Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Wit and Wisdom of M. Stanton Evans

M. Stanton Evans was one of the wittiest conservative leaders and writers that I ever had the pleasure of meeting.

Once some friends were with him at a fancy restaurant and when the pompous waiter was taking desert orders, he told the fellow, "I think I'll have some RED Jello."

I was with him and the great, then young, conservative satirist, R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. When Evans was showing us around his new offices, he pointed out its balcony which overlooked the street and he commented: "It's perfect for addressing the adoring throngs who will gather below my window in the street."

He was also quite capable of pulling off a dirty trick or two. One summer I helped organize his National Journalism Center office softball team. He told us that we were going to have a game out in the Virginia countryside and after driving for an hour or so, we arrived at a farmhouse. He then told us that we would first help his girlfriend move her furniture from the house into a moving van and then play ball in the field. By the time we were finished with the back-breaking labor, we all were, of course, too exhausted to play ball.

Here is a sample of Stan's witticisms from across the years:

* "Tax cuts are like sex; when they are good, they are very, very good. And when they are bad, they are still pretty good."

* Evans’ Law: “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.’”

* Evans’ law of inadequate paranoia: “[N]o matter how bad you think something is, when you look into it, it's always worse."

* "Liberals don't care what you do as long as it's compulsory."

* "I've always felt that anyone who has his head screwed on right should be conservative when he is young and, as he gets older, become more and more conservative."

* "One of the things that happens to you when you get old, really two bad things, one of them is that you lose your hearing, and I forget what the other one is."

* "We have two parties here, and only two. One is the evil party, and the other is the stupid party. I'm very proud to be a member of the stupid party. Occasionally, the two parties get together to do something that's both evil and stupid. That's called bipartisanship."

* "We all know that Mrs. Clinton has complained about the vast right-wing conspiracy, and of course, she is correct about that, and we are all part of it, but when I was starting out, it was only half vast."

* "The National Council of Churches adopted a resolution condemning the Reverend Jerry Falwell for mixing religion and politics. It's a mistake that the National Council itself does not make, of course: It has nothing to do with religion."

* "It was really hard for us young conservatives to recover from the Goldwater defeat; it was all the worse because in those days we had no grief counselors."

* "I never liked Nixon until Watergate."

* “I didn’t much care for Joseph McCarthy’s ends, but I always admired his methods.”


  1. He sounds like someone I wish I could have known. How fortunate you were!

  2. I forgot two funny anecdotes about him. He used to have and expensive looking brass and wood sign on his desk that said, "Thank You For Smoking."

    And once when he was in Chicago, he was at a club which held an oldies music dance contest. He entered with some girl and was so good that they came in 1st or 2nd. So when the DJ asked him and his dance partner to give their names, she gave hers and he identified himself as "Art Deco -- but you can just call me Art."


Comments invited, however anonymous commentors had better deal directly with the issues raised and avoid ad hominem drivel. As for Teachers' Union seminar writers -- forget about it.