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Saving Elephants | Millennials defending & expressing conservative values
65 minutes | Jun 15, 2021
Episode 85 – Strong Towns with Charles Marohn
For thousands of years the ways in which cities and towns developed has provided us with a of blueprint for what human habitats need to flourish. Yet today many of our cities and towns have forsaken these tried-and-true methods and instead imposed rational planning and an overreliance on pricey infrastructure projects to foster growth and further development. What are the potential downfalls of departing from these practices of the past? Saving Elephants host Josh Lewis is joined by Chuck Marohn of Strong Towns to traverse the world of urban planning and discuss the need for a return to the ancient models of development, the terrible costs of over-indebted infrastructure projects to younger Americans, whether or not Wal-Mart is a net boon or detriment to local communities, and how conservatism can help us form a more prosperous and enjoyable world. Podcast Survey Help us make the podcast even better: Take the listener survey for a chance to win a Saving Elephants coffee mug. About Charles Marohn Charles (or “Chuck” to friends and colleagues) Marohn is the founder and president of Strong Towns, a nonprofit that supports thousands of people across the United States and Canada who are advocating for a radically new way of thinking about the way we build our world. Marohn is a professional engineer and a land use planner with decades of experience. He holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning, both from the University of Minnesota. Marohn is the author of Strong Towns: A Bottom-Up Revolution to Rebuild American Prosperity (Wiley, 2019). He hosts the Strong Towns Podcast and is a primary writer for Strong Towns’ web content. He has presented Strong Towns concepts in hundreds of cities and towns across North America. Planetizen named him one of the 10 Most Influential Urbanists of all time. He is a long-time commentator on KAXE Northern Community Radio. He currently co-hosts KAXE’s Dig Deep program, a monthly examination of public policy issues affecting Minnesotans. Marohn grew up on a small farm in central Minnesota. The oldest of three sons of two elementary school teachers, he joined the Minnesota National Guard on his seventeenth birthday during his junior year of high school and served in the Guard for nine years. In addition to being passionate about building a stronger America, he loves playing music, is an obsessive reader, and religiously follows his favorite team, the Minnesota Twins. Chuck and his wife live with their two daughters in their hometown of Brainerd, Minnesota. You can find him on Twitter @clmarohn Listener Mail Josh responds to a listener’s question about conservatism’s challenges with appealing to minorities and whether our nation’s institutions are worth conserving given the history of American slavery and other past sins.
111 minutes | Jun 1, 2021
Episode 84 – The History of American Conservatism with George Nash
In 1976 historian George H. Nash wrote The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945, a celebrated historical accounting that established much of the narrative for how we think about the development of modern conservatism even today. George Nash joins Saving Elephants host Josh Lewis to discuss the various strands of thought that emerged after the second World War that eventually evolved into a political movement on the Right. Along the way, Dr. Nash shares his insights on the colorful individuals who shaped the debate, how they fought one another, and how an eventual loose consensus was brought forth. Finally, he offers some thoughts on what a lifetime of studying the history of conservatism can teach aspiring conservatives today. Podcast Survey Help us make the podcast even better: Take the listener survey for a chance to win a Saving Elephants coffee mug. About George H. Nash George H. Nash is the epitome of a gentleman and a scholar. A graduate from Amherst College who received his Ph.D. in History from Harvard University, Dr. Nash is an authority on the histories of American conservatism and the life of President Herbert Hoover. Dr. Nash is an independent scholar, historian, and lecturer. He speaks and writes frequently about the history and present direction of American conservatism, the life of Herbert Hoover, the legacy of Ronald Reagan, the education of the Founding Fathers, and other subjects. His writings have appeared in the American Spectator, Claremont Review of Books, Intercollegiate Review, Modern Age, National Review, New York Times Book Review, Policy Review, University Bookman, Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. He has lectured at the Library of Congress; the National Archives; the Herbert Hoover, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon Johnson presidential libraries; the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum; the Hoover Institution; the Heritage Foundation; the McConnell Center; and at various universities and conferences in the United States and Europe. Several of his lectures have been featured on C-SPAN. He has also been interviewed by C-SPAN, National Public Radio, numerous radio stations, and the print media. Dr. Nash lives in Massachusetts. Listener Mail At the end of the episode, Josh responds to a listener’s question about a comment he made in the episode that dropped on Election Day 2020. Josh had expressed his views that that time that neither major party candidate represented an existential threat to the United States and the listener askes, given what we now know about the election aftermath, accusations of widespread election fraud, the incursion on January 6, and the subsequent white washing of the Republican party, would Josh now view Trump as an existential threat to the country?
