Video is now online of the Committee for the Republic’s tribute to American Conservative publisher Jon Utley back in March, for his 80th birthday, which I had the great pleasure of attending.
If there’s ever been a meeting of the good guys in a Washington salon, this was it, featuring (quoting from the YouTube description): “John Henry, Chairman of the Committee, fundraising giant Richard Viguerie, Lee Edwards of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, Dan McCarthy, editor of The American Conservative, Allan Brownfeld of the American Council for Judaism, Alex Chafuen, President of the Atlas Economic Research foundation, Norman Birnbaum, Georgetown University Professor emeritus, British writer Francis Beckett, author of Stalin’s British Victims, and Fran Griffin, President of Griffin Communications, who also read a message from Pat Buchanan.”
I forget which one it was that comments that the thing that distinguished Utley from the other anti-communists is that he never held his own government to a double standard.
Here are Jim Bovard’s remarks:
Jon has been in the forefront of the antiwar movement since 1990, when he spearheaded a group to oppose George H.W. Bush’s war against Iraq. He has been a rare voice of reason and grace in conservative circles, patiently pointing out how foreign warring was destroying American freedom – as well as wreaking pointless havoc abroad. He has also been a generous supporter of groups ranging from the Future of Freedom Foundation to Antiwar.com, where his columns continue to trounce bloodthirsty politicians of all stripes.
Jon has always been kind in his comments and encouragement on my writing. Some years ago, I saw that he was heading to an ACLU awards dinner that featured some fashionable left-wing keynoter who didn’t seem truly concerned with freedom. I asked why he was going to the ACLU event.
Jon replied, “So that somebody will care when government agents take us away.”
Hearing that line from someone whose father vanished in the Gulag makes it impossible to forget.
Happy birthday, Jon, and thanks for all you’ve done for freedom for 60+ years!
Check out the documentary, “Return To the Gulag,” about Jon’s search for his father here.