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:

Bonus Episode – Supreme Court Rundown with Ilya Shapiro

What are the prospects of the United States Supreme Court taking up an abortion-related case in the near future? What methodologies do the justices use in deciding cases? Why does President Trump pick his nominees for the Supreme Court from a list provided by the Federalist Society? Who better to ask than Ilya Shapiro of the Federalist Society? Shapiro came to Tulsa to deliver a lecture to the Tulsa Federalist Society and Saving Elephants host Josh Lewis took the opportunity when Shapiro was in town to pick his brain over a slew of Supreme Court questions such as these. About Ilya Shapiro Ilya Shapiro is the director of the Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies at the Cato Ins

How does a Conservative differ from a Liberal? Part 4 (The Missing Myth)

Prior to classical liberalism, people living in Western societies were largely enslaved to the arbitrary powers of church and state. Preferring order to anarchy, nation-states developed complex power structures where authority was divvyed between unelected and unaccountable monarchs and the priestly class. This does not mean that all those in authority abused their power; but it wouldn’t be hard to imagine instances in which abuses transpired. Worse still, this system could be notoriously chaotic during transitions of power or disagreements between competing authorities. While this system endured and even flourished for centuries, there came a time when much of Europe was fed up with reli

The French War: A Lockean Ways In

The following was written by guest blogger Justin Stapley. His bio appears at the the end of the post. Last month here at the Saving Elephants blog, my good friend Josh Lewis weighed in on the growing conflict among American conservatives over the continuing viability of classical liberal ideas. I agree with many things in his piece. Observers of this ever-increasing conflict might find it interesting to note that while Josh admits he is “compelled by the Burkean form of conservatism more than the Lockean variety” I am a declared classical liberal grounded firmly in the Lockean tradition. This reality is striking considering the debate over “Frenchism” appears to be between Burkean and L

How does a Conservative differ from a Liberal? Part 3 (Footloose and Fancy-Free)

Years ago, comedian and director Woody Allen had the legendary conservative icon William F. Buckley on his TV show. The audience was invited to ask questions of either of them when someone asked: “Mr. Allen, in your terms, what does liberal mean?” Woody Allen responded: “Liberal [pause] well, you’ve got me on this [another pause] I, um, if—let me—if a girl will neck with me, she’s liberal. If Mr. Buckley will neck with me, he’s very liberal.” That One Thing Liberals Can Agree On I began both Part 1 and Part 2 of this series differentiating between progressive and classical liberals, so I won’t subject the reader to yet another lengthy explanation here. However, I do want to clarify one t

Episode 36 - Books Every Conservative Should Read

Saving Elephants has got your summer reading list covered! In this episode Josh walks through classic, foundational books that every conservative should read, as well as some great books that speak to Millennials in particular. Ranging from pithy and digestible to massive, complex, and dry, Josh gives a brief outline of the book and shares why it’s important to understanding conservatism. While summer is traditionally reserved for light reading, it can also be the perfect time of year to tear into something quite challenging. Reading hard books—if they’re good books—can sharpen our minds and develop our character. Even reading of people with strong character can develop our character. A

How does a Conservative differ from a Liberal? Part 2 (What is “Liberty”?)

In Part 1, I tried to show how comparing and contrasting conservatism with liberalism is far more challenging than first meets the eye. This is partially due to the difficulty in nailing down what we mean by “liberal”. There are two variations of liberalism: progressives and Lockean or classical liberals. In the parlance of our times, progressives are what we might call Leftists. Progressives are concerned with equality and social justice and often see the state as a practical and even moral tool in righting perceived wrongs. Progressives might insist that, in order for their perception of justice to prevail, the state will need to exercise control over individuals. Progressivism often

How does a Conservative differ from a Liberal? Part 1 (What is Liberalism?)

When I shared with a friend that I was thinking about doing a series on how conservatism differs from liberalism they responded that should be easy enough since conservatism and liberalism were exact opposites. If only. Actually, the only true “opposite” to conservatism would be radicalism since where one aims to conserve while the other aims to demolish and what they aim to conserver/demolish is based entirely on the context of time, place, and culture. Comparing and contrasting conservatism to liberalism is very challenging for many reasons. Such as? I’m glad you asked: First, there’s the challenge of overcoming a category error. Conservatism is a worldview—a lens for looking at realit

Episode 35 - The Theft of a Decade with Joseph Sternberg

“There are burglaries and heists and capers and robberies, but few thefts in history can match what Baby Boomers have done to Millennials since 2008: they stole their children’s economic futures right out from under them.” So says Joseph Sternberg, editorialist and columnist for the Wall Street Journal and author of the new book The Theft of a Decade: How the Baby Boomers Stole the Millennials’ Economic Future. One generation looking down on another is all to common these days. Yet, in spite of the book’s provocative title, Joseph’s arguments are surprisingly nuanced and even sympathetic to Boomers. Both Millennials and Boomers came of age and entered the workforce at a time when the econ