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Episode 21 - Can We Be Perfect?

Saving Elephants | Millennials defending & expressing conservative values

Release Date: 12/18/2018

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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Episode 82 – Ruminating Remnants with Jonah Goldberg show art Episode 82 – Ruminating Remnants with Jonah Goldberg

Saving Elephants | Millennials defending & expressing conservative values

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 , 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,...

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Episode 81 – But, He's a Fighter show art Episode 81 – But, He's a Fighter

Saving Elephants | Millennials defending & expressing conservative values

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...

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Episode 80 – The Future of Fusionism with Stephanie Slade show art Episode 80 – The Future of Fusionism with Stephanie Slade

Saving Elephants | Millennials defending & expressing conservative values

“There's a well-worn tale about modern American conservatism,” writes Stephanie Slade in her piece for entitle   “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...

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Bonus Episode – What is Conservatism? – with Corey Astill and Kyle Sammin show art Bonus Episode – What is Conservatism? – with Corey Astill and Kyle Sammin

Saving Elephants | Millennials defending & expressing conservative values

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 podcast where Saving Elephants host Josh Lewis joined Corey Astill and Kyle Sammin to discuss Frank Meyer’s classic book   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...

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Episode 79 – Turning Left from Right with Calvin Moore show art Episode 79 – Turning Left from Right with Calvin Moore

Saving Elephants | Millennials defending & expressing conservative values

Host of the 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 begins his story where he left off last year on the...

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Episode 78 – Iron Ladies with Leslie Loftis show art Episode 78 – Iron Ladies with Leslie Loftis

Saving Elephants | Millennials defending & expressing conservative values

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...

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Episode 77 – Truth in Tension with Justin Stapley show art Episode 77 – Truth in Tension with Justin Stapley

Saving Elephants | Millennials defending & expressing conservative values

In this crossover episode friend of the podcast Justin Stapley invites Saving Elephants host Josh Lewis onto his show 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,...

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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.