- Josh Lewis
Non-Famous Millennial Conservatives You Should Know
Updated: Jul 20, 2021
Ask someone to name a Millennial conservative and they’re likely to reply with names like Ben Shapiro or Allie Stuckey or—shudder—Charlie Kirk. But, as I learned long ago when I was learning to play the banjo and sought out bluegrass musicians, sometimes fame and talent do not go hand in hand and there are often pockets of people obscured from the general public who are nonetheless contributing much to their craft.
Over the past several years I’ve had the privilege of making some connections through Saving Elephants with young conservatives who you’ve probably never heard about but are definitely worth getting to know. What they lack in fame they more than make up for in substance, insight, passion, and wit. While I’m certain there are many others who I’ve neglected to include, here is a brief listing—in no particular order—of those who come to mind:
Avi is a well-rounded and insightful writer, editor, translator, and podcaster whose work has been published in Arc Digital, Commentary, National Review, The Bulwark, and The Dispatch. He is chief editor of the online Medium publication Conservative Pathways, and he—in his words—"hopes to help forge a path for a conservatism which is relevant for the 21st century while not abandoning the best of past wisdom.”
I’ve certainly found that to be the case as Avi is constantly looking beyond the surface-level debates we often hear and boldly asking probing and, sometimes, uncomfortable questions to seek out the truth of the matter and consider the long-term consequences of the decisions we make today. This was evident in both of the conversations I’ve had with Avi on the podcast: the first in which he explored the need for conservatism to find a way to appeal to people who live in urban areas in Episode 26 – Urban Conservatism and the second in which he mulled over the love/hate relationship the Right has long had with institutions of higher education in Episode 49 – God and the Speechless at Yale.
Avi hosts his own podcast entitled Avi’s Conversational Corner, a podcast on culture, history, and politics in a broad perspective. You can find Avi on Twitter @AviWoolf. His tweets are thought-provoking and, sometimes, unexpectedly hilarious.
A prolific writer and thoughtful tweeter, Justin and I simultaneously began working on similar projects to fight for a restoration of political principles in the American political process shortly after the 2016 election. Whereas everything I’ve done since that time has been under the Saving Elephants banner, Justin has launched multiple websites and written for many affiliate groups. Justin has both written for and launched more blogsites than I have time to compile a complete list.
Last I checked, his latest website is the apply named justinstapley.com which links to his various endeavors, including a contributing advocate and writer for the Federalist Coalition, an advocacy journalist at NOQ Report, an opinion columnist at Porter Medium, the founder and editor of The Liberty Hawk, and the Shooting Editor at Spencer Durrant Outdoors and will be a co-host for the up-and-coming Spencer Durrant Outdoors Podcast. Speaking of podcasts, earlier this month Justin launched his own podcast called The New Centrist and I’m excited to see where he takes it. In addition to politics, his writings include recreational shooting, hunting, fishing, and self-defense.
Justin describes himself as a “liberty-minded conservative and member of the Republican Party” whose “principles and beliefs are grounded in the idea of ordered liberty as expressed in the traditions of classical liberalism, federalism, and modern conservatism.” I too share his penchant for balancing order and liberty though, at the risk of oversimplifying, I lean more towards the “order/conservatism” side of the scale whereas he’s closer to the “liberty/classical liberalism” end.
Not only has Justin appeared on my podcast in Episode 30 – Fusionism, but he’s also contributed a couple of blog posts to Saving Elephants, first in contrasting Trump to Reagan then in weighing in on the French/Ahmari wars that erupted within conservative circles last year. You can find Justin on Twitter @JustinWStapley.
A successful biology consultant, technical writer, and researcher, Rachel left her promising career in academia when she began to question the feminist mindset she had embraced up through her thirties. Over the past several years, Rachel has been on a social, political, religious, and spiritual journey, applying her sincere and serious critical thinking skills to the underlying assumptions that held up the various aspects of her feminist worldview. She has since moved closer to a worldview not at all unlike conservatism (I’ll let her decide on the most appropriate “label” to use).
I encountered Rachel on Twitter and was immediately drawn to the earnest, vulnerable, and insightful way in which she writes. Evidently, I wasn’t the only one who thought so as her year-old account grows by thousands monthly. Rachel has an open and thoughtful way of sharing her journey from one end of the political spectrum to another and the kind of background that lends her credence when she speaks.
Rumor has it she may be launching a YouTube channel soon. For now, you can finder her on Twitter @RachelBock9 and her website. And you can check out my interview with her describing her journey from feminism in Episode 38 – Rational Femininity.