94 minutes | May 18, 2021
Episode 83 – West Coast (Straussianism) is the Best Coast with Seth Root
Few conservative thinkers are as little known, controversial, or had as great an impact on the conservative elite as Leo Strauss. Who was Leo Strauss, what did he believe, and how does that inform conservative thought today? Saving Elephants host Josh Lewis is joined by Seth Root to disentangle the mysteries of Straussianism including his views on esoteric writing, the ancients vs. moderns, reason vs. revelation, and arguments against historicism and relativism. Seth also enlightens us on the different variants of Straussianism and why he identifies as a West Coast Straussian. About Seth Root Seth Root is the cohost of the In The Trenches Podcast, a show for conversations with people that are right in the middle of the war of ideas. Seth was a fellow at Conservative Partnership Institute and an incoming intern at the James Wilson Institute on Natural Rights and the American Founding. Listener Mail Josh responds to a Mark’s email about his blog post Fifty Conservative Thinkers and conservatism and the environmental movement. Mark is the author of Old Man on a Green Bike: Chronicles of a Self-Serving Environmentalist, a book on the politics and practicalities of conscious bicycling, inspiring readers to take to two wheels for their own sake, and maybe also the good of the planet.
100 minutes | May 4, 2021
Episode 82 – Ruminating Remnants with Jonah Goldberg
Syndicated columnist, author, podcaster, and political commentator Jonah Goldberg joins Josh to discuss his work in conservative media, their shared concerns with the direction of the country and sanity of the GOP, and why Woodrow Wilson was possibly an even worse human being than James Buchanan. Jonah Goldberg hosts The Remnant, a podcast featuring a “Cannonball Run”-style cast of stars, has-beens, and never-weres to address the most pressing issues of the day and of all-time, mixing history, pop culture, rank-punditry, political philosophy, and, at times, shameless book-plugging, and the nudity is (almost) always tasteful. In October of 2019 Goldberg co-launched and became founding editor of the online opinion and news publication The Dispatch. He was the founding editor of National Review Online, and from 1998 until 2019 he was an editor at National Review. A prolific writer, Goldberg writes a weekly column about politics and culture for the Los Angeles Times as well as a frequent “newsletter” The G-File. He has authored three books, the No. 1 New York Times bestseller Liberal Fascism; The Tyranny of Cliches: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas; and Suicide of the West, which also became a New York Times bestseller. Goldberg is also a regular contributor on news networks such as CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC, appearing on various television programs including Good Morning America, Nightline, Hardball with Chris Matthews, Real Time with Bill Maher, and The Daily Show. Goldberg is an occasional guest on a number of Fox News shows and a frequent panelist on Special Report with Bret Baier. Listener Mail In this episode we’re introducing a new segment: listener mail. Josh selects from some of the messages he’s received and responds to them in the podcast. Few episodes have generated as much feedback as the previous episode: Episode 81 – But, He's a Fighter. Josh reads a text he received from Jeff saying how much he enjoyed the episode and a tweet and email from Dennis expressing concerns over the episode.
85 minutes | Apr 20, 2021
Episode 81 – But, He's a Fighter
How often have you heard someone say of a Republican politician that they don’t necessarily approve of everything they do or say, but at least they fight? What exactly do we mean when we say—often approvingly—that someone is a fighter? Why is the Right so concerned with whether or not someone is fighting? Who are they supposed to be fighting, and what does it mean to fight? What is the role of civility in public discourse, and is it possible to maintain an appropriate amount of civility while still fighting? If we grant that the Right seems to be on the losing end of the culture wars, what is the best course of action? Does fighting mean we develop our own form of cancel-culture and work to produce as many liberal tears as we can? Or does it mean we work to rebuild our own cultural values? Can both be done at the same time? Is it even possible to make cultural gains through political means? Bob Burch joins Saving Elephants host Josh Lewis to hash out these questions and more in a conversation where they—ironically—have more to fight about than usual.
