Anyone who is familiar with RCY.com knows, we are big fans of Victor Davis Hanson, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute. Recently America lost a founding Hoover great, someone who was a champion of “democratic capitalism, limited government, robust national security and American exceptionalism.” According to Tunku Varadarajan in the WSJ, Hoover Institute is what it is because Raisian made it so.
Freedom, Freedom, Freedom
John Raisan was considered a “quiet man” who for a quarter-century was “steward of Hoover, where he turned a modestly good institution with a daunting fiscal deficit and prickly relations with the bien-pensant pooh-bahs at Stanford into one that enjoys universal renown, is better than solvent, and boasts a world-class roster of scholars.” Asked what defined Hoover, he replied freedom, freedom, freedom. At one time under Raisian, there were three Nobel laureates in economics who hung their hats at Hoover—Friedman, Gary Becker and Michael Spence.
Raisian was an anomaly. Toiling behind the scenes, he created an ecosystem in which conservative and libertarian ideas could thrive.
(Raisian) had an unerring eye for intellectual talent, recruiting to Hoover some of the finest minds in American scholarship. And he was adamant that the best scholars are those who make an active impact on policy and public life.
Mr. Raisian retired in 2015, intending to resume the life of an academic economist, which he put on hold to work for the Labor Department during the Reagan administration. He took charge of Hoover just a few days past his 40th birthday. But poor health frustrated his plans, leaving him increasingly reliant on his wife, Claudia, who kept him in comfort till the end, even as his kidneys failed him.
His memory receded in his last days, leaving others to recall the supple mind and methods that won him the respect and trust of scholars, donors, and policy makers alike, all of whom knew that John Raisian and his Hoover Institution were impeccable guardians of the values that the free world holds dear.