Elephants on the Rampage’ explores authentic conservatism

ST. GEORGE – A new book by Brigham Young University law student Sara Jarman and BYU political science professor Brent Gilchrist explores the need for politically effective authentic conservatism.

“Elephants on the Rampage – The Eclipse of American Conservatism” was published Oct. 25.

Conservative Americans are having an increasingly difficult time defining what their ideology means, especially after the election of President-elect Donald Trump, Jarman said in a press statement.

“The Republican Party seems in an inner struggle to understand itself and then to communicate this to the American electorate,” she said.

The book explains the necessity to the American polity of a politically effective authentic conservatism, Jarman said. Without conservatism’s reliance upon traditional values, political systems become easily hijacked by demagoguery and other extreme elements.

The book presents an appeal for recognizing and nurturing authentic conservatism in the present that is intended to serve the end of political balance, Jarman said in the statement.

“We explain the necessity of authentic conservatism within modern politics not because we hold conservative tenets to be true or because we are conservatives — we are not,” Jarman said.

“Rather, we maintain that a sufficient element of society must be truly conservative for balance to be maintained, for choice and political stability, for the health of modern politics and their pursuit of the good.”

Maintaining political balance between effectively different and viable alternatives is the key to political stability and the pursuit of truly political ends, being human happiness, Jarman said, and this is a key argument presented in the book.

About the authors:

Jarman is currently a law student at Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School, according to the press statement.

She was previously a journalist and online content manager for KSL.com, an NBC-affiliated news network and website and has published articles in The Daily Caller, The Hill and other publications.

Jarman has worked as a content marketing manager for various businesses and graduated with honors from Brigham Young University.

Gilchrist holds a doctorate in political science and political philosophy from Carleton University. He taught at Brigham Young University, Pittsburg State University and Carleton University.

Gilchrist authored “Cultus Americanus: Varieties of the Liberal Tradition in American Political Culture 1620-1865,” published by Lexington Press in 2006, the statement said.

He taught political philosophy at Utah State University; Gilchrist passed away in September of 2016.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews 


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  • Utahguns December 19, 2016 at 11:08 am

    You will find a balance in society when the differences between Conservatives and Liberals are completely understood. Trump was elected because Americans feel that the core values by which this country was founded on has been demeaned, eroded and negated by the liberals.
    Below is my take on the differences between Conservatives and Liberals…

    10) Conservatives believe that individual Americans have a right to defend themselves and their families with guns and that right cannot be taken away by any method short of a Constitutional Amendment, which conservatives would oppose. Liberals believe by taking arms away from law abiding citizens, they can prevent criminals, who aren’t going to abide by gun control laws, from using guns in the commission of crimes. Problem here is that criminals don’t obey ANY gun laws, therefore criminals must be eliminated.

    9) Conservatives believe that we should live in a color-blind society where every individual is judged on the content of his character and the merits of his actions. On the other hand, liberals believe that it’s ok to discriminate based on race as long as it primarily benefits minority groups.

    8) Conservatives are capitalists and believe that entrepreneurs who amass great wealth through their own efforts are good for the country and shouldn’t be punished for being successful. Liberals are socialists who view successful business owners as people who cheated the system somehow or got lucky. That’s why they don’t respect high achievers and see them as little more than piggy banks for their programs.

    7) Conservatives believe that abortion ends the life of an innocent child and since we believe that infanticide is wrong, we oppose abortion. Most liberals, despite what they’ll tell you, believe that abortion ends the life of an innocent child, but they prefer killing the baby to inconveniencing the mother.

    6) Conservatives believe in confronting and defeating enemies of the United States before they can harm American citizens. Liberals believe in using law enforcement measures to deal with terrorism, which means that they feel we should allow terrorists to train, plan, and actually attempt to kill Americans before we try to arrest them — as if you can just send the police around to pick up a terrorist mastermind hiding in Iran or the wilds of Pakistan.

    5) Conservatives, but not necessarily Republicans (which is unfortunate), believe it’s vitally important to the future of the country to reduce the size of government, keep taxes low, balance the budget, and get this country out of debt. Liberals, and Democrats for that matter, believe in big government, high taxes, and they have never met a new spending program they didn’t like, whether we will have to go into debt to pay for it or not.

    4) Conservatives believe that government, by its very nature, tends to be inefficient, incompetent, wasteful, and power hungry. That’s why Conservatives believe that the government that governs least, governs best. Liberals think that the solution to every problem is another government program. Even when those new programs create new problems, often worse than the ones that were being fixed in the first place, the solution is always….you guessed it, another government program.