65 minutes | Apr 6, 2021
Episode 80 – The Future of Fusionism with Stephanie Slade
“There's a well-worn tale about modern American conservatism,” writes Stephanie Slade in her piece for Reason entitle Is There a Future for Fusionism? “It says that the movement as we know it came into being during the mid–20th century as a ‘fusionist’ coalition of economic libertarians and religious traditionalists. These groups, whose goals and priorities differed from the start, were held together mainly by two things: the sheer charisma of National Review founder William F. Buckley Jr., and the shared enemy of global communism. As long as the Cold War endured, the story goes, each wing was willing to cede some ground to the other…But the fall of the USSR meant the collapse of the common foe that had sustained the fusionist partnership. It was able to trundle on for a while, powered by a reservoir of goodwill, but it has long been running on fumes. In the last few years, the alliance's inherent tensions have come to a head.” The problem with this “well-worn tale”, Stephanie contends, is that it isn’t true. Fusionism, as developed by conservative thinkers from William F. Buckley Jr. to Frank Meyer, was a philosophical orientation that sought to advance both virtue and liberty as societal ends whereas the coalition on the Right that formed to combat global Communism was born out of political expediency. As such, fusionism is just as relevant in a world where Communism is no longer the global menace it was in the prior century, in spite of competing voices on the Right calling for a realignment of market-skeptical Common-Good Conservatism, nationalism, and populism. Stephanie joins Saving Elephants host Josh Lewis to discuss the true history of fusionism, what it became the dominant consensus on the Right, and why it still remains relevant today. Also discussed are some common objections to fusionism, how fusionism can fit within the broader worldviews of libertarians, conservatives, and classical liberals, what is meant by “liberty” and “virtue”, and the seductive dangers of the post-liberal movement. Stephanie Slade is managing editor at Reason, the libertarian magazine of "free minds and free markets." Prior to joining Reason, Stephanie worked as a speechwriter, a pollster, and a regular contributor to U.S. News and World Report. In 2013, she was named a finalist for the Bastiat Prize for Journalism. In 2016–2017, she was selected as a Robert Novak Journalism Fellow. She's a proud graduate of the University of Florida, where she earned a B.A. in economics. She also has an M.A. from American University. You can find her on Twitter @sladesr
46 minutes | Apr 1, 2021
Bonus Episode – What is Conservatism? – with Corey Astill and Kyle Sammin
The Saving Elephants podcast turns three years old today—no joke! To celebrate Saving Elephants is releasing a bonus episode: a re-podcast from the Conservative Minds podcast where Saving Elephants host Josh Lewis joined Corey Astill and Kyle Sammin to discuss Frank Meyer’s classic book What Is Conservatism? Conservative Minds is a podcast about conservative ideas and thinkers. Hosts Corey and Kyle explore what it means to call yourself a conservative, where conservatism has been, and where it's going. Each week, they select readings and conduct a discussion to share with you our investigation. You can join the conversation by liking them on Facebook or following them on Twitter at @consminds. The book What Is Conservatism? contains multiple essays from twelve prominent conservative intellectuals compiled by the father of conservative fusionism himself, Frank Meyer. Just what is conservatism? Many people are groping for answers, especially as conservatives seem to retreat into factions—Tea Partiers, traditionalists, libertarians, social conservatives, neoconservatives, and on and on. But this illuminating book shows what unites conservatives even as it explores conservatism’s rich internal debate. What Is Conservatism? features brilliant essays by such leading lights as: F. A. Hayek, Nobel Prize–winning economist and author of The Road to Serfdom William F. Buckley Jr., founder of National Review and the man perhaps most responsible for the rise of modern conservatism Russell Kirk, whose seminal book The Conservative Mind gave the conservative movement its name M. Stanton Evans, author of the conservative movement’s central credo, the “Sharon Statement” (1960) It also includes a foreword by #1 New York Times bestselling author and The Dispatch founder Jonah Goldberg explaining the influence of What Is Conservatism? on conservative thought and the book’s relevance today.
