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Episode 54 – The Art of Losing

Saving Elephants | Millennials defending & expressing conservative values

Release Date: 03/17/2020

158 – Fashionable Fusionists with Samuel Goldman show art 158 – Fashionable Fusionists with Samuel Goldman

Saving Elephants | Millennials defending & expressing conservative values

In an age of rampant informalities, shoddy attire, and the kind of milieu that makes a possibility, conservatives stand athwart history yelling STOP!  Joining Saving Elephants host Josh Lewis is the impeccably dressed Samuel Goldman to explore how conservatism informs the world of fashion, why legendary figures on the Right from Russell Kirk to Albert J Nock to Willmoore Kendall wore such questionably lavish accessories, the connective tissues between intellectual conservatism and 90s era punk rock, and much more.   About Samuel Goldman Samuel Goldman is an associate professor of...

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157 – Fifty Conservative Thinkers show art 157 – Fifty Conservative Thinkers

Saving Elephants | Millennials defending & expressing conservative values

In an age where what passes for the archetype conservative are the likes of , , , , , and Donald Trump, it can be discouraging for those of us who take pride in the rich legacy and colorful history of thinkers on the Right to be associated with such grifters, demagogues, and charlatans.   Trying to define conservatism is challenging and trying to compile a list of individuals who best exemplify conservatism is problematic.  Yet this is becoming increasingly important in a world where “conservatism” is quickly being coopted by reactionary nationalist populists who have little to...

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156 – Reappraising the Right’s Foreign Policy with Michael Lucchese show art 156 – Reappraising the Right’s Foreign Policy with Michael Lucchese

Saving Elephants | Millennials defending & expressing conservative values

In February of 2004 the late Charles Krauthammer delivered the keynote address at .  It was a year into the Iraqi war and several years into the War on Terror.  Krauthammer’s address—entitled Democratic Realism—lauded much of the Bush administration’s approach to the war, but offered some stern warnings on how the war and rebuilding efforts might go awry.  His warnings proved to be profoundly prescient as the following years led to the disillusionment of what broadly (and wrongly) became known as NeoCon foreign policy.   What had the Right missed in Krauthammer’s...

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155 – Melodic Musings with Barney Quick show art 155 – Melodic Musings with Barney Quick

Saving Elephants | Millennials defending & expressing conservative values

How might music point us to the good, the true, and the beautiful?  What is the purpose of music, and we are guilty of misusing it?  Why are we so obsessed with Taylor Swift?  Musician and conservative journalist Barney Quick joins Josh to discuss how conservatism might better inform our approach to music.  Also discussed are whether or not the elephants can be saved at all, how an owning-the-libs approach misses the spirit of conservatism, and whether or not Principles First has lost its first principles.   About Barney Quick Barney Quick is a journalist whose work...

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154 – That Old Burkean Saw with Cal Davenport show art 154 – That Old Burkean Saw with Cal Davenport

Saving Elephants | Millennials defending & expressing conservative values

After a stint of episodes taking deep dives into obscure topics, Josh returns to some conservative first-principles by inviting long-time friend of the podcast Cal Davenport on for a wide-ranging discussion on whether or not the fusionist consensus is truly dead, why all the energy in the Right seems to be going towards the NatCons, what’s leading to the rise of populism, how to repackage conservative ideas into digestible slogans, who belongs on the Mt. Rushmore of conservative thought, and how Edmund Burke factors into all of this.  Trigger warning for the Straussian listener: this...

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153 – Full-Time with David Bahnsen show art 153 – Full-Time with David Bahnsen

Saving Elephants | Millennials defending & expressing conservative values

David Bahnsen returns to the podcast to discuss his latest book: .  David holds a high view of work and, in an era where self-help gurus are teaching us how to work less to achieve a work/life balance, David wants to shift the paradigm to work/rest and celebrate the productive nature of our being.  Also discussed in this episode are what the church gets wrong about work, how each generation brings different challenges and advantages to work culture, universal basic income (UBI), whether the Marxist are right and work under a capitalist system is exploitation, and what the future of...

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152 – Humanist Conservatives with Jeffery Tyler Syck show art 152 – Humanist Conservatives with Jeffery Tyler Syck

Saving Elephants | Millennials defending & expressing conservative values

Fusionism—the viewpoint advocated by the likes of William F. Buckley and Frank Meyer of order and liberty mutually reinforcing each other—has been the dominant form of conservatism in the United States for a generation.  In the era of Trump and the rise of nationalist populism on the Right, however, fusionism has steadily lost influence.  Should conservatives double down on what’s worked in the past?  Or is it time for a different approach that was advocated by some of the original critics of fusionism on the Right?   Joining Saving Elephants host Josh Lewis is...

