Statement on the Death of James Burnham


July 29, 1987


Nancy and I have learned with deep sadness of the passing of James Burnham. Mr. Burnham, the author of seminal works, like ``The Managerial Revolution'' and ``The Suicide of the West,'' and a senior editor of the National Review, was one of those principally responsible for the great intellectual odyssey of our century: the journey away from totalitarian statism and towards the uplifting doctrines of freedom.


A Trotskyist and Communist at an early age, Mr. Burnham wrote of his rejection of communism in 1940: ``The basic reason for the break was my conclusion Marxism was false and Marxist politics in practice lead not to their alleged goal of democratic socialism, but to one or another form of totalitarian despotism.'' Mr. Burnham later dismissed socialism as impossible ``of achievement or even of approximation,'' and spent the remaining decades of his life as a skilled and fearless champion of human liberty.


For all the fierceness of his convictions, Mr. Burnham was a man both kind and gentle. He loved greatly his family, his friends, his country -- life itself. We extend our sympathy to the Burnham family and join them in mourning the death of a great American.