Saving Elephants | Millennials defending & expressing conservative values Podcast

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Episode 24 - Conservative Activism with Alexandra DeSanctis
Across college campuses and in our nation’s capital political activism is on the rise.  But it’s not just a tool of the Left as more and more Right-leaning activist organizations are appearing.  What exactly is political activism?  What are its potential benefits or defects?  And how might activism fit with a conservative worldview?   Joining Josh on the podcast is National Review staff writer Alexandra DeSanctis.  Alexandra has been active in the prolife movement for many years and offers her thoughts on political activism put into practice.  She first began working for the magazine as a William F. Buckley Jr. Fellow in Political Journalism in 2016.  She cohosts the Ordered Liberty podcast twice a week with National Review senior writer David French.  It can be found on the National Review website, iTunes, or Google Play.  Her Twitter handle is xan_desanctis.
Episode 23 - How Valuable are Your Values?
How valuable are your values?  And what the heck is a value anyhow?  Is it just a means to an end?  A way to get what we want?  Or is it something more?   If the word “values” carries with it the implication it primarily has some utility or economic benefit, then it’s a sure sign we’re living in an era where our convictions are grounded on the basis of their usefulness.  And, indeed, this is precisely what we are seeing in a society that places the “value” of even a person’s life on their relative usefulness to the society.  When our language betrays the idea values this way, then it’s likely we’re struggling with believing they’re really all that valuable in the first place.  Values hold less value in a society that’s in constant need of being reminded they’re important.   To be fair, all societies at all moments in times have been in constant need of such reminders.  C. S. Lewis pointed out that “generally, great moral teachers never introduce complicated new ideas; only quacks do.  The business of a moral teacher is to remind people of what they know, deep down, to be true.”  So, in one sense, we’re in no different a predicament than those who’ve come before us.  But there are moments for some societies when reminders are no longer enough.  What’s needed (or lost) is the belief itself that values are valuable.  It’s one thing to lose your memory; it’s quite another to lose your convictions.   “You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you,” C. S. Lewis said in evaluating his Christian faith after the tragic death of his wife, “Only a real risk tests the reality of a belief.”  Once we recognize this we begin to put away such foolish talk as “speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have” or living “your best life now.”  For once values are no longer something to be pursued because of what they can do for us a lot of surface-level religion and feel-good psychology looks rather silly.   Perhaps it would help to frame things as directly as possible: is the utility of a value the only measurement for the worth of a value?  Certainly not.  But why not?  The utility of a dollar bill may be the only measurement for the worth of the dollar bill.  If the dollar bill could no longer be used to buy things it would only be worth the cost of the raw materials that formed it.  But the same is not true of a value.  The worth of a value doesn’t cease to exist if we can demonstrate that the value is no longer useful.   This then is the essence of a value—that its worth is inherent beyond and even regardless of any benefits it may bring.  If your values disappear the moment you perceive they no longer bring you value, they weren’t values to begin with.  Therefore, if we want to be the kind of people who live as if values are important to us, we must be willing to pursue our values, even when doing so doesn’t benefit us.
Episode 34 - American Interests Part 2
Josh and Bob continue their conversation on the national interests of the United States that drives the nation’s foreign policy in part two of this two-part discussion.   To the casual observer, American foreign policy over the past 240 years can come across as sporadic at best.  We’ve gone from Washingtonian noninterventionism to the territorial expansions of the nineteenth century to gearing up a massive military industrial complex for two world wars to Soviet containment to democratic nation-building to a series of non-specific military engagements with rogue terrorist groups.   Some conservatives have argued the best thing we could do as a nation would be to heed George Washington’s warning of no entangling alliances with foreign powers and stop meddling in the affairs of other nations.  Other conservatives argue for a strong military presence around the globe needed to keep world peace and free markets operating.  Which view is truly “conservative” and which view represents the best course of action?   Irving Kristol—the father of Neoconservatism—spoke of the challenge of developing universal foreign policy principles.  Although Neocons usually get a bad rap for being war hawkish, Kristol’s observations argued for constraint and contemplation:   “Western political thought has very little to say about foreign policy.  From Thucydides to our own time, political philosophy has seen foreign affairs so radically affected by contingency, fortune, and fate as to leave little room for speculative enlightenment.  John Locke was fertile in suggestions for the establishment and maintenance of good government, but when it came to foreign affairs he pretty much threw up his hands: ‘What is to be done in reference to foreigners, depending much upon their actions and the variation of designs and interests, must be left in great part to the prudence of those who have this power committed to them, to be managed by the best of their skill for the advantage of the Commonwealth.’”   While the best foreign policy may change depending on how the pieces on the chess board are arranged, one thing that does not change are a nation’s national interests.  And American interests are an excellent gauge for evaluating American foreign policy.  What are those national interests?  Bob Burch joins the conversation with Josh once more to walk through American foreign policy.
