Letter to the Editor: Reject Guilt by Association

To the editor:

A Crimson article published April 14 sought to establish my links with various right-wing extremists under the lurid headline “Overseers Candidate Donates to ‘Quasi-White Nationalist’ Group.” I feel that the information in the article lacked sufficient context and was thus misleading. Coming at the peak of alumni voting, this reporting risks torpedoing our Free Harvard/Fair Harvard slate of Overseer candidates.

Over the years I’ve certainly provided donations to a wide assortment of political groups and individuals, including left-wingers, right-wingers, and libertarians. These recipients are often on the political fringe and espouse controversial views on all sorts of issues. I might agree with them on some things and disagree with them on others, but their writing usefully supplements the conventional wisdom presented in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, which I spend hours closely reading every morning.

I reject guilt by association. Just because I am personally friendly with various people, publish their writings, or even provide them some financial assistance does not necessarily mean that I endorse everything they say. For example, I strongly disagree with Sen. Bernie Sanders on numerous important issues, but since I prefer his overall positions to those of his competitors, he is my favored presidential candidate, and the only one to whom I have donated. During the last couple of presidential elections I wrote in Ron Paul’s name at the top of the ticket, not because I agreed with him about everything, but because the other choices seemed so unsatisfactory.

I have a long record of closely associating with people of sharply different views, having spent seven years as the publisher of The American Conservative, an opinion magazine that absorbed roughly 75 percent of my donations over the last decade. TAC was founded by Pat Buchanan and took a strongly Buchananite stance on immigration, trade, and social issues—positions I did not share. However, I strongly supported its lonely opposition to the disastrous foreign wars of the Bush Administration, afterward continued by the Obama Administration.


Over half my writing has dealt with matters of race, ethnicity, and social policy, including immigration, affirmative action, and bilingual education. Although often controversial, my articles have won praise from some eminent scholars and journalists, situated all across the ideological spectrum. If The Crimson’s writers wish to denounce me, they may do so, but they should focus on my own views rather than those of other people whose work I have funded.

Ron K. Unz ’83 is a candidate for the Board of Overseers as part of the Free Harvard/Fair Harvard ticket.


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