88 minutes | Mar 16, 2021
Episode 79 – Turning Left from Right with Calvin Moore
Host of the Leading Questions podcast Calvin Moore joins Josh to discuss his journey away from the Evangelical faith and a traditional, conservative, Republican culture. Calvin became disillusioned with the Christianity of his upbringing and dissuaded from the politics commonly attached to it over many years of wrestling with hypocrisies and disingenuous arguments. His story is an excellent example of the dangers in short-sighted political strategies and belief systems that fail to take the experiences of others into account. Calvin Moore is the host of Leading Questions with Calvin Moore, a weekly moderated roundtable discussion about ongoing issues in our culture. The podcast brings together disparate voices on a particular issue, discusses disagreements, considers one another's positions and, at the very least, leaves the table with a measure of respect for the person on the other side of the debate as they strive to create a space for passionate, yet healthy dialogue. Always the inquisitive, skeptical member of his family, Calvin has consistently pushed the boundaries of accepted conventions in his search for truth and understanding. With the rise of new media, he noticed the degradation of dialogue between disparate viewpoints, which led to the creation of this program. Calvin earned his Bachelor of Science in History Education at Rochester University in Rochester Hills, Michigan. His focus is on the African-American experience in the Early American Republic and Presidential History. Calvin resides in Michigan with his wife, Jennifer.
81 minutes | Mar 2, 2021
Episode 78 – Iron Ladies with Leslie Loftis
Women on the Right have an invisibility problem. It’s not that they’re nonexistent, it’s that they’re often overlooked by the Fox News stereotype of what is believed to constitute a conservative woman. So says Leslie Loftis, longtime curator of publications from conservative women. Leslie and Saving Elephants host Josh Lewis delve into the challenges women on the Right face and what unique strengths they might bring to the Republican party and conservatism in general if they were more visible. Leslie also shares her thoughts on the role of feminism in advancing women’s concerns, what unifies conservative women, the challenges social media present to our civil discourse, and how we might ultimately improve our political dialogue across the ideological spectrum. Leslie Loftis is a recovering lawyer and political writer. She started writing back in the blog boom of the early 2000’s with an expat blog, An American Housewife in London. By 2012, Leslie had moved back to Texas and was brought on to write for an expanding PJMedia. Soon thereafter, she became one of the original Senior Contributors for The Federalist and published in local newspapers, The Conservative Woman UK, and US News and World Report, among others. By mid-2017, Leslie was publishing exclusively at Arc Digital and for her own start-up magazine and newsletter, Iron Ladies. When disillusionment and burnout after the Kavenaugh Hearings dampened any writing desires, Leslie took a temporary (as it turns out) break from writing to start a long-intended project, teaching life administration. (Think household budgets and management, the kind of practical skills few seem to learn anymore until they already need them.) She revived the Iron Ladies newsletter a year ago, which you can subscribe to here. https://mailchi.mp/b3a6caef7f85/ironladiescollectionsignup Leslie lives in Houston with her husband and their four teenagers and four dogs. You can find her on Twitter @LeslieLoftisTX
52 minutes | Feb 16, 2021
Episode 77 – Truth in Tension with Justin Stapley
In this crossover episode friend of the podcast Justin Stapley invites Saving Elephants host Josh Lewis onto his show Self-Evident to discuss self-evident truths and what it means to hold truth in tension. The conversation includes thoughts on whether or not our inalienable rights are “self-evident”, the genius of American founders, Jeffersonian, Lockean liberalism vs. Hamiltonian, Burkean conservatism, why John Adams didn’t make a good president, whether the 1619 Project or 1776 Project is “right” or if the truth is somewhere in-between, whether America’s founding perfect or problematic, whether truth is to be found in reason or prescription, can Burkean conservatism be found in Burke alone or is he only the starting-point for conservative thought, the challenges conservative fusionism faces today, and a surprisingly lengthy and unexpected conversation about American slavery. This conversation was originally released on the Self-Evident show. Self-Evident is a weekly newsletter and intermittent podcast where Justin Stapley discusses both timely political topics as well as the timeless values and first principles of limited government and free society. Justin Stapley has been writing politically since 2016. His writing has been featured by ALEC, The Federalist Coalition, and the personal blogs and platforms he has operated over the years, which include Never Tyranny, The Millennial Federalist, and The Liberty Hawk. Justin considers himself a liberty-minded