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Episode 26 - Urban Conservatism with Avi Woolf

Saving Elephants | Millennials defending & expressing conservative values

Release Date: 03/05/2019

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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148 – Conservatism in Practice with Gov Mitch Daniels show art 148 – Conservatism in Practice with Gov Mitch Daniels

Saving Elephants | Millennials defending & expressing conservative values

The Saving Elephants podcast has welcomed a wide array of incredible guests who are on forefront of the conservative political movement.  But most of the guests discuss conservatism from the perspective of a theory or set of principles or idea.  Few have had the opportunity to enact political conservatism as a practice.  And few ex-politicians have been as successful as former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels in advancing conservatism as a practice.  While Daniels is reticent to label his approach “conservative” or identify as part of red team vs. blue team, his practices...

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147 – Where the Religious Right Went Wrong with JB Shreve show art 147 – Where the Religious Right Went Wrong with JB Shreve

Saving Elephants | Millennials defending & expressing conservative values

One of the strangest political developments over the past several decades has been the devolution of the Religious Right and large swaths of politically active Evangelicals as they morphed from character counts moralists of the 1990s to MAGA Trumplicans.  Regardless of the merits of where the Religious Right stands today, one could be forgiven for being perplexed at how they arrived here at all.   Joining Saving Elephants host Josh Lewis is JB Shreve, creator of podcast and blog, to demystify the Religious Right’s conversion to the Church of Trump.  Both JB and Josh were...

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Conservative thinkers from Russell Kirk to Irving Kristol to the Founding Fathers have, at best, cast a wary eye towards cities.  And across the country today, Leftist safe havens are often found in dense, urban areas.  Does conservatism only thrive in small towns?  And, if so, what does conservatism have to say for city life?  Should conservatives abandon cities in hopes of a renewal of rural America?  Or might there be a way to forge a path that both respects cities as cities and cultivates traditional virtues?

 

Joining us from Israel is Saving Elephant’s first international guest, Avi Woolf.  Avi is a translator and editor whose work has been published in Arc Digital, Commentary, National Review, and The Bulwark.  He is chief editor of the online Medium publication Conservative Pathways, and hopes to help forge a path for a conservatism which is relevant for the 21st century while not abandoning the best of past wisdom.

 

In a four-part series appearing in Arc Digital, Avi laid out a detailed blueprint for how conservatism might be applied to cities.  A true conservative, Avi cautions that, while a “thin” understanding of conservatism might provide some value to cities, what’s sorely needed is a traditional conservatism that seeks to restore institutions and communities in our urban centers.  To do this, Avi recommends focusing on four broad conservative principles:

 

  1. Opportunity –Removing regulations and increasing opportunity for all city residents to live where they want, work how they want, learn where they want, and thrive as they wish.
  2. Social Pluralism – Embracing real diversity, of the sort conservatives fight for in universities, where atheists and fundamentalists, family values people and social libertines, and Americans of all kinds live together, find ways to get along, learn from each other, and work for the common good.
  3. Community – The approach of conservatives in city government should simply be this: Get out of the way. No forced development lumped on people unequally, but also no to zoning barriers and rules that prevent people from moving around.  Let—and even encourage—people to find ways to move around, to form bonds, and to create community.  If they need some material assistance, that’s fine—but at their request, not top down.
  4. Tradition – For too long, we have effectively given up on the idea of cities as places with a “sense of the sacred” and the eternal, in every sense from customs to silly jokes and accents to history. We need to change that.  Instead of places mired in presentism and opportunity solely for this generation’s residents or visitors, we need to think more carefully about creating cities which truly embody the covenant between the dead, the living, and the unborn that Burke spoke so highly about.