Saving Elephants – 2018: The Year in Review
As we close out 2018 I thought it would be apropos to take a look back at where Saving Elephants has been this past year.
While the Saving Elephants blog began towards the end of the 2016 presidential election, posts were often released haphazardly as I found the time and interest to write. I suspect there weren’t many of you who checked into the website all that often to see if there just happened to be any updates. As a result, readership didn’t really take off until I established some consistency.
Early into 2018 I committed to writing a blog post ever week. I decided Friday’s would be a good day for each new post and went so far as to hang the terrifying header “Weekly Friday Posts” on the Saving Elephants’ homepage. While it’s doubtful many would notice if I happened to miss a week, this addition motivated me to crank out new material, week after week as I could envision some loyal reader checking in on a Friday, only to be disappointed to see there was nothing new.
Brevity is a talent I don’t naturally possess, particularly when it comes to writing. I joined Twitter last year in hopes it would help me develop a habit of getting my thoughts across in a clear, concise manner. Truthfully, moving to the once-a-week format has been more helpful with this, though I recognize I still have room for improvement. In order to increase the rate at which I produce each post, I’ve had to rethink the way I write and—I hope—it’s ultimately made posts easier to digest. I’ve come to breaking long posts that use to take months into multiple series. Most of them stretch over a three-week period, but one ran for over six weeks (which is a bit much, in retrospect).
As with most endeavors, much of the work takes place behind the scenes. It’d be one thing if I only wrote on my personal feelings on current events, but since I’m attempting to translate the conservative worldview into contemporary vernacular, I tend to spend far more time reading and researching than I do actually writing. Speaking of research, the new Resources tab on the website offers a wide variety of books, podcasts, and websites for anyone interested in where I get my information or would like to learn more.
New posts are divided into three broad categories. First, the Conservative Values category contains pieces designed to explain the conservative worldview. Over the past several years I’ve attempted to tackle each of Russell Kirk’s Ten Conservative Principles in depth by writing an entire series on each of the ten. My favorite addition to this category in 2018 was the four-part How Valuable are Your Values series, which questions the current political approach to recognizing the importance of our values.
Second, the Competing Worldviews category features posts that explores the differences between conservatism and competing worldviews. There are few worldviews conservatives are diametrically opposed to, and I believe it’s important to examine where worldviews agree just as we determine where they differ. Yet sometimes even seemingly tiny differences can result in dangerous results if we’re not careful to think through the implications of our views. In 2018 I tackled the competing worldviews of populism, nationalism, and centrism, as well as respond to another blogger advocating neo-masculinity over conservatism.
Third, the Cornucopia category is where you’ll find additional posts that don’t fit into the categories above. By far, the most popular post I made in 2018 was a four-part series entitled Stop “Supporting” Trump that argued for a little clarity in what exactly we mean by “support” and attempted to point out the dangers in some forms of support.
All in all, I’m proud to say I cranked out a total of 44 posts this year, totaling over 60,000 words. That’s the equivalent of a rather large book (which just may be in the works in the year ahead).
In addition to continuing work on the blog, I also launched a podcast! Debuting on April 1, 2018, the Saving Elephants podcast can be heard on iTunes, Stitcher, GooglePlay, Spotify, and likely several other apps that automatically pick up on podcast feeds. To date, 21 episodes approximating an hour each have dropped, including three bonus episodes.
While the blog and podcast share the same mission and focus, the podcast definitely frees me up to bring additional voices and guests into the mix. We’ve covered topics ranging from conspiracy theories to the role of faith in politics to what makes Western civilization unique to specific issues (such as abortion or property rights) to what conservatism actually means and much more.
Podcasting is so hot right now. As such, I’ve been amazed at the interest and enthusiasm it has generated above and beyond anything the blog has seen so far. I’ve been overwhelmed with the number of friends (and strangers!) who have helped in so many ways. As a rank amateur in broadcasting and audio I know that I have a long way to go still, but I couldn’t have made it even this far without the help of so many of you out there.
I’ve also been excited by the number of guests who’ve taken the time to join me on the show. My good friend Bob Burch definitely gets the award for most frequent guest, joining me on seven shows to date. My friends Mickey Dodson (State Auditor investigator) and Matt Pinnell (future Lt. Governor of Oklahoma) were kind enough to take the time to join me “in studio”. It was great having on Brian Dunning (Skeptoid podcast), Jay Cost (author, journalist, and historian), Kerry Baldwin (Dare to Think podcast), Destry Edwards (Politicide podcast), and Christina Sandefur (libertarian lawyer, author, and speaker).
I have a long list of potential guests in the coming year and so much more to cover, so I hope you’ll keep listening on into 2019.
Saving Elephants will continue to produce great content in both weekly posts and bi-monthly podcasts. As the podcast gains a wider audience it greatly enhances my ability to attract more high-profile guests, so please continue to share the podcast (and blog) with anyone you believe might be interested.
A couple of friends contributed some pieces to the blog over the year, and I’d like to begin working in more guest writers in the coming year. More than anything, I want Saving Elephants to be an informative, enjoyable, and persuadable platform for the conservative cause. If there are things I could be doing differently, or specific topics you’d like me to tackle, I’d love to get your feedback.
I am ever so grateful for the kind words so many of you have shared about this endeavor. I look forward to bigger and better things in the year to come!