conservative with principles and beliefs grounded in the idea of ordered liberty as expressed in the traditions of classical liberalism, federalism, and modern conservatism. Justin currently studies Political Science at Utah Valley University with an emphasis in Political Theory and Constitutional Studies. He is a staunchly independent voice and is unafraid to call balls and strikes as he sees them. His calm but pointed writing style is often flavored with humor as he analyzes and discusses both news cycle driven topics as well as deeper philosophical considerations. Justin appeared previously on Saving Elephants on the following episodes: Episode 30 - Fusionism with Justin Stapley Episode 55 – The New Centrist with Justin Stapley Bonus Episode – The 2020 Elections – Now What? You can follow Justin on Twitter @JustinWStapley
78 minutes | Feb 2, 2021
Episode 76 – What Happens Now with Cal Davenport
The million-dollar question within conservatism these days is what happens now? After the tumultuous years of the Trump administration and with a Republican party gearing up for civil war to determine who owns the heart and soul of the Right, to say nothing of looming questions of the role of nationalism and populism competing against conservatism, it’s difficult to predict how all of this will ultimately shake out. Joining Saving Elephants host Josh Lewis to try to offer some clarity in our murky times is Cal Davenport, co-host of In The Trenches Podcast, a show of two young conservatives having conversations with people who are in the arena of ideas. Josh and Cal discuss what a future coalition of the Right might consist of and what conservative giants of old taught that might benefit us in our present dilemma. Cal offers three prescriptions for how our American political discourse might turn from its current dangerous trajectory and how conservatism might regain its footing. Cal Davenport is co-founder and co-host of the In the Trenches Podcast on conservative intellectual thought. He has written for The Wasington Examiner, RedState, The Resurgent and more. He has worked in Congress, for political campaigns, for think tanks, and in political consulting. Cal received his M.A. in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from Witten/Herdecke University.
63 minutes | Jan 19, 2021
Episode 75 – A Peaceful Transfer of Power
Tomorrow Joe Biden will be sworn in as our 46th President. Yet this inauguration will mark the first time in American history that the outgoing president refused to accept the results of the election and actively worked to overturn them. And, for the first time in modern American history, we were deprived on a peaceful transfer of power. On January 6, 2021 our country was attacked. My country. Your country. Though the events took place several weeks ago, it is important to keep them fresh in our minds as we reflect on what it means to be Americans and to live in the greatest experiment in self-government in human history. The assailants were not foreign combatants, Leftist provocateurs, or opportunistic criminals. They were supporters of Donald Trump who, having been deceived into believing the election was stolen from them, committed acts of sedition against the United States by violently breaching barricades into the Capitol to stop the peaceful transfer of power by the duly elected representatives of the American people. All of this happened precisely because Donald Trump has been spreading lies and misinformation for two months in hopes of overturning the results of the election and because he asked his supporters to come to Washington to “stop the steal” and incited mob violence. Trump’s speech to the crowd that morning contained numerous unsubstantiated claims of a deep state effort led by the Left, big tech, weak Republicans, and other supposed enemies. He (falsely) claimed Mike Pence had the constitutional authority to stop the certifying of votes and that his supporters will “never give up,” “not take it anymore,” and “stop the steal”. He then told them to march to the Capitol and promised to join them there (yet another lie). Trump—who isn’t exactly known for his reticence in expressing his views on Twitter—then watched in comfort and glee as the violence unfolded before the world. Hours later, as blood stained the Capitol floors and rioters continued to wreak havoc, Trump delivered a brief address that focused far more on approval for his supporters’ loyalty than it did a call for peace. Later that day Tweeter suspended his account when he tweeted such acts are to be expected when an election is stolen. It was Mike Pence—not Trump—who ultimately put an end to the violent incursion by ordering the deployment of the National Guard. The condemnation Trump was unable to muster at the mob who stormed the Capitol was directed, instead, to Pence and to his top aide, Marc Short, who was denied entry into the White House that same night. There are three groups responsible for this cowardly attack on our country: 1) the President and his closest allies, 2) willing accomplices in Congress, and 3) the protestors themselves. It’s important we understand clearly what happened on January 6th so that nothing like this ever happens again.
