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Jon Utley, RIP

March 26, 2020

The passing of Jon Utley on March 19 is remembered by thousands whom he encountered over a lifetime of 86 years. He looked younger than his years which is why he told me that he was 80 years of age. I would never have known that had he not told me.

I encountered Jon during the years of the Presidency of George W. Bush.

President Bush adopted the ideology of democratic idealism revived by author Michael Gerson and shared by Neoconservatives of the Republican “War Faction” and the many Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christian who supported “W’s” imperial wars.

At the time, I would attend regular lunches hosted by Paul Weyrich (a founding Trustee of my University) who promoted the concept of a “Moral Majority” with the Rev. Jerry Fallwell. Those lunches attracted all the major personalities of the Christian Right and Jon would place anti-Bush literature on our seats. Whenever I saw him, I asked “Jon are you still alive” referring to the animosity of attendees at those luncheons. Jon appreciated the joke and we became good friends.

Jon Basil Utley

1934-2020

Jon Basil Utley was born March 10, 1934, in Moscow, Russia, and emigrated to America in 1939. His mother, Freda Utley,was a former Communist who exposed the treasonous actions of American Party members.

Her son, Jon Utley, was Publisher of The American Conservative, the Robert A. Taft Fellow for International and Constitutional Studies at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and a writer for Antiwar.com and Reason.com. He wrote widely on third-world development economics, foreign policy, terrorism and civil defense. In the Nineties he worked with the Atlas Economic Research Foundation on promoting the transition to free markets in Russia and Eastern Europe.

He was a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, with language studies in Germany and France. He worked from 1956-75 in South America, starting in the insurance business (American International Group in Cuba, Venezuela, and Colombia). He later founded the Bogota Bulletin, Colombia’s first English-language news publication, and managed a mutual fund and insurance sales organization in South America. He then worked as a foreign correspondent in South America based in Peru for the Journal of Commerce and Knight-Ridder newspapers.

He was Associate Editor of The Times of the Americas for 12 years and a commentator on the Voice of America, debating Left-Right issues, from 1985-2003. He wrote for the Harvard Business Review, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, National Review, Human Events, and the Miami Herald and is listed in Who’s Who in the World & Who’s Who in America. He later managed an oil drilling partnership in Pennsylvania and real estate development in Washington, D.C. In 1990 he was a co-founder with Joseph Sobran and Phil Nicolaides of the Committee to Avert a Mid-East Holocaust, which opposed the attack on Iraq.

He was Chairman of ConservativesForPeace.com. He served on the Board of Directors or Advisory Councils of many leading conservative and libertarian organizations, including Accuracy in Media, Conservative Caucus, Council for Inter-American Security, Ethics & Public Policy Center, Reason Foundation, and Solidarity America. His articles have been widely disseminated. He was fluent in French, German, and Spanish.In 2004 he visited Vorkuta, the northernmost former concentration camp in European Russia, where his father, Arcadi Berdichevsky, was executed in 1938 for being one of three leaders of a hunger strike. He wrote the account of researching the archives and his visit to Vorkuta and the Perm concentration camp museum in the Urals. It is accessible by searching for Vorkuta Perm on Google.

(Biography courtesy of Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation. edited)

 

 

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