    3) Conservatives are patriotic, believe that America is a great nation, and are primarily interested in looking out for the good of the country. That’s why we believe in “American exceptionalism” and “America first.” Liberals are internationalists who are more concerned about what Europeans think of us and staying in the good graces of the corrupt bureaucrats who control the UN than looking out for the best interests of this nation.

    2) Conservatives, most of them anyway, believe in God and think that the Constitution has been twisted by liberal judges to illegitimately try to purge Christianity from the public square. Conservatives also believe that this country has been successful in large part because it is a good, Christian nation and if our country ever turns away from God, it will cease to prosper. Liberals, most of them anyway, are hostile to Christianity. That’s why, whether you’re talking about a school play at Christmas time, a judge putting the Ten Commandments on the wall of his court, or a store employee saying “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays,” liberals are dedicated to driving reminders of Christianity from polite society.

    1) Conservatives believe in pursuing policies because they’re pragmatic and because they work. Liberals believe in pursuing policies because they’re “nice” and make them feel good. Whether the policies they’re advocating actually work or not is of secondary importance to them.

    • comments December 19, 2016 at 2:57 pm

      You don’t get to be a multi-billionaire with honesty, integrity, and playing by the rules. You get there by conniving, scheming, lying, profiteering, gaming the system, mass murder (in many cases), and possibly (as with our pres elect) inheritance. A lot of you narrow thinking types don’t know enough about US history to know that before the implementation of massive socialist programs of FDR, that for a great many, life in the US was rather dreadful. Many who couldn’t work were simply left to die in the streets. Most of us know no other America than post wwII America. Everything great about the US gov’t is based on a socialistic model. I will always be a socialist in some way or another. I suppose some folks will never realize the absolute hypocrisy in believing in the religion of “trickle-down economics” while they benefit massively from socialist programs, and coming from a guy named “utahguns” we maybe should hold our expectations very low. Cheers on your very long-winded commet ;).

      • Utahguns December 20, 2016 at 10:10 am

        My “long-winded” comment is the product of over fifty years of being an employee, entrepreneur, tax payer, military veteran, father and what I believe is a contributor to society. Yes, I am one of “those”that was fed up with the direction our country was going in and I’m willing to have a new President try something different….

        Lying, cheating, conniving, scheming, profiteering, gaming the system as the “enlightened” commenter above stated seems to be much more prevalent in the democratically run administration today. However he/she states that socialist run programs are the answer to humanity’s problems.
        Well then, how has that worked out for China, Venezuela, Greece, Poland, Mongolia, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Laos, east Germany and others?
        If Clinton had been elected we would have had the continuation of “government is best for the people” which would have been a contribution to the downward spiral of our economy, patriotism, entrepreneurship and confidence. Clinton’s agenda would have meant more welfare, more taxes, more constriction of our Constitutional rights.

        I decided to outline five reasons why socialism doesn’t work. You can agree or disagree, and the “commenter”, who should spell-check his words should take the time to ponder these points…

        5. High Tax Rates – One of the typical features of a Socialist system is the high levels of taxation that citizens are forced to pay for the provision of the considerable public services. When a large percentage of an individual’s income is taken by the state, incentives to work are diminished, particularly when the public services are poor in quality. When socialists are questioned on who pays for the ‘free stuff’, the answer is always the same – “the rich”. In a graduated income tax system, the richest pay a much larger percentage of their income, which seems fair. However, at a certain point these rich people simply leave the country, taking their wealth with them, that would have otherwise been available for the public services. As a result, less money is available for the state to spend and public services suffer. Evidence of this can been seen in France, who adopted a 75% super-tax on the super-wealthy. French President Hollande was eventually forced to drop the tax as the richest either left the country or threatened strike action.

        4. Victim Mentality – A problem with the socialist philosophy is that it encourages a victim mentality amongst its followers. Rather than empowering individuals by encouraging ambition and success, socialism instead blames the rich for all the problems of the poor. In life in order to solve problems, attain goals and become successful, traits such as self-awareness, self-discipline and personal responsibility are essential. However, socialism teaches none of these principles, and instead instills toxic characteristics such as envy and jealousy which keeps poor people down, ultimately helping nobody.

