Pumpkin Papers Irregulars Tribute to M. Stanton Evans

By Daniel Oliver

The American Spectator

March 3rd 2015

Ladies & Gentlemen:

This year, for the first time, but not necessarily annually in the future, The Directorate has decided to present a Lifetime Achievement Award. The award is being given to M. Stanton Evans.

There may be a few Japanese soldiers left on islands in the Pacific who have not yet heard about the end of WWII. But there is no one in the Conservative Movement who has not heard of Stan Evans.

Stan Evans graduated from Yale, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, in 1955, the year Bill Buckley launched National Review. And like Buckley, Stan had served on the Yale Daily News.

At Yale he read a book by Frank Chodorov, One Is a Crowd, which, he said, “opened up more intellectual perspectives . . . than did the whole Yale curriculum.”

After Yale, he did graduate work in economics at New York University under Ludwig von Mises.

I mention these details of his early life because if we ever knew them, we had probably forgotten them.

Stan was for a while an assistant editor at The Freeman, where Chodorov was the editor. In 1956 he joined the staff of Human Events as managing editor. Then in 1959, Stan became the head editorial writer of The Indianapolis News, and the following year, at the age of 26, the editor of the paper, making him the nation’s youngest editor of a metropolitan daily newspaper.

He also joined the staff of National Review, where he served as associate editor from 1960 to 1973.

It is not surprising that there is so much to say about Stan, given how young he was when he first came into public view.

He wrote columns nonstop, and books too, ten of them. Preeminent among them are The Theme is Freedom, essential reading for those who want a true understanding of the founding of our country; and most recently Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and his fight against America’s Enemies; and Stalin’s Secret Agents: The Subversion of Roosevelt’s Government.

There is so much more to say about Stan.

In 1974, he became a nationally syndicated columnist for the Los Angeles Times syndicate. Also in 1974, Stan founded the Education and Research Institute. In 1977, he founded the National Journalism Center, to impart to young people the skills he had learned — or perhaps had been born with. From 1971 to 1977, Stan served as chairman of the American Conservative Union. He has also served as president of the Philadelphia Society, as a member of the Council for National Policy, and as a trustee of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.

He holds a slew of awards I haven’t got time to mention, but I do want to highlight two singular achievements.

In September of 1960, Bill Buckley gathered together a group of young conservatives at the Buckleys’ family home in Sharon, Connecticut, in order to found Young Americans for Freedom. It was Stan who drafted YAF’s charter, the Sharon Statement, which is still considered the founding document of the Conservative Movement.

But Stan is not an ivory tower recluse: there would not be enough hamburgers, cigarettes, and coke for him up there in the tower. He knew how to take action.

When in 1976 the Reagan campaign was fizzling in North Carolina — really, shutting its doors — Stan went there to shake, and shape, things up, and with the help of Jesse Helms and Tom Ellis succeeded . . . historically.

Reagan won the North Carolina primary, went on to win Indiana and Texas and other primaries, and was almost even with Gerald Ford by the time of the Republican convention.

Ford won, of course, but without Reagan’s showing in that primary season, he never would have been competitive in 1980, and Morning in America never would have dawned. But it did, in critical part because of Stan Evans.

Stan is also probably the funniest man we have ever known, a truly gifted comic.

Stan said he was never for Nixon, until Watergate. He said that when you looked at wage and price controls, OSHA, EPA, detente and Kissinger, going to China, and all the other stuff Nixon was doing, Watergate was like a breath of fresh air.

Stan was for nuclear reduction, through usage.

He wants sex taught in schools because then the kids won’t know how to do it.

Stan says the only time he sends a text message . . . is when he’s driving — texting, he says, passes the time. And on and on.

Just the other day, Stan said to me, “It’s amazing how much credit you can take, if you don’t care about accomplishing anything.”

Ladies & Gentlemen: The Lifetime Achievement Award:

The Pumpkin Papers Irregulars Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to M. Stanton Evans with gratitude for his six decades of service to his country.

Writer, scholar, teacher, activist, droll raconteur, Stan Evans is the Conservative Movement’s institutional mentor, colleague, and friend.