PCR 11-27-01 CS Campbell
Sometimes a country loses people who are
irreplaceable, people who embody so many of the
steadfast virtues that their passing entails "a
weakening of the force." W. Glenn Campbell was one such
One of seven children, Campbell was born (April 29, 1924) and raised on a Canadian farm without running water and indoor plumbing. He made his way to Harvard, where he acquired a Ph.D. (economics) and a lifetime wife, Rita Ricardo, also a Harvard Ph.D. (economics) in 1946.
In 1959 Campbell was recruited by President Herbert Hoover to serve as director of the research library that he had established at Stanford University and to rescue it from leftwing misdirection. This was a large assignment, but President Hoover had sized up Campbell's steadfastness correctly.
Campbell kept the Hoover Institution true to President Hoover's vision. Under Campbell's direction, the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace became the premier think tank in the Western world.
When the U.S. regained its political footing with President Ronald Reagan, the policies that defeated both stagflation and the evil empire owed much to Hoover scholars.
Maintaining the Hoover Institution's independence was a thirty-year war—a war that Campbell won. He wasn't long into that war before he found himself at war on two fronts. Gov. Ronald Reagan appointed him a regent of the University of California system. Like President Hoover, Reagan valued steadfastness. Campbell had the qualities needed to prevent the looney left from evicting sanity from a university education.
Campbell's friends and enemies wondered how he could stand so much warfare. A president of the Bohemian Club hit on the answer. Campbell, he said, was Robert the Bruce. If Campbell was on your side, you had all the help you needed.
Campbell never let the emotions of the battles get in the way of an analytical approach and a dry sense of humor.
There's no telling the embarrassments his steadfastness and good sense saved Stanford and the University of California. Both institutions owe him much more than they will ever acknowledge.
We all owe him something, even those who never knew him. Campbell had virtues that held things together, all the while encouraging productive developments. He respected truth and expected honorable behavior. A formidable personality, Campbell could forgive almost as well as he could fight.
According to the mythologies of our age, Campbell was an improbable person. He made it to Harvard from Komoka, Canada, without wealth. He married a woman his match in intelligence and determination. He refused to make his professional and social life easier by selling out the ideas entrusted to him.
A country where Campbell was the norm would last a long time.
Paul Craig Roberts is the author (with Lawrence M. Stratton) of The New Color Line : How Quotas and Privilege Destroy Democracy
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