Episode 37 - Political Nomenclature
Updated: Apr 12, 2020
Saving Elephants host Josh Lewis is joined once more by veteran guest Bob Burch as they attempt to demystify words and concepts used in political conversations.
There are few subjects as likely to lead to a heated disagreement than politics. And, while there are many reasons for this, chief among them is the difficulty in coming up with words to accurately describe different viewpoints. For example, what does conservative really mean? Are we talking about an ideology? Some would say conservatism negates ideology. Is it a political party? That is, would it be fair to call the Republican party the conservative party? But if that’s all there is to it, would it make any difference if the party completely reversed their platform?
Is conservatism just an impulse—a desire to keep things as they are or to return to the past? Surely it must be more than that. And what are we to make of so many people who call themselves conservatives disagreeing with others who call themselves conservatives? When we say conservative are we just talking about a phenomenon in the United States or does the same concept apply overseas? Is an American conservative the same thing as a Russian conservative or a German conservative or even a British conservative? Do all conservatives share the same worldview, philosophy, or political platform? If not, what connects conservatives across the world in any meaningful sense?
Josh and Bob attempt to answer these questions and more, delving into what it means to be a nationalist, liberal, radical, populist, Trumplican, and many other viewpoints. They end with a discussion unique to American conservatism in attempting to understand the term neoconservatism which, while it is often used as a pejorative against war hawks and the Republican establishment, is much more nuanced than first meets the eye.