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We uphold American liberty, prosperity, constitutional law, and humble government.                  

The American Spirit

Barry MacDonald — Editorial

My Dad, Angus MacDonald, published the first issue of The St. Croix Review in February, 1968. In 2018, The St. Croix Review is continuing to express his vision.

America was turbulent in 1968. Through many long years the Left in America was sowing seeds of revolution, and in the 1960s, in the midst of racial tension, riots, assassinations, and the Vietnam War, it emerged as a formidable foe.

Angus MacDonald was moved to defend America from the power craving, rapacious, unrelenting forces of the Left. The St. Croix Review and the foundation, Religion and Society, are the continuing expression of my Dad’s character. After 50 years of publication, the St. Croix Review and Religion and Society are fighting the same battle and are following in the original tradition of the Americans who wrote the Constitution.

Too much of the Republican Party and too many conservative intellectuals have lost their moorings. The bitter struggle against emerging tyranny in America is exhausting. When the Republican Party temporizes on basic issues the effect is terrible: the Left is emboldened and we are diminished.

Too often, intelligent conservatives become policy wonks, writing sophisticated and profound papers, of minutest detail, that will have little influence on the culture. A retreat into sophistication and minuteness isn’t enough. We should be clear and bold, and we should use intelligence to advance basic issues.

Americans who want to preserve liberty should boldly promote the free economy, property rights, the sanctity of contracts, Constitutional protections, the rule of law, the separation of powers, federalism, and orderly immigration. We should be promoting a rich civic life that is separate from government control. And we should be unashamed to be people of religious faith. These are the basic issues from which we gain independence and strength. These are the foundations that support healthy families.

We need to hold up the ideal of humble government. The assertion that America is a nation of free individuals, and that government is a necessary evil, is what distinguishes America from every other nation. The fruits of humble government are entrepreneurial innovation, broad-based prosperity, and an economy that fosters upward mobility. We should be promoting the importance of a growing economy.  

Angus MacDonald arrived in San Francisco on the steamer S.S. Marine Lynx in 1946. He came from Australia, where he was born. He came to America because he wanted a better education than he could achieve in Australia. A few years after he arrived he became an American citizen. But, in a sense, he was already American before he arrived, because he embodied a free spirit seeking adventure and betterment.

The following is the foreword written by my mother, Rema MacDonald, to Angus MacDonald’s autobiography, A Straight Line. Rema described her husband five years ago, after he passed away.

* * * * *

Angus MacDonald, at age 23, was a one-of-a-kind personality. He graduated from the College of the Bible in Melbourne, Australia in May, 1946, right after World War II.

Because he saw greater opportunity in the United States, and thought he would fit in better in America, and wanted a higher education, he decided to emigrate to America. There was no intercontinental air travel, and he decided to come by troop ship with a three-week crossing. In those days America seemed far, far away. All his family came to the dock to see him off. He didn’t know if he would ever see them again. His three-year-old nephew clung to his legs and cried, “I don’t want you to go, Uncle Angus!” With a little money from his father and a box of favorite books he boarded the ship, as did others. His family waved until the ship was out of sight. It was a heart-wrenching leave taking.

That was the kind of person Angus was. If he wanted to do something he did it. To him nothing was impossible. As he traveled by train across this country he was surprised by how large the country was. He had a strange feeling as he looked around: he knew no one. His aim was to go to Butler University in Indianapolis. He enrolled and managed to complete his requirements for a bachelor’s degree in one year.

Angus had an insatiable appetite for knowledge, and taking classes in philosophy at Butler helped him form his beliefs. He decided to apply to the Graduate Department in Philosophy at Columbia University in New York. After being accepted he spent several years studying and living in the New York City area, a special time in his life. His parents also visited him at this time from Australia.

He completed all his work for his degree, except making corrections on his lengthy dissertation. He eventually did this and received a Doctorate in Philosophy degree. He could now become a university teacher, but he thought he might tire to teaching the same subject year after year as a professor. He was a natural born pastor. He loved interacting with people, giving sermons, visiting the sick and the church members, so he decided to continue as a minister.

After coming to a Minnesota church, some years later, he felt he could extend his ministry to a wider “audience” by starting up a journal. His vision would be called The St. Croix Review, because he lived on the St. Croix (rhymes with “boy”) River, and would be published six times a year. By subscription only, it would consist of submitted articles of interest in the conservative view — which he thought was lacking in the country. He would write only the editorial himself.

Angus started an incredible task. Angus had one employee, himself. Amazing! Computers were not in common use. He began with five hundred subscriptions and a typewriter. There wasn’t money to have the journal printed so he bought a printing press for the basement, and printed the pages himself. He had no knowledge of printing, he taught himself. The retyping of submitted articles, printing, folding, stapling, collating, labeling, mailing, and all the other publishing chores he did himself for years. Later on he hired a secretary to type for three hours a day. The advent of computers was a great breakthrough, but the journal still was more than a one-man job. He also wrote an editorial each issue. He had a way with words — his style was clear and concise. “Never use a big word when a small one will do” was his motto. Of the authors he never asked about their sex, race, religion, or background. “If they say something sensible that is simple and constructive, I shall publish them,” he said.

And he did — for forty-four years! This is a remarkable record considering there is no advertising in the journal. Subscriptions and contributions from individuals and several foundations are the journal’s life-blood. A pool of wonderful authors has been built up, but submitted articles are always welcomed for review. Angus’ son, Barry, has worked with him twenty years and is carrying on his legacy.

His autobiography, A Straight Line, was written twenty-five years ago. Its title refers to his lifelong quest for the truth. This is the fourth printing. The wording is the same, but we have enhanced this edition with pictures as a fitting memorial to Angus. We believe his ability to carry difficult tasks to completion is a noteworthy achievement and an inspiration to others. He was one-of-kind.

—Rema MacDonald

(Angus’ wife)     *

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Barry MacDonald

Editor & Publisher of the St. Croix Review.

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