Kyle co-hosts the Conservative Minds podcast with Corey Astillck. They describe the podcast as a place “dedicated to examining conservative intellectual history to determine the core values of American conservatism. What does it mean to call yourself a conservative? What did it mean in prior times and how did we get where we are today?” To answer these questions, they read the works of conservative political thinkers from the past and present. In each episode selected readings are discussed as they investigate the argument of a particular prominent conservative.
Essentially, listening to an episode of their podcast is like getting the skinny on an entire book written by a noteworthy conservative thinker. Their podcast has definitely helped expand my awareness on the broadness within the conservative worldview and introduced me to some important authors and concepts. If you’d like to know more about conservatism but don’t have time to read massive books this is an excellent resource (next to Saving Elephants, of course!).
Kyle joined me in Episode 29 – Conservative Minds to discuss the podcast he co-hosts and a wide range of political issues. In addition to podcasting, Kyle is an attorney and senior contributor to The Federalist. His writings have also been published in National Review, the Washington Examiner, the Hardball Times, University Bookman, and Arc Digital. You can follow Kyle on Twitter @KyleSammin.
Bryan is a professor of philosophy and apologetics at Boyce College and the program director of both philosophy, politics, and economics and the Christian worldview and apologetics. I’ve had Bryan on the podcast twice now, once to discuss how his conservative worldview developed after college in Episode 25 – Developing Your Worldview and then to get his insights on the importance of beauty in our lives in Episode 41 – Why Beauty Matters. In both instances I’ve found him to be incredibly warm and personable.
I first encountered Bryan on a discussion thread in a Facebook group. I messaged him later to ask a few follow-up questions. He was a big fan of Roger Scruton, whose books I had not read, and I wanted his take on where I should begin. He also introduced me to the writings of Patrick Deneen and Yuval Levin—two other writers I was familiar with but had not taken the time to read. Bryan attributes much of his political thinking to the writings of Roger Scruton, who passed away earlier this month. Bryan’s eulogies for Scruton were published in The Gospel Coalition and the ERLC.
Bryan is currently working on two book: one about beauty and another about introducing the conservative worldview to a non-academic audience. You can find him on Twitter @bryanbaise.
Joseph works on the editorial board of The Wall Street Journal, where he writes the Political Economics column. Though not famous, he’s probably the most well-established individual in this list as he’s worked for an internationally syndicated newspaper for almost a decade and a half. In 2019 he published his first book: The Theft of a Decade: How the Baby Boomers Stole the Millennials’ Economic Future, which we discussed in Episode 35 – The Theft of a Decade.
“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,” to quote from the book. Yet, despite 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 economy was suffering. However, Boomers learned all the wrong economic lessons of their childhood by mistaking economic outputs (rising wages, an explosion in home ownership, pensions, healthcare, etc.) with economic inputs (investing in the equipment, labor, and knowledge that drove the economy).
As a result, Boomers have largely been pursuing economic policies designed to re-create the robust economy of their youth. But because they’ve been focused on the wrong end of the spectrum (outputs instead of inputs) much of their efforts have led to distortions in the market that have had a profoundly negative impact on their children—the Millennial generation.
Millennials are anxious to break outside of the narrow lane created by the Boomer generation as we perceive we aren’t doing that well economically. And Joseph would definitely agree Millennials have a real beef. Lurching to the Left—as we’ve seen with the rise of socialism and politicians like Bernie Sanders and AOC—is one way to break outside of that lane. But Joseph is hopeful Millennials will find more market-friendly and pro-capitalist means of breaking outside of the narrow lane created by our parents’ generation. And he invites us to engage in the generation-wide conversation of what economic policies make sense for us today. And that conversation begins with a better understanding of what our parents got wrong in the first place.
You can find Joseph on Twitter @josephsternberg or on his website.
I recently connected with this anonymous YouTuber over Twitter messaging. Though technically not a Millennial—he’s still in college—I was blown away by how much genuine conservative thought he’d digested in such a short amount of time. We appear to be on very similar journeys down the intellectual rabbit hole of conservative thought, only he’s getting started WAY earlier in life than I had.
His YouTube channel has an impressive 126,000 subscribers and the videos run the gamut of conservative ideas from podcasts discussing current events and political philosophy to special issues such as the 2nd Amendment and trickle-down economics. Recently the channel published a five-part series spanning six hours on the importance of civil society and the dangers of losing it. The series does an excellent job distilling the core message of many conservative thinkers today who are concerned with America’s loss of civic institutions and our challenges in rebuilding them.