        3. Subsidises Failure, Punishes Success – In this country, the government gives money to lazy people. I don’t need to go into the negative consequences on health that laziness , which commonly leads to obesity has, we all know. Yet, obesity is rising and the government is spending more and more on benefits to the obese. If, all of a sudden, a person that is obese starts making the right choices, becomes serious about losing weight, starts to eat healthily and begins to exercise, the benefits provided by the government are taken away. This takes away the incentive for an lazy person to become healthy. And so, many lazy people are simply happy to stay lazy, so long as they keep receiving the benefits from the government. This is one example of how welfare programs actually subsidise failure and punish success, and it can be seen in many welfare programs which causes dependency.

        2. Economic Calculation Problem – A fundamental flaw within the socialist centrally planned economy is the lack of rational economic calculation that can take place. In a market economy, there is a profit and loss system that provides signals based on consumer satisfaction. If the business is making a profit, we can assume that the consumer is being satisfied. However, if the business is making losses, then the consumer is not being satisfied and the business needs to change their strategy. A centrally planned economy, in which the state owns the means of production, does not have a functioning price mechanism, therefore information about desirability and abundance of a good is unavailable, which can lead to shortages of desired goods, and surpluses of unwanted goods. This ultimately has disastrous economic consequences such as Obamacare.

        1. Leads to Tyranny – The main reason why socialism fails is because it gives over too much power to the state. Not only is the socialist state substantial in size, having large amounts of control, but it is also coercive and incompatible with freedom. The simple fact is that man is corruptible by power, and power is what the socialist state most certainly has. Socialists commonly argue that the socialism we have seen in the Soviet Union, in Communist China and so on, is not ‘real’ socialism. This maybe true, however the fact is that these ‘not really socialist’ countries certainly set out to be really socialist. At some point somewhere along the line, these socialist regimes where corrupted and became tyrannical, resulting in the deaths of millions of people, the confiscation of their firearms and individual liberties. It is a pattern that we have seen time and time again almost wherever socialism has been tried. Whenever a state has substantial power, it almost always abuses that power. Which is why true and functioning socialism is simply unattainable.

        Lastly Conservatives don’t kill police officers, stomp on the American Flag, burn down their neighborhoods, promote mediocrity, shelter illegal immigrants or kill unborn children. It’s probably more evident of what we don’t do, that differentiates us from socialist liberals.

        The Trump/Pence election was a referendum to Obama and disdain of the Obama, Clinton, George Soros and the Saul Alinsky agenda. Americans are fed up with listening to the government saying what we need. Americans just want America to be Great Again.

        • comments December 20, 2016 at 11:48 am

          Clinton and crew are open-boarders globalists, not socialists. I sure hope you trumpites are right about him, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Trump has been very friendly with politicians for decades and is anything but an ‘outsider’ as his fans like to think. I’d actually be very surprised if he supports any anti-globalist policies when he finally comes to power, but I guess it’s wait and see at this point. As far as socialism, why don’t you go ahead and picture the country if every single socialist program was dismantled, that includes public schools, social security, medicare, the VA system, national parks, etc etc etc. Anything and everything the gov’t owns or runs turned over to private ownership–no public safety nets of any kind–if you can’t pay you die. The “true conservative’s” answer to such things is always some type of goofy suggestion that faith-based charities will fill in the holes of a hyper-capitalistic system. Again, I’ll believe it when I see it. I think a lot of you “true conservatives” miss the whole point of what socialism is about.

        • Chris December 20, 2016 at 12:34 pm

          What words do you think were misspelled?

        • Chris December 20, 2016 at 12:38 pm

          “election was a referendum”?? You do realize that voter turnout in 2016 was the lowest in 20 years, and that Trump got fewer votes than Romney in 2012 and McCain in 2008, don’t you?

          • Henry December 20, 2016 at 1:52 pm

            Chris, why are you repeating your one misleading statement and one untrue statement?

            The Washington Post gave the breakdown about the 2016 Presidential election turnout: “Turnout up slightly in terms of raw numbers, but down as a percentage of those eligible. A drop in votes for the Democrat and a spike in votes for third party candidates, with the Republican holding steady.”

            According to the New York Times, Trump in 2016 received more votes than Romney in 2012 and McCain in 2008. The Times reports that Trump received 62,914,474 votes, Romney received 59,134,475 votes, and McCain received 58,319,442 votes.