65 minutes | Jan 12, 2021
Episode 75 – Remembering Roger Scruton with Bryan Baise
One year ago today, on January 12, 2020, Sir Roger Scruton died at the age of 75. Thus passed one of the greatest intellectual minds of the past century. Scruton was an English philosopher and writer who specialized in aesthetics and political philosophy. He wrote over 50 books on philosophy, art, music, politics, literature, culture, sexuality, and religion, as well as novels and two operas. Yet his greatest achievement, according to Dr. Samuel Gregg with the Acton Institute, was to put into words and give form to conservatism as a philosophy beyond a mere disposition or attitude. Joining Saving Elephants host Josh Lewis in remembering the life and works of Sir Roger Scruton is returning guest Bryan Baise, professor of philosophy and apologetics at Boyce College. Bryan describes Scruton as a dear friend he’d never met who nonetheless had a rescuing influence on his life. Bryan published several obituaries for Scruton last year to celebrate his life. He wrote: “I was sitting in Panera when I received a text message from a friend and colleague: ‘Roger Scruton has died.’ I was with my family and a widow from our church, holding back tears until I could get in the car. A man that changed so many things about my world has now passed away.” Bryan then recounted the many things Scruton had taught him, as discussed in the episode. In another obituary Bryan wrote: “It’s difficult to try to describe the various ways [Scruton] influenced individuals and movements…I’m afraid the loss of Scruton means the erosion of a kinder, gentler conservatism than what is currently on offer…The posture toward politics and culture that Scruton embodied is, I fear, being forgotten and will one day die out.” Bryan Baise is a professor of philosophy and apologetics at Boyce College. Bryan is the program director of philosophy, politics, and economics and the program director of the Christian worldview and apologetics. He is currently working on two books, one about beauty and another about introducing the conservative worldview to a non-academic audience. You can follow Bryan on Twitter @bryanbaise. Bryan was a guest on two previous episodes: Episode 41 - Why Beauty Matters with Bryan Baise Episode 25 - Developing Your Worldview with Bryan Baise
62 minutes | Jan 5, 2021
Episode 74 – Conserving Liberalism
What is the opposite of conservatism? It’s liberalism, right? Well…it’s not quite that simple. Saving Elephants host Josh Lewis goes guestless in this episode to take a deep dive into the good, the bad, and the ugly of liberalism and to explain why liberalism, far from being the opposite of conservatism, is actually much of what conservatism is trying to conserve. But to get there we first need to untangle what we mean by liberalism. What is liberalism? What is the goal of liberalism? What are they “liberal” about? What is the difference between modern-day or progressive liberals and the classical liberalism of the past? What does liberalism and conservatism have in common? How are they different? Why are they always fighting? And why would conservatives want to conserve liberalism? Is liberalism the same as being on the Left and conservatism the same as being on the Right? Is the Declaration of Independence a liberal or conservative document? What is liberty? How did the ancients understand liberty and how might that differ with how we understand it today? What do we mean by rights? Where do rights come from, and how are they protected? What do classical to contemporary thinkers on the Right, such as John Locke, Russell Kirk, Roger Scruton, Patrick Deneen, Sohrab Ahmari, and David French, have to say about liberalism? Is liberalism sufficient for liberty or does society require something more to maintain order? Does liberalism contain the seeds of its own destruction? What is the “myth” of liberalism and how is it different from traditional conservative myths? And why can’t Woody Allen neck with William F. Buckley? Learn all that and more in the episode. Here are some links referenced in the show: William F. Buckley on Woody Allen’s show Blog post: French-ism and the Looming Conservative Civil War Saving Elephants Episode 27 - What's so Positive about Negative Rights? Saving Elephants Episode 59 – Podcasting Orphans with Andrew Heaton Saving Elephants Episode 68 – Divided We Fall with David French
108 minutes | Dec 22, 2020
Bonus Episode – Two Burkeans and a Straussian
Last week cohosts Cal Davenport and Seth Root of the In The Trenches podcast invited Saving Elephants host Josh Lewis on their show for some no holds barred discourse around the topic of whether David French’s recommendations for addressing the growing political divide in the country are sufficient, achievable, and ideal or fail to go far enough. Throughout the conversation Cal and Josh appeal to Burkean arguments while Seth holds his own defending a Straussian viewpoint. What are the solutions to the nation’s political divide? Are David French’s solutions too Frenchist? Is nationalist populism a viable alternative to Frenchism? Take a listen!
