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  • Writer's pictureJosh Lewis

116 – Fifty Conservative Thinkers

In an age where what passes for the archetype conservative are the likes of Candace Owens, Bill Mitchell, Sean Hannity, Matt Gaetz, Tomi Lahren, and Donald Trump, it can be discouraging for those of us who take pride in the rich legacy and colorful history of thinkers on the Right to be associated with such grifters, demagogues, and charlatans.

Trying to define conservatism is challenging and trying to compile a list of individuals who best exemplify conservatism is problematic. Yet this is becoming increasingly important in a world where “conservatism” is quickly being coopted by reactionary nationalist populists who have little to nothing in common with the namesake.

In this episode Saving Elephants host Josh Lewis offers his list of conservative thinkers well worthy of your time and attention.


This list is imperfect and incomplete. If I were to revisit the list next year or possibly even next week, I’m sure there are plenty of names I’d believe should supplant the names here. Some of these individuals may even be uncomfortable with the label “conservative”, though they all share aspects of the broader conservative worldview. The names below are not listed in order of preference or importance, but they are all insightful and noteworthy.

The fifty individuals discussed in this episode are noted below. If you’d like to learn more about each one you can check out the original blog post of Fifty Conservative Thinkers for a brief bio and links.

Josh’s (Incomplete) List of Fifty Conservative Thinkers Worth Your Time

  1. Edmund Burke

  2. Milton Friedman

  3. Wilhelm Röpke

  4. David Bahnsen

  5. F.A. Hayek

  6. John Adams

  7. Frederick Douglass

  8. Thomas Sowell

  9. James Madison

  10. Barry Goldwater

  11. Ronald Reagan

  12. Bradley J. Birzer

  13. Russell Kirk

  14. Matthew Continetti

  15. David French

  16. Gertrude Himmelfarb

  17. George Nash

  18. Stephen J. Tonsor

  19. Roger Scruton

  20. Jacques Ellul

  21. Whittaker Chambers

  22. Michael Oakeshott

  23. Eric Voegelin

  24. Timothy Carney

  25. C.S. Lewis

  26. G.K. Chesterton

  27. Jonah Goldberg

  28. Wendell Berry

  29. T.S. Eliot

  30. Ross Douthat

  31. Mary Eberstadt

  32. M. Stanton Evans

  33. Irving Kristol

  34. George Will

  35. William F. Buckley

  36. Kristen Soltis Anderson

  37. Robert Nisbet

  38. Carly Fiorina

  39. Arthur Brooks

  40. Marian Tupy

  41. Charles Marohn

  42. Patrick Deneen

  43. Harry Jaffa

  44. Walter Williams

  45. Frank S. Meyer

  46. Alexis de Tocqueville

  47. Lord Acton

  48. Leo Stauss

  49. Willmoore Kendall

  50. Yuval Levin

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