Episode 13 - Can America Survive without Christianity? - Part 2
America’s Judeo-Christian heritage plays a vital role in the survival of American’s form of government.  This is because a Judeo-Christian worldview is unique in that it is a belief system that is compatible with liberal democracy that respects individual liberties while potentially impacting both the people and their leaders in a way that other belief systems—secular libertarianism, stoicism, utilitarianism—cannot.   But it doesn’t follow that all who hold a Judeo-Christian worldview contribute to the American republic in a positive or productive way.  What happens when those who profess a Christian faith fail to recognize the role of the believer in a free society and instead seek to use government to subvert a free society?   Continuing on with their discussion on the role of Christianity in America's form of government, Bob and Josh turn their attention to the state of the American church.  If John Adams was right—if only a moral and religious people are fit for the American Constitution—and if Americans are increasingly less Christian, where do we go from here?  Is it possible to find an alternative to the Judeo-Christian model that existed at the time of the founding?  And, if not, is it possible to revitalize the model of the past?   If religion is to play some role in our society, in what ways should it be separate from the church and the state?  Should Christians seek to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to this earth, using government as a tool to do so?  Or does Christianity and Christian beliefs have no place in the public square?  Would we be better off with a monument to the Ten Commandments on every government building?  Or do many of our fights over the separation of the church and state represent a distraction from the things that matter most?
Bonus Episode – 2018 – The Year in Review
Since the end of a year is dedicated to both reflecting on the past and looking towards the future, I thought it would be apropos to take a look back at where Saving Elephants has been this past year and—more importantly—the state of conservatism in 2019 and beyond.   No one wants to be a loser, and these days it seems like conservatives are in full retreat.  Whether that’s a Trump supporter who voted for the president as some last-ditch effort to fight back at the Left as dirty as they were willing to fight us, or conservatives such as myself who see ourselves in the wilderness as we wait for adults to return to the political fray.  But what’s important to keep in mind is that nearly every political tribe feels like it’s losing these days.  You think progressives or liberals or socialists or any other group out there feels as if they have the upper hand?   The thing about conservatism is that it has a remarkable ability to endure.  Even when it’s vanquished for a generation it will eventually re-emerge as people grow tired of the latest ideology that comes along and promises salvation.  When the ship of conservatism sinks, it becomes a submarine.   It’s easy to forget that—traditionally—conservatism has not been popular.  Real conservatism—not the shallow stuff masquerading as such—has stubbornly insisted that, while we can strive for and, in some cases, obtain a ‘good life’, this world is not perfect and utopia isn’t achievable.  It teaches that there will always be trade-offs in the things we want and that sometimes we have to ‘order our loves’ so that what we naturally want—say, social justice or equality—must necessarily come second place to other, more enduring values.  Perhaps most appallingly, it insists on each of us taking responsibility for our own lives.  Shallow conservatism teaches a version of this, but it usually means talking smack about freeloaders or ‘people who are not us’ not taking sufficient responsibility for their lives.  Real conservatism says we all have a duty to do so, not just the people who don’t look like us or the people we don’t like.   In my view, one of the greatest threats to conservatism emerging among young Americans is the widespread distrust of our institutions.  Millennials in particular are far less likely to attend church and have less confidence in our traditional political party establishment that past generations.  I DO NOT mean that this distrust is unwarranted.  But conservatism is all about restoring the institutions that have served us well from generation to generation—not about radical efforts to destabilize the system.  I agree the system is broken.  It’s time to roll up our sleeves and fix it, not tear it apart and just hope that’ll somehow make things better.    
