M. Stanton Evans passed away earlier this month at the age of 80. A graduate of Yale University, Stan was a true giant of the conservative movement, a contemporary of William F. Buckley, having published 10 books, including “The Future of Conservatism” in 1969, which predicted the rise of Ronald Reagan and the emerging success of the Republican Party if it represented conservative principles. That book greatly influenced my own involvement in politics. Stan helped define modern conservative political philosophy in his books: we was not a libertarian or tea party person, rather he defined himself always simply as “a conservative,” favoring limited government, lower taxes, less spending, more freedom, and a coherent national defense policy to not contain, but rather to defeat communism, the greatest worldwide threat to political freedom in his era. He is credited with authoring the “Sharon Statement” of Young Americans for Freedom (“YAF”), was chairman of the American Conservative Union, and founder of the National Journalism Center.
As National Chairman of YAF and a member of the Board of Directors of the American Conservative Union myself, I came to know Stan well and call him a friend. I was saddened by his passing but glad I was able to personally attend his memorial service at The Heritage Foundation on March 13. Stan was known personally not only for his commitment to conservative principles but also for his terrific sense of humor. Much of his memorial service focused on the retelling not only of touching tales about Stan, and also his humor.