Tags: Evans | McCarthy | communist | terrorist

Wit and Wisdom of M. Stanton Evans

By    |   Tuesday, 20 August 2013 02:31 PM

Legendary conservative journalist M. Stanton Evans recently made a presentation on his book "Stalin's Secret Agents: The Subversion of Roosevelt's Government" before the Eagle Forum's Collegians Leadership Summit at the Heritage Foundation. Interestingly, in the audience was another conservative legend, Phyllis Schlafly, the founder of the Eagle Forum.

After a distinguished undergraduate career at Yale, Evans studied economics at New York University under Ludwig von Mises. In 1960, at 26, he was the youngest editor of a metropolitan newspaper at The Indianapolis News. Eventually he gravitated to Washington, where he founded the National Journalism Center.

He has done everything in the conservative movement, and even though I came up through the Young America's Foundation, I did not realize that he drafted the organization's Sharon Statement with Russell Kirk's wife, Annette. Evans positioned himself as a "fusionist" between the conservative and libertarian factions, and he collaborated with founders of the fusionist movement, the former communists Frank Meyer and Frank Chodorov.

The rest of this article will be devoted to a rendition of Evans' opening monologue, followed by a discussion of his Cold War books. An important part of any speech is the opening monologue, and if one wants to see how important, readers can compare this monologue and speech with those of the next article, a confusing and internally contradictory speech on housing finance.

Evans began by using the ground rules as a foil for a trademark joke. He said he wanted to make sure there were microphones available for the Q&A portion, because he might not be able to hear the questions otherwise. He continued, "When you get older, two things happen to you. You begin to lose your hearing, and I forget what the other one is."

He then bonded with his audience by acknowledging that they would be keeping up with the Kardashians, the daughters of late celebrity lawyer Robert Kardashian, one of whom recently condemned the George Zimmerman verdict even though her father was one of O.J. Simpson's lawyers. He quipped that another personality to keep up with is Katy Perry, who has expressed outrage that healthcare is not free for all; yet she charges $83 for a concert seat. Why?

Part of the appeal of Evans for me is that we are both contrarians. As an example, Evans admitted that he does not know how to text, but if he did, he is certain he would text only while driving. I have known Evans to consider sending a hamburger back to the kitchen for more grease.

During the so-called "McCarthy era," some commentators who wanted to play the issue down the middle would say that while they understood McCarthy's concern about communists in government, they had misgivings about his methods. To this, the contrarian Evans would retort that what he liked most about McCarthy was his methods. Incidentally, Evans knows the lyrics to all of the hits of oldies music.

The monologue served as a segue to a discussion of the Stalin book and of another Evans book with a Cold War theme, "Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joseph McCarthy and His Fight Against America's Enemies."

Evans stated that both his Stalin and McCarthy books were about "a period often misrepresented." He suggested that both books are important because they establish the truth of the events of the post-World War II period and because they are relevant to current events. Evans mused that some students think that World War II refers to World War Eleven, and this is disappointing, because one would think they would have learned a little Latin from the progression of Super Bowls.

Evans stated that his new book is timely because the availability of FBI files has provided new information for scholars about what the communists were up to in the United States in the aftermath of "World War Eleven."

The files establish that there were people called "communists" who infiltrated the New Deal administration of FDR. One of the most prominent of these was Alger Hiss, who was convicted of perjury but who had many apologists and defenders until documents confirmed that he spied for the Soviets. When the communist-turned-conservative Whittaker Chambers charged that Hiss was a spy, he was vilified by the media, and the story of his ordeal, "Witness," is a conservative classic.

The authorities denied that there was a nest of communists in the administration, and the media applied the term "witch hunt" to efforts by congressional committees to reveal and combat traitorous conduct by some officials of the White House, Treasury and State Department.

The connection between Cold War infiltration and current events, according to Evans, lies with the terrorist threat posed by radical Islam. He pointed specifically to bombings and other terrorist attacks planned by terrorists who are in this country on visas.

He noted that one threat had been thwarted by an alert hot dog vendor, but he express doubt that the best way to thwart the threat is to deploy legions of hot dog vendors. Therefore, he warned, this country needs better screening by the people charged with performing this function on the front lines.

Evans ridiculed the process by which the State Department screens visa applicants for potential terrorist threats. He said that State relies on questions such as, "have you ever engaged in terrorist activities?" and "have you ever engaged in Nazi persecution?" Then the form assures the applicant that a "yes" answer would not constitute a disqualification, but would only mean, "We need to talk."

The theme of the State Department and other federal bureaucracies acting as though they have independent agendas and interests adverse to those of the rest of the country has persisted throughout the post-war period.

Episodes like the so-called "WikiLeaks" disclosures could foster a new wave of suspicion and even paranoia. At a minimum, it causes cities and enterprises most at risk to seek alternative means of protecting their vital assets, because they cannot afford to rely on the security, policy or regulatory authorities in Washington.

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Legendary conservative journalist M. Stanton Evans recently made a presentation on his book "Stalin's Secret Agents: The Subversion of Roosevelt's Government" before the Eagle Forum's Collegians Leadership Summit at the Heritage Foundation.
Tuesday, 20 August 2013 02:31 PM
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