57 minutes | Dec 15, 2020
Episode 73 – Formative Institutions with Yuval Levin
Among the legions of intellectuals and academics milling about Washington D.C., few commands more respect than Yuval Levin. Yuval has worked in the nation’s capital for decades and has a surprisingly hopeful message for the prospects of conservatism’s future and the fate of the republic. Yet he is soberminded about the challenges we face, chiefly the failure of our institutions to form us into the kind of people fit to live in a society of ordered liberty. Yuval joins Saving Elephants host Josh Lewis to discuss why are institutions are important, why they’re failing us, and what we can do about it. They also discuss the intellectual roots of the modern Left and Right and what Edmund Burke contributed to modern political thought. Yuval Levin is a political analyst, public intellectual, academic, and journalist. He is the founding editor of National Affairs, director of Social, Cultural, and Constitutional Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, a contributing editor of National Review, and co-founder and a senior editor of The New Atlantis. He also holds the Beth and Ravenel Curry Chair in Public Policy. Yuval served as a member of the White House domestic policy staff under President George W. Bush. He was also executive director of the President’s Council on Bioethics and a congressional staffer at the member, committee, and leadership levels. Yuval’s essays and articles have appeared in numerous publications, among them, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary. He is the author of five books, two of which are discussed in detail in the episode: A Time to Build and The Great Debate.
127 minutes | Dec 1, 2020
Episode 72 – The Millennial Presidents
About a year ago Saving Elephants host Josh Lewis and frequent guest Bob Burch did a series exploring the American Presidencies from a conservative perspective. The discussion took place over three episodes: Part 1 – George Washington through Abraham Lincoln Part 2 – Andrew Johnson through Franklin Delano Roosevelt Part 3 – Harry S. Truman through Jimmy Carter The series ended with Jimmy Carter as he was the last president to serve before the oldest Millennials were born. Now Josh and Bob pick things up where they left them and walk through the Millennial Presidents: Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. Donald Trump is excluded as his term as president is ongoing and—quite frankly—he’s all most political podcasts have been talking about for some time. What did our more recent presidents do well? What were their shortcomings? How does a conservative view their administration? And what is their lasting impact on the nation? Join Josh and Bob as they explore of this and more in Saving Elephant’s longest episode yet.
107 minutes | Nov 24, 2020
Bonus Episode – Leading Questions – Post Election Breakdown
Saving Elephants host Josh Lewis participated in a panel discussion on the podcast Leading Questions with Calvin Moore to discuss the possible impact of a Biden presidency on the Republican and Democratic parties, the historic nature of Kamala Harris being the first female VP, and the future of American political discourse. This is a rebroadcast of that panel discussion. The panel also includes Leading Questions hosts Calvin, Kent, and Steve and guests Saeed Khan and Jennifer Moore.
69 minutes | Nov 17, 2020
Episode 71 – Exploring Burke with Wes Siler
The 18th century British statesman Edmund Burke is often credited as being the father of modern conservatism. His most famous work—Reflections on the Revolution in France—is heralded as the most eloquent counter-revolutionary political text ever written and lays much of the foundation for the conservative mindset of the West. Yet Burke is challenging to read and comprehend. His 18th century prose and deeply complex arguments seem otherworldly in an era of bumper-sticker political slogans and surface-level philosophy. Russell Kirk—perhaps Burke’s greatest American disciple—wrote of Burke: “If conservatives would know what they defend, Burke is their touchstone; and if radicals wish to test the temper of their opposition, they should turn to Burke. Having done this, some conservatives may find that their previous footing was insecure; while some radicals may acknowledge that the position of traditionalists is tenable, or that Burke, too, was a liberal—if liberalism be in any degree associated with ordered freedom.” In this episode, Saving Elephants host Josh Lewis is joined by Wes Siler to introduce the audience to Burke’s teachings and attempt to demystify his complex and foundational thoughts. Wes Siler is the founder and Director of The Burkean Conservative, a website, social media presence, and video platform that produces content focused on educating and expanding the conservative movement on the basis of Edmund Burke's principles. You can follow The Burkean Conservative on Twitter @TheBurkeanCon
69 minutes | Nov 4, 2020
Bonus Episode – The 2020 Elections – Now What?