Episode 15 - Prolife Matters with Kerry Baldwin - Part 1
What does it mean to be prolife?  What does it really mean?   The abortion debate is one that often evokes knee-jerk reactions.  For some, it is THE issue that defines their political biases.  It’s paradoxically of the utmost importance but extremely difficult to have an in-depth, frank discussion about a matter that excites such passions and deep convictions.   Joining the podcast today is Kerry Baldwin, an independent researcher and writer with a B.A. in Philosophy from Arizona State University.  Kerry grew up closely with the prolife movement and was a strong activist in prolife causes.  However, dissatisfaction with the political realities of the abortion debate and life circumstances made her question the movement’s methods and goals and led to a decade in which she did not participate in prolife rallies or causes.   Earlier this year, Kerry broke her silence when prolife activist Jeff Durbin joined those calling for women who have abortions to be charged with first-degree murder.  You can get a sense of Durbin’s stance in this interview he did of Vice President of National Right to Life Tony Lauinger: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbSHpIEUozs   Though she continues to be staunchly prolife, Kerry believes the efforts of many in the prolife movement are counterproductive in ending abortions and ultimately destructive to the women who seek abortions.  She offers an alternative path forward that she believes holds the hope of saving lives of not only the unborn, but those among us who are neglected, abused, and desperate.   Kerry’s website, MereLiberty.com, boasts of two podcasts: Dare to Think and Flashes of Liberty (coming soon).  She is also a regular contributor at the Libertarian Christian Institute.  Her writing focuses on libertarian philosophy and reformed theology, aimed at the educated layperson; challenging readers to rethink prevailing paradigms in politics, theology, and culture.   Kerry is a single, homeschooling mother of three.  She is the librarian for her congregation.  She enjoys outdoor activities in the Jemez mountains near her home, and stereotypically introverted hobbies such as puzzles and brain teasers, reading, and learning more about herbal and nutritional medicine. She enjoys studying Reformational Philosophy by way of Roy Clouser, and appreciates the theology of Meredith Kline, Lee Irons, and Aimee Byrd.  
Episode 3 - What Conservatism (Actually) Means
It turns out the meaning of "conservatism" isn't just up for grabs.  Here we'll learn what conservatism actually means by exploring the writings of old, dead, white guys like Burke, Kirk, Goldwater, and Buckley.  And we'll discuss the three worldviews (economic, foreign policy, and social) that merged to form modern conservatism.
Episode 45 - America's Greatest (and Worst) Presidents - Part 3
Who were America’s Greatest Presidents?  Which Presidents had the most lasting impacts that shaped the country in ways that are clearly visible today?  What about those Presidents whose blunders, incompetence, or weakness left the nation worse off?   Saving Elephants host Josh Lewis is joined by frequent guest Bob Burch as they work their way through the American Presidents and dissect their legacy—whether great, terrible, or somewhere in-between.  Since this is an enormous topic it’s broken up into three episodes.  In Part 1 covered Presidents George Washington through Abraham Lincoln.  In Part 2 Josh and Bob picked things up with Andrew Johnson through Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  And in Part 3 Josh and Bob conclude with Harry S. Truman through Jimmy Carter (the last of the Presidents to serve before Millennials were born).  
Episode 30 - Fusionism with Justin Stapley
The emergence of the modern conservative movement came about in the twentieth century with the fusion of multiple groups that found they not only had common interests, but they shared common foundational beliefs.  Free market advocates, libertarians, Burkean traditionalists, the religious Right, and foreign policy hawks found common ground that led to the high watermark of the conservative movement culminating with the Reagan Revolution of the 1980s.   What led to this?  Why do conservative interest groups today seem far more splintered?  Why is the conservative movement devolving into so much infighting when we were once more unified?  And how might we chart a course forward that reunites the shared interests of the various factions under the conservative umbrella?   Joining Saving Elephants host Josh Lewis is Justin Stapley, a freelance advocacy journalist whose writing has typically centered around federalism and classical liberalism.  Justin’s first political writings appeared in 2016 on his NeverTyranny blog which was revamped as The Millennial Federalist in 2017 and today his blog is entitled Unpopular Dissent.  He has written extensively on behalf of the Federalist Coalition and has also been published in the American Legislative Exchange Council website, featured at NOQ Report, and will soon be featured as a contributing opinion columnist at Porter Medium.  Justin’s writings have even been featured on the Saving Elephants blog.   While Justin is certainly a conservative, he describes himself as a federalist and a classical liberal, firmly in the camp of Jefferson and Madison and their view of a government of ordered liberty.  This will be evident in the conversation as Justin describes the special tension between order and liberty that has run throughout all American conservative movements.   A composite of Justin’s writings can be found at justinstapley.com.  His writings extend beyond politics and touch on philosophy, religion, and the great outdoors.  He was born and raised in the state of Utah and currently resides in Bluffdale.
