M. Stanton Evans, one of the founders of modern conservatism, died at age 80 in Leesburg, Virginia. Read about his importance after the jump.
I urge you to read his book The Theme Is Freedom, on the historical rise of political liberty. He takes what he calls “the liberal history lesson”–that the world was in darkness and slavery until the humanists and the Enlightenment cast off the religious shackles to bring freedom into the world–and utterly refutes it. In fact, he shows that the humanists and the Enlightenment gave us the absolute despots. In contrast, the kings of the Middle Ages were greatly limited in their power under a rule of law, which he shows derives from Christianity. Mr. Evans also showed the influence of Luther and the Protestant Reformation on the rise of liberty. There is much more in this surprising and paradigm-shifting book.
I actually met Mr. Evans a number of years ago. He had read my book on fascism, which he praised highly, saying that he wished he had read it while he was working on The Theme Is Freedom because he would have liked to have incorporated it into his argument. That made me feel good, needless to say. [Read more…]