He’s one of the few people on this list who I’ve not yet had on the show, but you can check out his YouTube channel Political Juice and find him on Twitter @Political_Juice.
Speaking of people I haven’t yet had on the show, Caroline produces and hosts Acton Line, the official podcast of the Acton Institute. The podcast is “dedicated to the promotion of a free and virtuous society” and brings together “writers, economists, religious leaders, and more to bridge the gap between good intentions and sound economics.” The podcast produces episodes on an incredibly wide range of issues and features interviews with guests who are both noteworthy and knowledgeable on the subject matter. Episodes are rarely more than half an hour, and sometimes that can include multiple topics. So, if you’re in a rush or have a short commute, you can still squeeze it in.
I had the opportunity to visit with Caroline earlier this month and was impressed with her earnestness and natural host-like ability to listen and keep the focus of the conversation on the other. She described herself as someone who wasn’t initially interested in politics but has grown increasingly strong in her convictions and the degree of importance she assigns those convictions through her work and association with the Acton Institute.
You can follow Caroline on Twitter @Carolinerbrts.
Heath is a Yale graduate and management consultant at Bain & Company where he helps some of the country's largest companies solve their strategic challenges. Politically, Heath is a self-described “conservative activist” and traveled to New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida volunteering for Marco Rubio's presidential campaign in 2016.
During the build-up to the 2019 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Heath became frustrated over the line-up of speakers who did not represent the conservative movement he was immersed in during college but instead embodied a group who did not tolerate competing ideas or calls to principles over party. Heath tweeted—jokingly—that conservatives who were still interested in putting principles first should meet separately during CPAC and the tweet went viral. Ever since then Heath has been facilitating meetings with conservatives across the U.S. who are interested in restoring the movement. These sessions are held under the banner #PrinciplesFirst. Heath joined me for Episode 32 – #PrinciplesFirst to discuss the movement and how it’s shaping what it means to be a conservative by developing a vision for the future without abandoning the principles of the past.
In an age where much of the Right is embracing nationalism, populism, and the cult of personality that is Trumpism, some are beginning to ask themselves what being a conservative even means anymore. But few have gone further to reinforce the idea that conservatism is about putting principles over party loyalty or allegiance to any one individual than Heath. You can follow Heath on Twitter @HeathMayo.
Peter is an aspiring journalist and host of the Happy Warrior Podcast and the Happy Warrior YouTube channel, which are platforms that express his journalistic and intellectual Conservatarian commentary on the news of the day from a more positive perspective.
Peter earned his Master’s in journalism, but a chronic illness known as Chronic Pancreatitis causing intractable pain and disability has made it challenging for him to fully pursue his passion in journalism. He attributes his interest in journalism, politics, and news-making to his chronic condition as he devoted time to research topics more closely and voraciously consume books about media bias and journalism by John Stossel, Bernard Goldberg, Jonah Goldberg, and others.
In addition to podcasting, journalism, and politics, Peter’s passions include patient advocacy for those suffering from chronic conditions, particularly chronic pain. He’s recently begun doing charitable patient advocacy with chronic pain patients (primarily with social media). This year, due to struggling with untreated intractable pain and an article he wrote on the topic for The Federalist, he decided to get involved with providing comfort and advice to chronic pain patients. Specifically, Peter has become very passionate and vocal about the chronic pain aspect of the opioid crisis.
While we didn’t have time to cover his insights on the opioid crisis or chronic pain conditions in the US, Peter did join me in Episode 42 - Media Bias to talk about journalism. You can follow his Happy Warrior Twitter account @HappyWarriorP.
Benji Backer and Danielle Butcher
This dynamic due was recently listed on Forbes 30 Under 30 for their work on environmental and conservation issues. Benji and Danielle co-founded the American Conservation Coalition, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and empowering conservatives to re-engage in environmental conversations. Since ACC’s founding in June 2017, Benji and Danielle have worked relentlessly to educate conservatives on why they should be embracing clean energy sources and advocate for legislation that allows these energies to thrive. I’m currently working to schedule both Benji and Danielle in future episodes.
Benji—who’s technically too young to be a Millennial—has been spreading his organization’s message far and wide, including testifying before a joint session of Congress addressing climate change concerns in September of 2019 and appearing on the Today Show earlier this month. You can follow Benji on Twitter @BenjiBacker.
Danielle’s writings have appeared in NPR, The Times, and Vox. Prior to cofounding ACC she did work with TPUSA and Future Female Leaders of America. She can be found on Twitter @DaniSButcher.