Episode 42 - Media Bias with Peter Pischke
Is the media biased?  Has media bias always been a problem in the United States, or is it a more recent development?  Does the mainstream media have a Leftwing bias?  Does bias exist on the Right?  Saving Elephant’s host Josh Lewis welcomes Peter Pischke to the show to discuss all things media bias.   Peter Pischke is an aspiring journalist and host of The Happy Warrior podcast, a journalistic and intellectual Conservatarian commentary on the news of the day from a more positive perspective.   Peter earned his Master’s in journalism from South Dakota State University, but a chronic illness known as Chronic Pancreatitis causing intractable pain and disability has made it challenging for him to fully pursue his passion in journalism.  He attributes his interest in journalism, politics, and news-making to his chronic condition.  When he became sick in 2007 there weren’t any streaming media services to keep him occupies.  Instead, he discovered Glenn Beck while educating himself on the topic of global warming, and turned to talk radio as a way to pass the time.  This inspired him to research the topic more closely and voraciously consume books about media bias and journalism by John Stossel, Bernard Goldberg, Jonah Goldberg, and others.   Peter has run for school board twice (and lost), got a South Dakota representative re-elected, and worked on a successful mayoral campaign.  My second run for school board is what got him into podcasting.  The rancor he experienced from his fellow citizens was so very bad that it made him want to create something to share news and help bridge the gap between the political tribes.   In addition to podcasting, journalism, and politics, Peter’s passions include patient advocacy for those suffering from chronic conditions, particularly chronic pain.  He’s recently begun doing charitable patient advocacy with chronic pain patients (primarily with social media).  This year, due to struggling with untreated intractable pain and an article he wrote on the topic for The Federalist, he decided to get involved with providing comfort and advice to chronic pain patients.  He believes this is a population under enormous stress and health problems, but society has ignored their suffering almost completely, and the despondency is so very bad.  Specifically, Peter has become very passionate and vocal about the chronic pain aspect of the opioid crisis.   The following stats and links were referenced in the show:   https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/04/25/media-bubble-real-journalism-jobs-east-coast-215048   https://www.cjr.org/innovations/measure-media-bias-partisan.php   https://www.journalism.org/2019/06/05/many-americans-say-made-up-news-is-a-critical-problem-that-needs-to-be-fixed/   https://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/media-bias-left-study/   https://datausa.io/profile/soc/news-analysts-reporters-correspondents   https://www.adfontesmedia.com/static-mbc/   https://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/08/magazine/the-aspiring-novelist-who-became-obamas-foreign-policy-guru.html  
Bonus Episode - Is Taxation Theft?
It's tax day!  The least wonderful time of the year.   So Let’s talk about the taxes you pay.  What does conservatism tell us about taxes?  Is taxation theft?  Can we ever get rid of taxes?  What did Arthur Laffer draw on a paper napkin that shaped tax policy for decades?  How can we keep taxes direct, transparent, equal, and proportional?  Does it ever make sense to raise taxes?   All that and more on Saving Elephant's first ever bonus episode.
Episode 4 - Russell Kirk's 10 Conservative Principles Part 1
In the 1950s, Russell Kirk almost single-handedly rescued conservative thought from oblivion and made it a force to be reckoned with again by writing The Conservative Mind.  Since his intended audience was academia, much of his tome is a rather dense and difficult read.  But that's what we're here for--to make highbrow conservative thought easily accessible and applicable for you.  Kirk later summarized his basic arguments in the book into a list of Ten Conservative Principles.  In today's podcast we'll be exploring the first five of those principles.
Episode 33 - American Interests Part 1
To the casual observer, American foreign policy over the past 240 years can come across as sporadic at best.  We’ve gone from Washingtonian noninterventionism to the territorial expansions of the nineteenth century to gearing up a massive military industrial complex for two world wars to Soviet containment to democratic nation-building to a series of non-specific military engagements with rogue terrorist groups.   Some conservatives have argued the best thing we could do as a nation would be to heed George Washington’s warning of no entangling alliances with foreign powers and stop meddling in the affairs of other nations.  Other conservatives argue for a strong military presence around the globe needed to keep world peace and free markets operating.  Which view is truly “conservative” and which view represents the best course of action?   Irving Kristol—the father of Neoconservatism—spoke of the challenge of developing universal foreign policy principles.  Although Neocons usually get a bad rap for being war hawkish, Kristol’s observations argued for constraint and contemplation:   “Western political thought has very little to say about foreign policy.  From Thucydides to our own time, political philosophy has seen foreign affairs so radically affected by contingency, fortune, and fate as to leave little room for speculative enlightenment.  John Locke was fertile in suggestions for the establishment and maintenance of good government, but when it came to foreign affairs he pretty much threw up his hands: ‘What is to be done in reference to foreigners, depending much upon their actions and the variation of designs and interests, must be left in great part to the prudence of those who have this power committed to them, to be managed by the best of their skill for the advantage of the Commonwealth.’”   While the best foreign policy may change depending on how the pieces on the chess board are arranged, one thing that does not change are a nation’s national interests.  And American interests are an excellent gauge for evaluating American foreign policy.  What are those national interests?  Bob Burch joins the conversation with Josh once more to walk through American foreign policy in part one of this two-part series.
