “handle,” and this is perfectly acceptable. However, commenters are absolutely prohibited from using multiple handles, which would allow them to engage in “sock-puppetry” and mislead others as to the widespread nature of their views. Also, the system makes it easy for visitors to place particular commenters they find useless on their “Ignore” list and this cannot be done if those commenters are freely switching their handles. Commenters who utilize multiple handles should not be surprised if their shared identity is later revealed or all their commenters are relabeled “Anonymous.”
The system implements various automatic checks to discourage or prevent multiple identities, let alone attempts to “false-flag” another commenter by stealing his identity. Given that our website does not require password registration for commenting, these methods are hardly foolproof, but still reasonably effective. Commenters are urged to select the “Remember My Information” checkbox when they leave a comment, which will save their input values in a permanent cookie, reducing the strain on their memory. In addition, frequent commenters who have checked that box are allowed to leave Agree/Disagree/LOL/Troll indicators on other comments, though no more than three times during any eight-hour period.
Clicking a commenter’s handle-link will provide access to a complete archive of all comments under that handle, allowing other commenters to better judge the views of the individual in question. This mechanism allows commenters to gradually develop a “reputation,” which they would put at risk by ignorant or unfair comments.
However, any commenter may also freely leave comments under the Anonymous/Anon handles, which are absolutely anonymous. But such totally anonymous comments may easily be misused for back-biting or malicious, unfair attacks on others, and should be taken much less seriously than comments that come “have a return address,” perhaps coming from individuals with established credibility.
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