Stan Evans: RIP

When our friends get elected, they cease to be our friends."

“The trouble with conservatives,” he once observed, “is that too many of them come to Washington thinking they are going to drain the swamp, only to discover that Washington makes a great hot tub.” -


Both of the above quips where made by M. Stanton "Stan" Evans, the first one is actually known as Evans's Law.

Evans, who passed away at the age of 80 last week, was one of the most influential figures of modern conservatism, with numerous accomplishments in the fields of journalism and activism.

A cum laude graduate at Yale, Evans unlearned everything he learned at Yale by studying under Ludwig Von Mises. Upon completion of his education, Evans served as an assistant editor of the The Freeman, working under libertarian giant Frank Chodorov. Evan's then worked as an associate editor for National Review from 1960 to 1973. However, the publication Evans is most closely associated with was Human Events, the leading conservative weekly where he served as a contributing editor from the early sixties until his passing.

As important as his contributions to conservative journalism where, Evan's most important contributions where in the realm of activism. Evan's drafted the "Sharon Statement" the statement of principle of Young Americans for Freedom:

IN THIS TIME of moral and political crisis, it is the responsibility of the youth of America to affirm certain eternal truths.

WE, as young conservatives, believe:

THAT foremost among the transcendent values is the individual's use of his God-given free will, whence derives his right to be free from the restrictions of arbitrary force;

THAT liberty is indivisible, and that political freedom cannot long exist without economic freedom;

THAT the purpose of government is to protect those freedoms through the preservation of internal order, the provision of national defense, and the administration of justice;

THAT when government ventures beyond these rightful functions, it accumulates power, which tends to diminish order and liberty;

THAT the Constitution of the United States is the best arrangement yet devised for empowering government to fulfill its proper role, while restraining it from the concentration and abuse of power;

THAT the genius of the Constitution - the division of powers - is summed up in the clause that reserves primacy to the several states, or to the people in those spheres not specifically delegated to the Federal government;

THAT the market economy, allocating resources by the free play of supply and demand, is the single economic system compatible with the requirements of personal freedom and constitutional government, and that it is at the same time the most productive supplier of human needs;

THAT when government interferes with the work of the market economy, it tends to reduce the moral and physical strength of the nation, that when it takes from one to bestow on another, it diminishes the incentive of the first, the integrity of the second, and the moral autonomy of both;

THAT we will be free only so long as the national sovereignty of the United States is secure; that history shows periods of freedom are rare, and can exist only when free citizens concertedly defend their rights against all enemies…

THAT the forces of international Communism are, at present, the greatest single threat to these liberties;

THAT the United States should stress victory over, rather than coexistence with this menace; and

THAT American foreign policy must be judged by this criterion: does it serve the just interests of the United States?"

As Chairman of the American Conservative Union from 1971 to 1977, Evans's organized the first CPAC. Evans was also one of the first conservative leaders to call on Ronald Reagan to primary Gerald Ford, and he provided invaluable assistance to Reagan's campaigns.

Evan's most lasting legacy may be his founding of the National Journalist Center, which provides training and internships, to young libertarians and conservatives seeking careers in journalism.

Philosophically, Evans was an adherent of fusionism; the school of thought developed by Frank Meyer that holds that libertarianism and traditionalist conservationism are natural allies, as the state is not just the enemy of liberty but is also the enemy of virtue. Evan's 1996 book, The Theme is Freedom, which uses historical examples to show that the ideas of liberty are linked to the western religious traditions one of the best cases for the fusionist perspective available. Evan's summed up the fusionist case in these quotes:

The idea that there is some sort of huge conflict between religious values and liberty is a misstatement of the whole problem. The two are inseparable. ... f there are no moral axioms, why should there be any freedom?

The conservative believes that ours is a God-centered, and therefore an ordered, universe; that man’s purpose is to shape his life to the patterns of order proceeding from the Divine center of life; and that, in seeking this objective, man is hampered by a fallible intellect and vagrant will. Properly construed, this view is not only compatible with a due regard for human freedom, but demands it.

John Berlau pays tribute to Stan Evans here.

    1. Gregory L. Schneider, Cadres for conservatism: young Americans for freedom and the rise of the contemporary right (NYU Press, 1999), p. 35; ISBN 0-8147-8108
      2. L. Brent Bozzell, , "Freedom or Virtue?, George Wescott Carey, ed. (Wilmington, Del: ISI Books, 1998), p. 22




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