Episode 10 - Conspiracy Theories with Brian Dunning
Award-winning podcaster Brian Dunning joins Josh to discuss conspiracy theories and their impact on our political climate.  Whether it’s allegations that Trump and Putin rigged the 2016 elections, Obama isn’t a natural-born citizen, or Bush and Cheney blew-up the twin towers to justify going to war in the oil-rich Middle East, our political conversations are often bedeviled with conspiratorial thinking.  How do we discern the truth from alternative facts or fake news?  And how do we tell if we’re in danger of conspiratorial thinking ourselves?   Brian Dunning hosts Skeptoid, a weekly science podcast that has been revealing the true science behind popular misinformation and urban legends since 2006.  His latest book, Conspiracies Declassified: The Skeptoid Guide to the Truth Behind the Theories explores, debunks—and sometimes proves—the wildest conspiracies to ever exist, from mind control experiments to lizard people.  Dunning provides some authoritative insight into humanity’s crazy impulse to engage in conspiratorial thinking and offers a hopeful path for those who seek the truth.
Episode 48 - The Problem with Populism
Much has been said of the rise of populism on the Right today.  But what is populism?  Is it a coherent ideology with discernable objectives and ideas or a reactionary movement against an entrenched government and The Establishment?   Saving Elephants host Josh Lewis parses through the meaning of populism, how it’s applied to politics, what it gets right, what it gets wrong, and how populism can disguise itself as other more rigorous worldviews, not the least of which is conservatism itself.  While a certain dosage of populism is important in a free society, there are many ways in which too much populism can go very, very wrong.  In this episode, Josh expands on the five reasons why populism is ultimately a dangerous ideological game.   Populism is like the cover of a book. It may look enticing enough from the outside to earn you approving nods by holding it in front of your face at Starbucks, but unless it’s filled with actual content of a more comprehensive worldview, it hasn’t much to say.  Show me a man who is only a populist and I will show you a book with blank pages. We can only truly understand a populist by examining the flavor of the worldview that’s infused with their populism. That’s why two populists can end up supporting radically different causes from communism to fascism to protectionism to socialism to capitalism.   We might assume then that a conservative wouldn’t find much fault with populism so long as it’s infused with conservatism. That would be a faulty assumption, though some conservatives today put much effort in defending president Trump’s rather void political philosophy on these grounds. Trumpism, lacking a set of coherent, consistent policies of its own, has—for the moment—adopted conservative policies. Why fuse over a book cover entitled The Political Rantings of an Uninformed Narcissist if the pages inside plagiarize excerpts from The Conscience of a Conservative? Why judge a book by its cover?   Laying aside the argument that the words we use actually do matter, this view wrongly assumes conservatism can be reduced to a systematic list of policies. Conservatism is rooted in circumstance, not abstract principles. Conservative policies are important, but not nearly as important as the attitudes and convictions and persuasions that led us to those policies. From a distance a conservative and a populist advocating conservative policies may look very much alike. But look past the flashy cover, past the index, the preface, the introduction by that celebrity on the Right who spoke at last year’s CPAC, and delve into the actual meat of the book and the differences begin to emerge in a powerful way.   Josh explains that conservatism can never truly align with populism because conservatism stands against radical ideologies; in fact, it considers them dangerous. And, ultimately, populism is among the most dangerous, as Josh explains in this episode.  
