The Home of American Intellectual Conservatism — First Principles

October 25, 2014

REFERENCE DESK
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Evans, M. Stanton
William F. Meehan, III - 10/01/12
Lifespan: (1934– )

A native Texan, M. Stanton Evans majored in English at Yale University and then studied economics at New York University. He later received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Syracuse University.

A journalist specializing in matter-of-fact commentary, Evans became a contributing writer to National Review in the fortnightly’s early years, after first writing for the Freeman. He was also a contributing editor and columnist at Human Events before becoming editor of the Indianapolis News, where he also ran the opinion page, from 1960 to 1974. From 1973 to 1985 he was a columnist for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate.

One of the first conservatives to break into broadcast journalism, Evans was a commentator at CBS television from 1971 to 1974, on the CBS radio network show Spectrum from 1971 to 1979, and at Voice of America from 1980 to 1982.

For a time Evans served as chairman of the Education and Research Institute and of the American Conservative Union, where he was also named to the board of directors. He has also served as a member of the Young Americans for Freedom National Advisory Board and of the Council for National Policy; as president of The Philadelphia Society; and as a trustee of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. A humorous speaker (example: “I didn’t much care for Joseph McCarthy’s ends, but I always admired his methods”) and highly sought-after master of ceremonies, he created “Evans’s Law,” which reads, “Whenever ‘one of our people’ reaches a position of power where he can do us some good, he ceases to be ‘one of our people.’”

A publisher of Consumers’ Research magazine and visiting professor of journalism at Troy State University, Evans is probably best known for founding in 1977 the National Journalism Center, where he served as director for twenty-five years. Conceived in response to liberal bias and shallow reporting in newspapers across the country, Evans’s twelve-week program emphasized more than the technical skills of journalism and sought intelligent, liberally educated students who were required to approach some assignments from an economic perspective.

Though a disciple of Frank Meyer and his “fusionist” conservatism, Evans holds that using the label “fusion” to describe Meyer’s attempted rapprochement between the traditionalist and libertarian wings of conservatism mistakenly implies the joining of disparate positions, positions that are in his opinion naturally and necessarily unified. Central to this understanding, and thus to Evans’s conservatism, is the view that the American political system and therefore libertarian government “sprang from Western religious belief and at all the stops along the way has been dependent on religious values and traditional practice for its survival” (The Theme Is Freedom: Religion, Politics, and the American Tradition, 1994). This conviction has led Evans to become involved in the battle over school prayer and other issues concerning religious freedom.

Further Reading
  • Evans, M. Stanton. The Future of Conservatism: From Taft to Reagan and Beyond. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1968.
  • ———. Revolt on the Campus. Chicago: Regnery, 1961.
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