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Episode 21 - Can We Be Perfect?

Saving Elephants | Millennials defending & expressing conservative values

Release Date: 12/18/2018

Episode 91 – Invisible Men with Ian Rowe and Nique Fajors show art Episode 91 – Invisible Men with Ian Rowe and Nique Fajors

Saving Elephants | Millennials defending & expressing conservative values

Saving Elephants host Josh Lewis is joined by Ian Rowe and Nique Fajors—two black Harvard Business School graduates—who hope to change the narrative and highlight the positive achievements of black men in the United States.  What is wrong with the common narrative surrounding black men?  How much has changed over recent decades and are those changes adequately reflected in the narrative?   Ian and Nique host , a podcast and video platform interviewing successful black men.  In the aftermath of Rodney King’s assault by police officers in the 90s and his attackers’...

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Episode 90 – Redlining and Reparations with Charles Marohn show art Episode 90 – Redlining and Reparations with Charles Marohn

Saving Elephants | Millennials defending & expressing conservative values

America’s history of bigotry and racism have left wounds that fester to this day.  How might the country make amends to those racial minorities who were harmed?  To what extent are white Americans responsible for addressing wrongs perpetrated by their ancestors?  To what extent can the effects of these past sins be measured and known?   These are not easy questions, nor is there much consensus on where we go from here.  But there is one area where both conservatives and liberals may be able to find common ground: addressing historic wrongs committed by the practice...

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Bonus Episode – En Route with Dennis Sanders show art Bonus Episode – En Route with Dennis Sanders

Saving Elephants | Millennials defending & expressing conservative values

Saving Elephants host Josh Lewis joins Dennis Sanders on his podcast to discuss the past, present, and future of the GOP and conservative movements, what younger generations of Americans have to offer the country, and where the #NeverTrump movement went wrong.   About Dennis Sanders Dennis Sanders is a blogger, podcaster, pastor, and media and technology professional.  He hosts , a podcast about the journey focusing on religion, politics and culture and the things we discover on the way.  Dennis was born and raised in Flint, Michigan and currently lives in Minneapolis. ...

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Episode 89 – Uprooted with Gracy Olmstead show art Episode 89 – Uprooted with Gracy Olmstead

Saving Elephants | Millennials defending & expressing conservative values

Often the highest praise we can offer a bright, promising student is “you’ll go far”.  Americans have long associated success with striking out on one’s own and heading for greener pastures.  But is this transient attitude conducive to the long-term health of local communities?  What happens to the places we leave behind and what impact does that have on us?   Saving Elephants host Josh Lewis is joined by Gracy Olmstead, author of .  Their conversation delves into how Americans have historically thought of leaving or sticking with the communities of their...

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Episode 88 – Opioid Pains with Peter Pischke show art Episode 88 – Opioid Pains with Peter Pischke

Saving Elephants | Millennials defending & expressing conservative values

The opioid overdose crisis is back in the news with recent revelations that the already shocking death toll has increased dramatically since the pandemic.  Drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death with opioids accounting for most of the deaths.  This crisis has certainly received a lot of attention from lawmakers, healthcare professionals, and the media.  However, Saving Elephants returning guest Peter Pischke argues that much of the debate over what to do about the growing crisis is overly focused on patients with medical needs who rarely abuse their...

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Episode 87 – E Pluribus Unum with Avi Woolf show art Episode 87 – E Pluribus Unum with Avi Woolf

Saving Elephants | Millennials defending & expressing conservative values

What is America and what does it mean to be an American?  We Americans have been debating this question for centuries, yet we seem even less united on a common understanding than Americans of prior generations.   America’s original national motto was E Pluribus Unum: “Out of many, one”.  It contained the notion that this diverse country of ethnicities and religions and ideologies were somehow unified in some sense.  In 1956, our national motto changed to “In God We Trust”.  Yet this was no less of a statement on American unity.  In 1956 the Cold War was...

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Episode 86 – Perfect Bedrock show art Episode 86 – Perfect Bedrock

Saving Elephants | Millennials defending & expressing conservative values

Josh takes a break from the guests to cover a little conservatism 101.  Russell Kirk’s pithy list : begins with what Kirk called an enduring moral order: “The conservative believes that there exists an enduring moral order.  That order is made for man, and man is made for it: human nature is a constant, and moral truths are permanent.”   The full implications of this idea—not to mention the arguments in favor or disapproving of this view or the thorny business of trying to agree upon a working definition of “moral order”, “human nature”, or “permanent...

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Episode 85 – Strong Towns with Charles Marohn show art Episode 85 – Strong Towns with Charles Marohn

Saving Elephants | Millennials defending & expressing conservative values

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...

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Episode 84 – The History of American Conservatism with George Nash show art Episode 84 – The History of American Conservatism with George Nash

Saving Elephants | Millennials defending & expressing conservative values

In 1976 historian George H. Nash wrote , 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...

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Episode 83 – West Coast (Straussianism) is the Best Coast with Seth Root show art Episode 83 – West Coast (Straussianism) is the Best Coast with Seth Root

Saving Elephants | Millennials defending & expressing conservative values

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...

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Among the ideas that have made Western civilization unique from other civilizations is the notion that humans are limited.  From the ancient Greek and Roman philosophies to the Christian and Judaic teachings, Western civilization was the first to draw a stark contrast between what it meant for humans to strive for nobility over fanciful deity.  Bob Burch joins Josh once again to discuss this seemingly obvious, but surprisingly nuanced and highly beneficial belief that has been passed down through the centuries.
 
There’s something hardwired in us to need a vision.  Without it runners don’t finish their marathon and managers may fail to develop strategic objectives in accordance with the original mission of their company.  We don’t do well as a species left in a bleak reality of mindlessly performing the work assigned to us with no concept of how our work or efforts are somehow contributing to some larger purpose.  And what’s true for the vision of an individual or a company is even truer for a political vision on a grander scale.
 
“We know of no human community whose members do not have a vision of perfection—a vision in which the frustrations inherent in our human condition are annulled and transcended,” wrote journalist Irving Kristol, “The existence of such dreaming visions is not, in itself, a problem.  They are, on the contrary, a testament to the creativity of man which flows from the fact that he is a creature uniquely endowed with imaginative powers as an essential aspect of his self-consciousness.”  This imaginative envisioning of perfection is part of what makes us human.  We don’t merely exist in this reality, we are self-aware of our existence and self-aware of there being something very imperfect with this reality.
 
There’s hardly any disagreement that there is something fundamentally wrong with things as they stand now.  For some that may mean it’s a pity how far of a drive it is to the cleaners while for others it may be a desperate struggle for survival against disease or famine or genocide.  Regardless, we all have some sense of the injustice or inconvenience or imperfection or—dare I say—evil present in our reality.  And we all have the capacity—even the yearning—to envision a reality made right.  A place, or a future, where all things are made new in perfection. 
 
But what’s true of the visualization of individuals or companies is still true of our vision of a perfect reality: this vision must play by the rules.  This vision of perfect reality must be anchored in actual reality or it will likely cause us more harm than good.
 
“Man is not perfectible, but he may achieve a tolerable degree of order, justice, and freedom,” wrote Russell Kirk in his masterpiece The Conservative Mind.  “Both the ‘human sciences’ and the humane studies are means for ascertaining the norms of the civil social order, and for informing the statesman and the reflecting public of the possibilities and the limits of social measures.”  By working within the reality of our human frailty—as James Madison aimed to do in advocating a limited government—we truly can improve our condition.  But it’s when we try to work outside of our limitations that we not only fail to achieve terrestrial heaven, we often end up with terrestrial hell.