TFAS regent emeritus Dr. Lee Edwards shared spirited stories from his life and new memoir “Just Right: A Life in Pursuit of Liberty” at a packed TFAS Headquarters in April. TFAS students, alumni, supporters and friends gathered to hear from and meet Edwards as he revealed insights from his involvement in the modern conservative movement.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to know a lot of ‘giants’ who walked the earth here in Washington, D.C. and in America,” said Edwards.
He went on to introduce some of these ‘giants,’ sharing memories from his work with President Ronald Reagan, Senator Barry Goldwater and William F. Buckley, Jr. over the years.
TFAS coordinator of alumni programs and continuing education and the event organizer, Brenda Hafera, said TFAS was proud to host such an passionate, accomplished individual. She said TFAS students and alumni had much to learn from his paramount life lessons.
“Tonight is about commemorating Dr. Edwards’ dedication and commitment to the cause of limited government and conservative principles,” said Hafera.
Edwards fascinated guests with some anecdotes that made history – and made his time with these ‘giants’ so special. He told of their common traits: their charisma, pro-free enterprise outlooks, faith in a higher power and fierce hatred of communism, something he said he especially had in common with each of them. He added that “the Constitution was their north star.”
He told guests about the time he visited Reagan’s modest California home in 1965 with his wife, Anne, when he had the unique opportunity to wait in the personal library of Ronald Reagan.
He said he perused the spines of the books and recognized some important works of politics, history and economics. Edwards says he noticed “The Road to Serfdom” by Hayek, “Economics in One Lesson” by Hazlitt and “The Law” by Bastiat and wondered aloud to his wife, Anne, if Reagan truly had studied these works. He investigated further by peeking inside the books, and to his surprise they were “underlined, dog-eared, with notations in the margins!”
“This guy had read these books!” Edwards exclaimed. “I realized very quickly that this was not just another marionette dancing with strings. He arrived at his conservatism and philosophy the old fashioned way: one book at a time.”
Edwards shared that after this encounter in Reagan’s library, he jotted down two words in his notebook: ‘President Reagan?’
“When I wrote the first biography of him two years later, I deleted the question mark,” Edwards revealed.
Following his remarks, Dr. Edwards graciously stayed to answer questions, offer advice and sign books for TFAS students and friends.
Dr. Lee Edwards is the distinguished fellow in conservative thought at The Heritage Foundation, chairman of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation and an adjunct professor of politics at the Catholic University of America. Edwards is a leading historian of American conservatism and the author or editor of 25 books. He was also the founding director of the TFAS Institute of Political Journalism (IPJ) and a fellow at the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.