Episode 74 – Conserving Liberalism
What is the opposite of conservatism? It’s liberalism, right? Well…it’s not quite that simple. Saving Elephants host Josh Lewis goes guestless in this episode to take a deep dive into the good, the bad, and the ugly of liberalism and to explain why liberalism, far from being the opposite of conservatism, is actually much of what conservatism is trying to conserve.
But to get there we first need to untangle what we mean by liberalism. What is liberalism? What is the goal of liberalism? What are they “liberal” about? What is the difference between modern-day or progressive liberals and the classical liberalism of the past? What does liberalism and conservatism have in common? How are they different? Why are they always fighting? And why would conservatives want to conserve liberalism?
Is liberalism the same as being on the Left and conservatism the same as being on the Right? Is the Declaration of Independence a liberal or conservative document? What is liberty? How did the ancients understand liberty and how might that differ with how we understand it today? What do we mean by rights? Where do rights come from, and how are they protected?
What do classical to contemporary thinkers on the Right, such as John Locke, Russell Kirk, Roger Scruton, Patrick Deneen, Sohrab Ahmari, and David French, have to say about liberalism? Is liberalism sufficient for liberty or does society require something more to maintain order? Does liberalism contain the seeds of its own destruction? What is the “myth” of liberalism and how is it different from traditional conservative myths? And why can’t Woody Allen neck with William F. Buckley? Learn all that and more in the episode.
Here are some links referenced in the show:
William F. Buckley on Woody Allen’s show
Blog post: French-ism and the Looming Conservative Civil War
Saving Elephants Episode 27 - What's so Positive about Negative Rights?
Saving Elephants Episode 59 – Podcasting Orphans with Andrew Heaton
Saving Elephants Episode 68 – Divided We Fall with David French