The Saving Elephants Blog

Featuring original content on classical conservatism, current affairs, and everything in-between, these weekly blog posts will illustrate how the wisdom of the past can be applied to the challenges of today.  The blog is organized by the following categories: Conservative Values (taking a deep dive into specific conservative ideas), Competing Worldviews (comparing and contrasting conservatism with other worldviews), Trumpism (posts related to the Trump phenomenon), Elections (observations on upcoming and past elections), and Cornucopia (posts that don't fit in the previous categories).

Select a category from the menu, or read the most recent weekly post below:

We the People—Part 2 (Who are “The People?”)

Original artwork by Marisa Draeger Opinion – Politicians are fond of talking about “the people.” In Part 1 of this series I ended with two questions that must be answered before we can reasonably expect politicians to address the needs of “the people”: Namely, who, exactly, are “the people”? And who speaks on their behalf? We’ll address the former question below and save the latter for the next post. There is a curious knee-jerk impulse in America today to over-democratize a conversation such as this—to just take it for granted that “the people” must surely be best represented as democratically as possible. This tendency is apparent once every four years when we have our perennial debate abo

A Brief Bit on the GOP Tax Reform

National Review recently posted an article that captures a lot of my thoughts on the recent tax reform. On a whole, this is a good thing. This reform opens the possibility of further economic growth and a modest break for most of us. As a frequent critic of the president, who has had no major legislative victories to show for after nearly a year in office, this is definitely a win. For that, I congratulate him and the congressional GOP who showed they are in fact capable of passing bills. That said, this tax reform is modest compared to the tax reforms of the 80's. And for good reason: this was passed with zero Democratic input or support. Perhaps that's partially because we're in an era wh

We the People—Part 1

Original artwork by Marisa Draeger We the People—Part 1 Opinion – Several years ago—much to my delight—I stumbled upon the English version of the official website for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea—more commonly referred to as “North Korea” since it isn’t exactly democratic, nor of the people, nor a republic, nor the entire Korean peninsula, but I digress. At first, I assumed it was a satire site, such as the popular DPRK News Service on Twitter. But as I began to explore the website I soon realized the propaganda was dead serious. On the homepage I found the following declaration: “The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is a genuine workers' state in which all the people are c

How does a Conservative differ from an Authoritarian? Part 2

I ended the previous post defining authoritarianism with a loaded question: “are Trump and his followers authoritarians?” To discuss Trump is to invite controversy and throw discretion to the wind; his critics balk at the suggestion he’s anything less than literal-Hitler and his supporters bristle at the slightest slight. As is usually the case, the truth is nestled somewhere between extremities. The gravest danger in the Trump era is that otherwise reasonable, civil adults devolve to political tribalism and never venture outside the silo of media they choose to accept as “fact.” Conservatives reject political tribalism; authoritarians thrive on it. I will say at once that a distinction shou

How does a Conservative differ from an Authoritarian? Part 1

“Authoritarian” is both a description of a political ideology and a pejorative as it has spawned some of the evilest dictatorships in recorded history. This is unfortunate because it makes discussing someone’s flirtations with authoritarianism akin to accusing them of the vilest acts of hatred imaginable. To say someone is an authoritarian isn’t to say they are the next Mussolini or Hitler; decent people can errantly wonder towards authoritarianism, unaware of the dark latency of the views they are advocating. You probably have a friend or relative who espouses—ahem—dubious political views on social media. The satire site The Onion hilariously illustrated this phenomenon in a brief article e

The Art of Losing

This article originally appeared in The Millennial Review Among the legions of hilariously audacious promises Trump made during the 2016 elections came the assurance we’d be winning so much we’d “get so tired of winning.” Now, what ordinarily follows an opening line like the one above is an emphatic statement from Trump supporters that he’s accomplished more than anyone since FDR or from Trump opponents that he’s passed no major legislation while squandering whatever political capital he had on useless Tweeter wars. And each side would come armed with an exhausting list of examples to support their claim. But I’d like to do something different; I’d like to focus not so much on the question o