Saturday, July 23, 2016

From the Archives: Conservative icon Stan Evans dies at 80; remembered as 'present at the creation'

Publisher's note: This article was originally published on on March 3, 2015. The publishing platform was discontinued July 1, 2016, and its web site was scheduled to go dark on or about July 10, 2016.  I am republishing this piece in an effort to preserve it and all my other contributions to since April 6, 2010. It is reposted here without most of the internal links that were in the original.

Conservative icon Stan Evans dies at 80; remembered as 'present at the creation'

One of the founders of the modern conservative movement, M. Stanton Evans, died on March 3, 2015, at the age of 80.

Evans, who lived in Leesburg, Virginia, modestly described himself as a “former newspaper man,” as he had been an editorial writer and editor for the Indianapolis News and other publications starting in the 1950s, shortly after he graduated from college.

He also ran the National Journalism Center, which has trained several generations of young conservative reporters and editors. In college, he was one of the founders of what became the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI), which continues to promote conservative ideas on university campuses throughout the United States.

Evans is credited with the formulation: “When our friends get elected, they cease to be our friends” – known as “Evans' Law.”

The Charlottesville Libertarian Examiner interviewed Stan Evans – “I go by Stan,” he said – at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in March 2013. That interview has not been published until today.

Worse times
Noting that Evans had been “present at the creation” of the conservative movement, he replied to a question about whether the movement today is more disputatious than in the past, or if it is in an unprecedented crisis.

“Other times were infinitely worse,” he said, “because we didn't have the resources or the positions of strength we have now,” noting the low point of the movement may have been the 1964 presidential and congressional elections, when Barry Goldwater lost to Lyndon Johnson in a landslide and the Democrats won their largest majority in Congress since the 1930s.

In contrast to those years in the wilderness, Evans explained, 50 year later “we have a Speaker of the House, a Republican majority in the House. There are 30 Republican governors. We have 24 states that have one-party rule, governor and the legislature of the same party, all Republican,” compared to just 12 states controlled by Democrats.

“The list goes on,” he continued, but cautioned that “we're not using the position of strength we have. We're not fighting hard enough.”

Related to that, in comments as part of a CPAC panel the same day as this interview, Evans said that “the Republicans in Congress should be strongly pro-life, because they are usually in the fetal position.”

'It didn't just happen'
There too much confusion within the conservative movement, he said, which has the appearance of infighting.

“Part of the problem is that we've got people who don't remember what it was like to be really down. I compare it to people who earn money and people who inherit money. People who earn it know what it takes to get there. People who inherit it don't; it's just there.”

This is like “the conservative ascendancy of Reagan,” Evans said. “To some people, that just happened. It didn't just happen. It had to be fought for every inch of the way.”

Asked about how journalism has changed since he started in the profession in the mid-1950s, Evans replied: “A lot, a lot, a lot -- in every which way.”

Still, he added, “it's hard to generalize.”

He said there are “many more alternative media now than back in the day. On the other hand, you've still got an overpowering dominance of liberalism in the mainstream media. That's always been there but now we have a way of responding to it that we didn't have back in '64, for example.”

At the same time, he explained, “we also have problems with this because it's unfiltered. Anyone can put anything up there [on the Web] and it's too much hit or miss and rumor and too much focus on 'what did Obama do yesterday morning' and not the substance of the issue that needs to be addressed.”

Communist infiltrators
On the day of this interview, Evans was autographing copies of his 2012 book, Stalin's Secret Agents: The Subversion of Roosevelt's Government, which he co-wrote with Herbert Romerstein.

The book, he said, was about “Communist infiltration of our government and other governments during World War II and the immediate aftermath and their influence on policy at the Yalta Conference” and other high-level meetings in Tehran, Quebec, and elsewhere.

“I try to show in the book how [the Communist agents] warped American policy in favor of the Soviet Union.”

The final question posed to Evans was whether, when Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1980, he could have predicted the end of the Cold War would come ten years later.

“No,” he said. “No, I never thought we would win it in my lifetime. But Reagan knew what he was doing and that was the greatest accomplishment of his life. I was proud to have been a little bit a part of that.”

A video of M. Stanton Evans' remarks about “First Principles” at CPAC 2013 can be viewed on YouTube.


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