Episode 38 - Rational Femininity with Rachel Bock
Modern feminism claims to fight for equality for women.  But what is feminism?  And what do they mean by equality?  Saving Elephants host Josh Lewis is joined by Rachel Bock, a biologist who abandoned feminism when she came to believe it was leading her away from what she truly wanted in life.  Rachel has since been vocal about her experience with feminism and its inherent dangers for women, warning:   “When I was a feminist I didn't understand: ‘feminists destroy the family.’  Science progressed.  I worked 70+ hr weeks, checking experiments at 3 am, in lab at Christmas....My friends had children.  Now they have families and I have publications.  Don't make my mistake.  I am not saying that girls shouldn't pursue science if they want.  By all means, go for it.  But we cannot simultaneously push girls into intense, demanding career paths while neglecting to mention that the majority of them will want children, which requires its own planning.”   “To be clear, I am grateful for my career and for supportive parents, teachers, colleagues that all wanted me to succeed and be happy.  I always loved science and deeply love that I was able to study it for so long.  I am not angry.  I am not placing blame elsewhere.  I made all my choices w/ the information I had at the time.  This information was heavily biased towards career and caused me to prioritize work over my romantic relationships.  There were many missed opportunities there.  The feminist view that I had was that if I didn't prioritize my science career, I was giving into the system that just saw me as a baby-maker.  I wanted to prove I was more.  There is so much wrong with that perception, which is why I feel that feminism was a cancer on my mind.”   Rachel Bock is a biologist with over 15 years in scientific research and writing for both technical and informal audiences.  She has received numerous awards for presentations, published in peer-review publications, and taught children, college-students, and adults about science.  Her areas of research has involved immunity/disease, evolution and genetics, physiology, ecology, wildlife, and statistics.  Rachel holds a Master’s in Biology and left her Ph.D. after 3 years when she realized the path was no longer for her.  She has since focused more time on building a fulfilling family life with absolute work/life balance.   You can find Rachel on Twitter at @RachelBock9 or check out her website at rachelbock9.com.  
Episode 8 - Audit EVERYTHING!
Whether it’s to save Social Security or cover a budget deficit, politicians are fond of declaring they’re going to audit EVERYTHING!  But what does “audit everything” actually mean?  And how likely is it to solve problems like the viability of entitlement programs or ballooning debt? Drawing on a decade of experience in auditing governments, Josh, CPA, demystifies the auditing process and shows how audits, while vitally important, are usually a cop-out response from politicians who don’t want to make tough choices.
Episode 7 - Deep Thoughts with Bob - Conservative Challenges
Saving Elephants’ guest Bob Burch is back with Josh to discuss the challenges that conservatism faces, the triumph of 20th century progressivism, regulations that regulate regulating regulators, what “neocon” actually means, and sundry other topics so deep even Adele can’t roll in it.   Ever wonder why conservatives sometimes come across as gloomy pessimists?  Bob and Josh delve into what afflicts the conservative’s soul and offer some hopeful remedies.   Lastly, as promised, here’s a link to Mark Steyn singing I Tawt I Taw A Puddy Tat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNbmLIW8PmA
Episode 32 - #PrinciplesFirst with Heath Mayo
In an age where much of the Right is embracing nationalism, populism, and the cult of personality that is Trumpism, some are beginning to ask themselves what being a conservative even means anymore?  But few have gone further to reinforce the idea that conservatism is about putting principles over party loyalty or allegiance to any one individual than Heath Mayo.  Heath joins Saving Elephants host Josh Lewis to discuss the #PrinciplesFirst movement and how it’s shaping what it means to be a conservative by developing a vision for the future without abandoning the principles of the past.   Heath Mayo is a native of East Texas and currently a management consultant at Bain & Company where he helps some of the country's largest companies solve their strategic challenges.  He did his undergraduate work at Brown University where he pitched on the baseball team and graduated from Yale Law School this past May.  Politically, Heath is a self-described conservative activist and most recently traveled to New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida volunteering for Marco Rubio's presidential campaign.   During the build-up to the 2019 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Heath became frustrated over the line-up of speakers who did not represent the conservative movement he was immersed in during college but instead embodied a group who did not tolerate competing ideas or calls to principles over party.  Heath tweeted—jokingly—that conservatives who were still interested in putting principles first should meet separately during CPAC and the tweet went viral.  Ever since then Heath has been facilitating meetings with conservatives across the U.S. who are interested in restoring the movement.  These sessions are held under the banner #PrinciplesFirst.   #PrinciplesFirst sessions are designed to be 2-hour brainstorming sessions that bring together the most energized folks with the goal of (1) determining what a modern definition of conservatism is—what its principles are and how those principles might map onto a modern conservative agenda, and (2) developing a plan of action that can actually elevate those principles back into the national discussion which have fallen out of favor on the right as personalities have gotten bigger and crowded out an idea-driven discourse.   You can follow Heath on Twitter @HeathMayo
