Friday, July 04, 2008

Jesse Helms, RIP

A shock to both Karl and his professors, Jesse Helms invited Karl to testify at his Senate Foreign Relations Committee in April 1997. We had written a paper that identified flaws in the Chemical Weapons Convention treaty. Flaws others had missed. The senator, one of the few opponents of the treaty, wanted his committee to hear what we had to say.

Long story short, our employer at the time told us to pick between testifying, and keeping our job. We didn't testify.

We remember Senator Helms for his tenacity for, and stubbornness towards, conservative principles. He didn't compromise on the important issues. Ever.

"I had sought election in 1972 to try to derail the freight train of liberalism that was gaining speed toward its destination of government-run everything, paid for with big tax bills and record debt," Helms wrote in his 2005 memoir, "Here's Where I Stand."

"My goal, when my wife, Dot, and I decided I would run, was to stick to my principles and stand up for conservative ideals."


UPDATE 7.5: WSJ articles: Editorial,

As a Senator, Helms was a forceful anti-Communist, resisting Nixon's detente of the 1970s and promoting U.S. support for dissidents behind the Iron Curtain and freedom fighters in Central America.

and John Fund.

Jesse Helms was a major influence on American conservatism, but his career provides a blueprint for anyone who represents an embattled minority viewpoint. You can, with persistence and unflinching determination, change the political odds in your favor.