The outpouring of tributes to M. Stanton Evans attests to the man’s impact. Even if he had been a pill, his accomplishments are too significant to ignore: eight books, countless articles, and one manifesto that remains (as one observer aptly puts it) “the most concise and accurate description of American conservative principles ever written.”
But the thing is, Stan wasn’t a pill. Far from it. He was one of the funniest and most delightful people you could ever spend time with. He was also extraordinarily generous with his time and counsel.
Those personal traits are the first things I will always recall about Stan, whose book about Senator Joe McCarthy, Blacklisted by History, I had the privilege of editing. The same characteristics also suggest why so many ISI alumni regard Stan as a friend and mentor.
Richard Viguerie told the Washington Examiner’s Mark Tapscott that for young conservatives in the early 1960s, “Stan was our leader, friend, and peer”—this despite the fact that “he was also the friend and peer of the country’s most important conservatives of the day, including Goldwater, Buckley, Russell Kirk, Brent Bozell Jr., and Frank Meyer.”
Generations of ISI students will tell you the same. Here was a true giant of the conservative movement, and yet he traveled to college campuses all over the country just to speak with ISI students. Nor was Stan content to give his prepared talk and call it an evening. He would hold court with students over dinner and late into the night. I have heard from dozens of ISIers about how Stan made a certain ISI conference or lecture an experience they will remember for their entire lives.
It wasn’t just that Stan was a great wit and raconteur (though he was surely both). Accuracy in Media’s Mal Kline told Breitbart’s Daniel Flynn, “The thirty years I have known him, two decades of which I worked for him, I saw an unending brigade of people troop to his door for advice and assistance, usually the latter, and not once did I see him turn away anyone empty handed.” Stan was equally generous with ISI students and staffers, serving as a lecturer, mentor, and trustee for more than a half century. ISI president Chris Long wrote, “No one had a more enduring impact on countless thousands of ISI students than did Stan.”
That is why, in 2008, ISI gave Stan the Institute’s highest honor, the Charles H. Hoeflich Lifetime Achievement Award. We will all miss him.
Requiescat in pace.