Saving Elephants’ own Josh Lewis hosts an election night panel to discuss the incoming results of the race and what it may mean for the future of the country, Republican and Democratic parties, and conservative movement. Meet the panelists: Brooke Medina: Brooke Medina is a homeschool mother of four and the Director of Communications at Civitas Institute where she manages Civitas’ outward facing platforms, oversees messaging strategy, and handles all press relationships. The North Carolina based Civitas Instituted is a nonprofit policy organization dedicated to removing barriers to freedom so that all North Carolinians can enjoy a better life. Brooke also co-hosts Civitas’ podcast Civitalk, which focuses on drawing connections between civics and culture. Brooke is a graduate of Regent University, holding a B.A. in Government and a minor in English. She has also completed several programs with the Charles Koch Institute, including the Koch Leaders Program and Koch Communications Fellowship, focusing on the philosophical underpinnings of market-based management and classical liberalism. She also sits on the board of directors for ReCity Network, a Durham-based non-profit committed to empowering civil society in combating poverty-related problems. Brooke’s writings have been published in outlets such as The Hill, Entrepreneur, Washington Examiner, Daily Signal, FEE, and Intellectual Takeout. But most importantly, Brooke’s hot takes, insights, and shenanigans on social media are worth following so be sure and check her out on Twitter @Brooke_Medina_ Justin Stapley: A prolific writer and thoughtful tweeter, Justin began working on projects not at all dissimilar to Saving Elephant’s mission to fight for a restoration of political principles in the American political process shortly after the 2016 election. And during the past several years, Justin has launched multiple websites and written for many affiliate groups. His flagship website is the apply named justinstapley.com which links to his various endeavors, including a contributing advocate and writer for the Federalist Coalition, an advocacy journalist at NOQ Report, an opinion columnist at Porter Medium, the founder and editor of The Liberty Hawk, and the Shooting Editor at Spencer Durrant Outdoors and will be a co-host for the up-and-coming Spencer Durrant Outdoors Podcast. Earlier this year Justin launched his own podcast called The New Centrist which features his original commentary and highlights of worthwhile speeches. In addition to politics, his writings include recreational shooting, hunting, fishing, and self-defense. His most current work includes the near-weakly newsletter Self-Evident. Justin described himself as a “liberty-minded conservative and member of the Republican Party” whose “principles and beliefs are grounded in the idea of ordered liberty as expressed in the traditions of classical liberalism, federalism, and modern conservatism.” While much of that remains the same, he no longer feels he can be a card-caring member of the Republican party and hold to those values, as he explains at length in the episode. You can find Justin on Twitter @JustinWStapley. JB Shreve: Veteran podcaster JB Shreve conducted a series of interviews of Christians of various political persuasions to ask about their expectations and recommendations in the upcoming 2020 election. JB had invited Josh to join as the “conservative” participant in the interviews. And Josh was happy to return the favor in having JB on the show to share his insights. JB Shreve is the founder of The End of History, a blog and podcast for Christians dedicated to helping believers make sense of the chaos of the world around them. JB has been producing podcasts and articles since 2012. After more than 200 podcast episodes, his listeners have come to expect well researched, fact-based backgrounders on a wide variety of topics to help them better understand the world around them. These backgrounders range from the history of the Middle East to the true story of economic inequality. Episodes and posts frequently expose myths and false paradigms we have come to believe. JB is adamant he is not pushing a political agenda. Rather, JB’s mission is to: Help believers in crafting their own response to world affairs and current events Provide a faith-based, values-centered voice in the face of current global issues Ease the tension between a Biblical worldview and the world we live in Provide reasonable, intelligent perspectives empowered with Biblical values and faith Remove the yelling, outrage, and debate from our worldviews to find facts and seek the truth You can learn more about JB’s work and podcast on his website, The End of History. JB can be found on Twitter @JB_Shreve Calvin Moore: Calvin Moore is the host of Leading Questions with Calvin Moore, a weekly moderated roundtable discussion about ongoing issues in our culture. The podcast brings together disparate voices on a particular issue, discusses disagreements, considers one another's positions and, at the very least, leaves the table with a measure of respect for the person on the other side of the debate as they strive to create a space for passionate, yet healthy dialogue. Always the inquisitive, skeptical member of his family, Calvin has consistently pushed the boundaries of accepted conventions in his search for truth and understanding. With the rise of new media, he noticed the degradation of dialogue between disparate viewpoints, which led to the creation of this program. Calvin earned his Bachelor of Science in History Education at Rochester University in Rochester Hills, Michigan. His focus is on the African-American experience in the Early American Republic and Presidential History. Calvin resides in Michigan with his wife, Jennifer.
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