M. Stanton Evans, distinguished conservative Cold Warrior, passes away at 80

M. Stanton Evans, distinguished conservative Cold Warrior, passes away at 80

[Ed. – Cut my teeth on his mordant wit, and cogent writing and analysis, at National Review and elsewhere.  He will be missed. (J.E.)]

Sad news this morning of the passing of M. Stanton Evans at the age of 80. He was, in addition to his long list of books and distinguished career in journalism, the author of the Sharon Statement, one of the founding documents of modern conservatism produced at the founding of Young Americans for Freedom in 1960. …

If you’ve never heard Stan’s deadpan midwestern baritone in person, you’ve missed a great treat, as it won’t come across anywhere near as well in pixels.  But all is not lost: there are supposedly some recordings of his greatest hits available on the Philadelphia Society website.  [There are also several great YouTube videos of Stan in action: just plug his name in to a YouTube search engine, and be prepared to grin.]  Stan’s specialty is using mordant irony against liberals.  He loves to throw liberal clichés over his shoulder.  Back in the 1960s he wrote, “Any country that can land a man on the moon, can abolish the income tax.”  Or he would shock liberals by saying, “I didn’t agree with what Joe McCarthy was trying to do, but I sure admired his methods.”

Nixon inspired some of his best ironic barbs.  Early on Stan said, “There’s only two things I don’t like about Nixon: his domestic policy, and his foreign policy.”  He added later that he didn’t come to support Nixon until after Watergate.  “I mean,” he’d say, “after wage and price controls, Watergate was like a breath of fresh air.”  He once claimed to have called over to the White House in the middle of their Watergate agony and said, “Gosh, if I’d only known you guys were doing all of this neat stuff, I wouldn’t have been so hard on you.” …

Last night a parade of speakers alternately saluted and roasted Stan, and it was my privilege to go last and introduce him for his rebuttal.  Here are excerpts:

We gather tonight in a “let us now praise famous men” mode, but it is a mode distinctly uncongenial to our guest of honor. …

I think Churchill would have approved of Stan; he has all the right bad habits. . .

Stan is the only person I’ve ever known who can take Socratic irony and actually make it ironic.

Stan is, for example, a fan of America’s Founding Fathers, but does them one better: he’s not so sure that taxation with representation is such a hot idea, either.

[RIP – Ed.]

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