M. Stanton Evans, one of the founders of the modern conservative movement, has died at 80. Evans was a Loudoun County resident but was better known for his involvement in national politics than Virginia affairs.
Evans graduated from college in 1955, after helping organize what became known as the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, still the largest conservative organization serving university students with intellectual ammunition.
For 60 years, Evans worked alongside William F. Buckley, Jr., Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, and others in building the conservative movement and giving it its strength and character. He was “present at the creation” by drafting the Sharon Statement, which was the founding document of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) and animated the conservative movement for 40 years or longer.
Stan modestly described himself as a “former journalist” but he was much more. He wrote editorials for the Indianapolis Star beginning in the late 1950s, making that newspaper one of the lone outposts of conservative thought in a sea of mainstream liberalism. He contributed to National Review and other journals but perhaps his greatest impact will be felt from his founding and running the National Journalism Center, which has trained several generations of young conservative and libertarian reporters, editors, and TV news producers.
I interviewed Stan at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference but never got around to publishing the interview until today. You can read most of it on Examiner.com but here are a few excerpts on Virginia politics that were left on the cutting room floor. Virginia politics is changing, he said, because
we’ve become, where I live, an annex of Washington, DC. Now I’m in Loudoun County, which is historically rural, farming, dairy. It’s now the richest county in America. I wonder why, because all these federal people who live there now. They come in and out the Greenway which runs out to Leesburg, where I live, and that changes the politics. You’ve got all these people who live off the federal government, they’re going to vote that way.
On then-current Governor Bob McDonnell (this was March 15, 2013, before scandals came to light), he said this about the transportation package that passed during the General Assembly session:
I’m very concerned about what Governer McDonnell did. I was a big supporter of his. When he came in, he was told he would have to raise taxes because of the big deficit that Kaine left him. He didn’t. He fought against that and he balanced the budget without raising taxes. Then what’s his signature achievement? He raised taxes, but he didn’t have to do that. So I think it’s wrong.
No wonder Stan became known for “Evans’ Law”: “When our friends get elected, they cease to be our friends.”
Here is a video clip of M. Stanton Evans at CPAC 2013, talking about “First Principles”:
Steven Hayward has a nice remembrance at Powerline. You’ll be seeing many more of these today, as Stan Evans was a hell of a nice guy as well as a fighter for the ideals he held dear.