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:

The Preeminence of Prudence – Part 4 (Prudence in Practice)

“Conservatives are guided by their principle of PRUDENCE.” Russell Kirk – Ten Conservative Principles Conservative thinkers have long echoed the teachings of the ancients that, when it comes to politics, prudence is the chief among virtues. As we saw in Part 2, prudence acts as a bridge between intellectual and moral virtues—linking the head with the heart. Prudence also restrains our passions, which is an enormously important trait for the leaders we entrust with power. And, in Part 3, we saw how prudence stands between moderation and absolutism, allowing us to get things done while being mindful of what things ought to be done. Perhaps even more importantly, prudence instructs us on wh

Five Practical Steps for Saving Western Civilization

For those of us who enjoy talking politics, conversations with likeminded friends often involve a certain degree of whimsical solving the world’s problems. I say whimsical because we know good and well whatever solutions we offer up aren’t actually going to be put into practice in full force because—for starters—we’re not in charge. These conversations have an air of ill-fated hope, much like friends who divulge what they’d do if they just happened to win the lottery. It’s never going to happen, but it can be fun to dream. On the other hand, the dream can turn into a nightmare. For we might be genuinely concerned about the state of things—the health of our local community, the financial

Episode 31 - We The People

Politicians are fond of talking about “the people.” But who are “the people”? That might sound like a nonsensical question but—it turns out—there are a lot of presuppositions baked into the concept of “the people” and much of the divide between the Right and the Left begins here. Identifying “the people” leads us to other important questions, such as: Who speaks on behalf of “the people”? And what system of government or society can best represent their interests and protect their rights? In much of our political rhetoric today we are told that the most democratic expressions best represent “the people”. But what lurks behind the belief a direct, popular vote is somehow in the best inte

The Preeminence of Prudence – Part 3 (Means and Ends)

“Conservatives are guided by their principle of PRUDENCE.” Russell Kirk – Ten Conservative Principles From ancient times to modern, many political theorists and philosophers believed that prudence was the “chief” political virtue. Since conservatism is largely the act of conserving the wisdom and ideas of the past and applying them to today, many modern conservative thinkers have echoed similar sentiments (as I discussed in Part 1). This doesn’t mean they viewed other virtues—such as courage, discernment, moderation, or integrity—as unimportant in our leaders. It means prudence was considered chief among them. Other virtues may receive higher praise in the spiritual realm (such as St. Pa

The Preeminence of Prudence – Part 2 (What the Heck is Prudence?)

“Conservatives are guided by their principle of PRUDENCE.” Russell Kirk – Ten Conservative Principles In Part 1 we noted how a great many thinkers from ancient to classical to modern times often vaunted the virtue of prudence and how some even considered it to be the chief public or political virtue. I doubt there is much debate about whether prudence continues to enjoy this lofty position today. Some may even view prudence as more of a prudish hinderance to progress than a desirable trait in our leaders. So, what changed? Do we live in an era where prudence is no longer virtuous—or, perhaps, no longer beneficial? Were those who came before us wrongheaded or do we lack the ability to ap

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

The Preeminence of Prudence – Part 1 (Chief Among Virtues)

“Conservatives are guided by their principle of PRUDENCE.” Russell Kirk – Ten Conservative Principles What would you say is the most important virtue our political leaders could possess? Is it charisma, the art of persuasion, the ability to move the nation to action? Is it courage and a steady hand in the face of impossible odds? Is it dependability, honesty, and integrity that would keep them humble servants of the people? What about intelligence, a quick mind, and a strong vision for the future? 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? How Did Our Ancestors Answer