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151 – The God of This Lower World show art 151 – The God of This Lower World

Saving Elephants | Millennials defending & expressing conservative values

What is the single most important virtue for a leader to possess?  What quality can make the run-of-the-mill politician into a statesman?  Is it integrity, communication skills, resilience, courage, empathy, or wisdom?  All of these things are important, of course, and if any are sufficiently lacking we wouldn’t call that a good leader.  But what would you say is the chief virtue?   Conservative thinkers from Burke to Kirk to Kristol to Strauss and even many of the ancient and medieval thinkers from Aristotle to Plato to St. Thomas Aquainis identified a single virtue...

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150 – We Don't Need No Indoctrination with Luke Sheahan show art 150 – We Don't Need No Indoctrination with Luke Sheahan

Saving Elephants | Millennials defending & expressing conservative values

What is the purpose of higher education?  Is it primarily to prepare us for the jobs of the future?  Is it to ensure the leaders of tomorrow hold the right opinions on important issues?  Is it to provide a safe haven for the pursuit of Truth?   Thinkers on the Right have held differing—sometimes incompatible—views on the purpose of higher education.  Joining Saving Elephants host Josh Lewis is returning guest Luke Sheahan to explore these arguments and how conservatives might respond to the rise of radicalism and wokism on college campuses.   About Luke...

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149 – The Legacy of Roger Scruton with Fisher Derderian show art 149 – The Legacy of Roger Scruton with Fisher Derderian

Saving Elephants | Millennials defending & expressing conservative values

Having published more than forty books on an astoundingly wide range of topics and holding noteworthy positions at the British Academy and the Royal Society of Literature, the University of Oxford, the Ethics and Public Policy Center, and the University of Buckingham, Sir Roger Scruton was the quintessential British gentleman and scholar.  He was also one of the greatest conservative intellectuals of the last century and the beginning of this century who died in 2020.  Fisher Derderian joins Saving Elephants host Josh Lewis for a woefully incomplete exploration at the legacy of...

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Let us begin with some unsettling facts:
  • It is quite possible your death will be painful and frightening.
  • For some, death comes tragically early and unexpectedly.
  • For some, death comes much later and is fully expected, after years of the body and mind steadily deteriorating to the point vital organs no longer function.
  • If you live long enough, everyone you care about now will die.
I’m not trying to be macabre here; I’m simply trying to frame things in a certain context before we proceed.
 
Our society is obsessed with success, winning, reaching our goals, being our all, “arriving”, self-help, and self-actualization. Trump promised his supporters we’d be winning so much they’d get tired of winning. We love winning. Shelves are dedicated to self-help books in bookstores and there’s no end to podcasts offering advice on how to get rich, be successful, and reach whatever goal you have in mind.
 
Failure is temporary. If it manages to truly set us back or keep us from our goals that’s only because something or someone—God? The lifeforce? The Universe?—has set in motion something even better for us than we had imagined. Death, if it enters our minds at all, is some distant threat that won’t come knocking until after a long life of success and a solid legacy that will ensure our life’s impact is felt for generations to come.
 
Conservative thinkers have had a lot to say about loss and failure. And their words can be a great comfort when our shallow world of "winning" falls apart.
 
British philosopher Roger Scruton observed in his book, How to be a Conservative: “The loss of religion makes real loss more difficult to bear; hence people begin to flee from loss, to make light of it, or to expel from themselves the feelings that make it inevitable…The Western response to loss is not to turn your back on the world. It is to bear each loss as a loss. The Christian religion enables us to do this, not because it promises to offset our losses with some compensating gain, but because it sees them as sacrifices. That which is lost is thereby consecrated to something higher than itself.”
 
“There has been a decline in the belief in an afterlife in whatever form—the belief that, somehow or other, the ‘unfairness’ of this life in this world is somewhere remedied and that accounts are made even,” wrote Irving Kristol in his book Neoconservatism, “As more and more people cease to believe any such thing, they demand that the injustice and unfairness of life be coped with here and now.” What if the faith of our ancestors that taught life everlasting is awaiting us after death wasn’t an antiquated superstition that we’ve evolved out of, but the very glue that held people together when everything else around them looked meaningless in an eternal sense?
 
“I am a conservative. Quite possibly I am on the losing side; often I think so,” wrote Russell Kirk several generations ago, “Yet, out of a curious perversity I had rather lose with Socrates, let us say, than win with Lenin.” Can Millennial conservatives muster the strength of mind to say the same today? Once again, a new generation of conservatives faces the very real possibility of the movement fading into oblivion. The only thing that has prevented that in the past were those brave men and women willing to choose the prospect of losing over meaningless victory. Let us pray that we can find the same courage. Because when all we’re about is winning, we’ve already lost.