Episode 20 - Property Rights with Christina Sandefur
Libertarian lawyer Christina Sandefur joins the show to share her passion for defending your right to private property.  Who benefits when governments protect private property?  The super wealthy?  Landowners?  Corporations?  Or all of us?  Just how important are property rights?  Are they some antiquated concoction that made since when most of us were farmers, or is it possible this often overlooked right holds the key to what it means to enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?  Find out here.   Christina is the Executive Vice President at the Goldwater Institute.  She also develops policies and litigates cases advancing healthcare freedom, free enterprise, free speech, right to try, taxpayer rights, and, of course, private property rights.  Christina has won important victories for property rights in Arizona and works nationally to promote the Institute's Private Property Rights Protection Act, a state-level reform that requires government to pay owners when regulations destroy property rights and reduce property values.  She is also a co-drafter of the 40-state Right to Try initiative, now federal law, which protects terminally ill patients' right to try safe investigational treatments that have been prescribed by their physician but are not yet FDA approved for market.   In 2016 Christina co-authored Cornerstone of Liberty: Private Property Rights in 21st Century America along with her husband Timothy.  Their book charts the decline of property rights in the United States since the time of the founding to the infamous Kelo Supreme Court decision and where that leaves us today.   Christina is a frequent guest on national television shows, radio programs, and podcasts.  She has provided expert legal testimony to various legislative committees, and is a frequent speaker at conferences.  Her litigation and policy work has been featured in National Review, The Washington Post, Human Events, The American Spectator, and The Weekly Standard, among others.   You can learn more about her work at the Goldwater Institute.
Episode 44 - America's Greatest (and Worst) Presidents - Part 2
Who were America’s Greatest Presidents?  Which Presidents had the most lasting impacts that shaped the country in ways that are clearly visible today?  What about those Presidents whose blunders, incompetence, or weakness left the nation worse off?   Saving Elephants host Josh Lewis is joined by frequent guest Bob Burch as they work their way through the American Presidents and dissect their legacy—whether great, terrible, or somewhere in-between.  Since this is an enormous topic it’s broken up into three episodes.  Part 1 covered Presidents George Washington through Abraham Lincoln.  In Part 2 Josh and Bob pick things up with Andrew Johnson through Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  And in Part 3, in next week's episode, Josh and Bob conclude with Harry S. Truman through Jimmy Carter (the last of the Presidents to serve before Millennials were born).  
Bonus Episode – Millennials and the GOP with Kristen Soltis Anderson
The incomparable Kristen Soltis Anderson joins Saving Elephants host Josh Lewis to discuss a plethora of topics from the GOP’s branding problem with young Americans, what messaging might appeal to Millennials, whether Millennials are Leftists, and the value of polling.   Kristen is a pollster, speaker, commentator, and author of The Selfie Vote: Where Millennials Are Leading America (And How Republicans Can Keep Up).   Kristen is co-founder of Echelon Insights, an opinion research and analytics firm that serves brands, trade associations, nonprofits, and political clients.  Through her work at Echelon, she regularly advises corporate and government leaders on polling and messaging strategy, and has become one of the foremost experts on the Millennial generation.  Kristen is also a frequent speaker to corporate and political audiences about emerging public opinion trends.   Kristen is a regular presence on television news and has served as an ABC News political analyst, participating in their election night coverage in 2016.  She regularly appears on programs such as MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Fox News’ Fox News Sunday, CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper and HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher.   Kristen is the host of SiriusXM’s “The Trendline with Kristen Soltis Anderson,” airing weekly on their POTUS politics channel.  She also co-hosts the bipartisan weekly podcast, “The Pollsters,” featuring Democratic pollster Margie Omero.  She is a regular columnist for The Washington Examiner and has written for The Washington Post, The New York Times and more.   In 2016, Kristen was named one of ELLE’s “Most Compelling Women in Washington,” and in 2013 she was named one of TIME’s “30 Under 30 Changing the World”. She has been featured in Marie Claire’s “New Guard”, Cosmopolitan, and Glamour.   Kristen served as a Resident Fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics in 2014 and has been an invited speaker at many colleges and universities.  She received her Master’s Degree in Government from Johns Hopkins University (with “Best Thesis in the Area of Democratic Processes” honors) and her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Florida.   Kristen is currently a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.  She serves on the advisory boards of a variety of companies as well as a number of nonprofit organizations including ClearPath, Service Year Alliance, the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, and Winning for Women.   Originally from Orlando, Florida, Kristen now resides in Washington, DC with her husband Chris and her golden retriever Wally. In her free time, she enjoys growing chili peppers and cheering for the Florida Gators.  
