Wednesday, March 4, 2015

M. Stanton Evans, In Memoriam

           Conservative journalist, author, founder and activist M. Stanton Evans died today at the age of 80 at a nursing home in Leesburg, Virginia, after a long illness.

            Born in Kingsville, Texas in 1934, but raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee and the Washington, D.C. area, Evans graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Yale University with a degree in English in 1955.  He studied economics under Austrian School economist Ludwig von Mises at New York University.

            Upon graduation from college, Evans became the assistant editor of the Freeman.  He then wrote for the new conservative magazine National Review, serving as associate editor from 1960-1973, and thereafter as the managing editor of Human Events, the national conservative weekly, where he remained a contributing editor until his death.  In the meantime, Evans became head editorial writer of The Indianapolis News in 1959 and by the following year the youngest editor of a metropolitan daily in America.  He served as the newspaper’s editor for fifteen years.  Evans was a syndicated columnist across the Union from 1974-1987.  Over the years, he won numerous awards for journalism.  Evans’ writings were characterized by his elegant, but accessible style that became increasingly appreciated with the decline of good writing, as well as by his wit.  During his journalistic career, he was also a political commentator on television and radio.

            In 1960, Evans co-founded, together with William F. Buckley and others, the Young Americans for Freedom and drafted its charter, the Sharon Statement of conservative principles of political and economic liberty, limited government and strong defense, which is regarded as a founding document of the American conservative movement.  He supported Buckley’s fusion of conservative political and economic ideas with moral and religious conservatism. 

            Evans was Chairman of the American Conservative Union from 1971-1977, during which he criticized United States President Richard Nixon and promoted the presidential candidacy of Ronald Reagan.  He founded the Education and Research Institute, where the pioneer of conservative reporting mentored numerous popular conservative writers.  Evans served as President of the Philadelphia Society and on the boards of several major conservative organizations over the years.

            From 1961-2012, Evans authored ten books, including two meticulously-researched books on Communist infiltration of the United States government, media and entertainment by the Soviet Union, based upon documents declassified after the American victory in the Cold War with the Soviets.  His most significant work was Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joseph McCarthy and His Fight Against America’s Enemies, published in 2007, through which, together with his columns, he restored the reputation of Joseph McCarthy by disproving charges of “McCarthyism” against him and others.  Another important book by Evans, published in 1994, The Theme is Freedom, in which he made the case that America’s Founding Fathers were conservatives, as they had conserved virtues, based upon religion and morality, in promoting the dignity and liberty of man. 

            The election of a conservative as President and of a conservative-Republican majority in Congress are two of the legacies of Evans. 

           May M. Stanton Evans’ model of journalism, his books and commentaries continue to inspire conservatives to become outstanding reporters, columnists and authors and may his conservative ideals be conserved in the pursuit of liberty.   

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