Episode 39 - Variety vs Equality
Join Josh Lewis and Bob Burch as they explore the surprisingly nuanced idea of equality and show why conservatives have valued variety over equality.   Visions of the future are often replete with uniformity not (currently) seen on earth.  Star Trek foretells a future in which barriers of culture, religion, class, nationalities, and politics have given way to global unity at times extending beyond even the human race.  The conservative recognizes that such a world wouldn’t be one of living long and prospering, but an authoritarian dystopia obliterating the varieties that make civilization a possibility.   The conservative is a wet blanket on starry-eyed fantasies of a world where distinctions in  currency, class, and cultures melt away.  The conservative is that dreary realist in the room crushing dreams of a society in which human equality has been extended to both outcomes and incomes.  The conservative is a killjoy who scoffs at notions of a government capable of administering perfect social justice.  But, in the end, it is the conservative who defends with his dying breath Beauty and Virtue in danger of succumbing to some radical’s ideological vision of a cold, narrowing world of equality.   It may sound laudable to insist on a broad definition of equality for all, but the conservative rightly recognizes the institution of government is ill-equipped to carry out this lofty goal.  Much like wantonly declaring there will be peace leaves a nation all the more vulnerable to war, declaring there will be no inequalities leaves a people vulnerable to the machinations of social experimentation.  Noble Laureate Milton Friedman, in his 1978 lecture at Stanford University, observed that “a society that aims for equality before liberty will end up with neither equality nor liberty.  And a society that aims first for liberty will not end up with equality, but it will end up with a closer approach to equality than any other system that has ever been developed.”   Because conservatives hold that mankind is as much a spiritual creation as a biological organism, they reject efforts to bring about a social utopia through mechanical or scientific means.  Such attempts to reduce men to machines is seen in the progressive visions depicting our future.  Individuality is swallowed up in uniformity to such a degree that everyone wears a similar uniform in a society where all racial, religious, and cultural differences on entire planets are obliterated.  The last “prejudices” that exist are between alien races.  Uniformity, a classless society, the obliteration of cultural diversity—such is the endgame of a worldview devoid of the constraints of conservatism.  Yet history has shown us time and again, these lofty aims inevitably lead to new and even more savage forms of inequalities.
Episode 22 - Stop "Supporting" Trump
I want you to stop supporting Trump.  Seriously.  Stop it right now.   You can like the president.  You can love the president.  You can agree with the president’s judicial and cabinet appointments, his handling of the economy, foreign affairs, domestic policies, and the like.  Heck, you can even adore his outlandish, brash tweets both before and after becoming president.  But, for the love of all that is good and holy, please stop supporting the president!   I suppose I could understand how someone who agrees with what the president is doing would say they “support” him, just as someone who disagrees would say they “oppose” him.  But—to be honest—it’s never really crossed my mind to support or oppose Trump.  Quite frankly, I believe doing either is a dangerous oversimplification of our civic duty.   Perhaps you’re thinking I’m getting all hung up on some trivial semantic.  What difference does it make?  Well, there was a time when expressing support of a president would have simply been understood to mean one supported the president’s agenda as it was currently understood and would likely vote for them again.  but that does not appear to be a valid option in today’s political climate.   Words and their meanings do evolve over time.  We no longer presume that someone described as “gay” refers to their jolly disposition.  Calling someone a “liberal” today means something quite different than it did in the early days of the American republic, when “liberal” referred to support for natural rights and government of the people over authoritarian monarchy.   And in the context of our current political climate it is extremely important we discern what being a “Trump supporter” actually means.  I don’t mean that it’s meaningless to support the president; but I do mean that the way in which that word is commonly used today carries with some dangerous connotations.  Namely, “support” isn’t specific enough and, more and more, it’s coming to mean unquestioning fealty in a manner that was never required of conservatives in the past.   In this episode I take a deep dive into the shallow politics surrounding the support/oppose model of looking at the president and examine why this way of looking at the world is contrary to the conservative worldview.  
Episode 1 - Welcome to Saving Elephants
Saving Elephants host Josh Lewis welcomes listeners as he addresses what they can expect to hear and expect to not hear in future episodes and his motives for launching Saving Elephants.
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Podcast Details
Started
Mar 30th, 2018
Latest Episode
Dec 17th, 2019
Release Period
Weekly
No. of Episodes
54
Avg. Episode Length
About 1 hour
Explicit
No

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