  • comments December 19, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    I saw part of some TV show on PBS with Herbert, Reyes, and some other guy talking about why the new national monument proposal “is such a terrible thing for Utah”. The amount of lies that crew was telling was unbelievable. If they wanted to tell the truth they could sum up their side in one sentence: “We don’t want the new monument because we want campaign contributions and kickbacks from our friends in the extraction industries”. But instead it was just a flowing stream of lies and complete BS. I’ll never understand the mormon’s complete trust in this type of scum. Just because they’re part of your mormon club does not make them the least bit honest.

    I find the extreme social leftism of the Bami crew to be disgusting, but do we actually have any “real conservatives” in gov’t at this point? I think not. The current system doesn’t support anyone with good morality in politics. We can basically expect any and every politician to be corrupt and on the take in one way or another. That’s the game. Neo-cons and neo-libs are a lot more similar than they are different.

    Also, could one of you “true conservatives” explain the extreme hatred within your ideology towards any type of conservation. The words conservative and conservation are so similar, and yet in today’s world they stand at polar opposites to the values of most “true conservatives”.

  • Henry December 19, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    It was interesting reading Sara Jarman’s 2012 thesis (which was the basis for her book) and her Twitter entries. Ms Jarman emphasizes “authentic” conservatism, “traditional values”, and the need to “conserve the traditions of the past”, while deemphasizing the need to “maintain relevancy and legitimacy with the general public”.

    Ms Jarmin basically sounds like a campaign speech writer for Evan McMullin or Mitt Romney; too bad the American people already rendered their opinion on that platform.

  • Utahguns December 20, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    The most amazing part of this well written piece is the fact Maureen Dowd, a very liberal columnist from the New York Times wrote it!

    Maureen Dowd
    Election Therapy From My Basket of Deplorables

    The election was a complete repudiation of Barack Obama: his fantasy world of political correctness, the politicization of the Justice Department and the I.R.S., an out-of-control E.P.A., his neutering of the military, his nonsupport of the police and his fixation on things like transgender bathrooms.
    Since he became president, his party has lost 63 House seats, 10 Senate seats and 14 governor-ships.

    The country had signaled strongly in the last two midterms that they were not happy. The Dems answer was to give them more of the same from a person they did not like or trust.

    Preaching and pandering with a message of inclusion, the Democrats have instead become a party where incivility and bad manners are taken for granted, rudeness is routine, religion is mocked and there is absolutely no respect for a differing opinion.
    This did not go down well in the Midwest, where Trump flipped three blue states and 44 electoral votes.

    The rudeness reached its peak when Vice President-elect Mike Pence was booed by attendees of Hamilton and then pompously lectured by the cast. This may play well with the New York theater crowd but is considered boorish and unacceptable by those of us taught to respect the office of the president and vice president, if not the occupants.

    Here is a short primer for the young protesters. If your preferred candidate loses, there is no need for mass hysteria, canceled midterms, safe spaces, crying rooms or group primal screams. You might understand this better if you had not received participation trophies, undeserved grades to protect your feelings or even if you had a proper understanding of civics.
    The Democrats are now crying that Hillary had more popular votes. That can be her participation trophy.

    If any of my sons had told me they were too distraught over a national election to take an exam, I would have brought them home the next day, fearful of the instruction they were receiving.
    Not one of the top 50 colleges mandate one semester of Western Civilization. Maybe they should rethink that.

    Mr. Trump received over 62 million votes, not all of them cast by homophobes, Islamaphobes, racists, sexists, misogynists or any other ists. I would caution Trump deniers that all of the crying and whining is not good preparation for the coming storm. The liberal media, both print and electronic, has lost all credibility.
    I am reasonably sure that none of the mainstream print media had stories prepared for a Trump victory.
    I watched the networks and cable stations in their midnight meltdown embodied by Rachel Maddow explaining to viewers that they were not having a terrible, terrible dream and that they had not died and gone to hell.

    The media’s criticism of Trump’s high-level picks as not diverse enough or white and male a day before he named two women and offered a cabinet position to an African-American magnified this fact.

    Here is a final word to my Democratic friends: The election is over. There will not be a do-over.
    So let me bid farewell to Al Sharpton, Ben Rhodes and the Clintons. Note to Cher, Barbra, Amy Schumer and Lena Dunham: Your plane is waiting. And to Jon Stewart, who talked about moving to another planet: Your spaceship is waiting. To Bruce Springsteen, Jay Z, Beyonc and Katy Perry, thanks for the free concerts.

    And finally, to all the foreign countries that contributed to the Clinton Foundation, there will not be a payoff or a rebate.

    As Eddie Murphy so eloquently stated in the movie 48 Hrs. “There’s a new sheriff in town.”
    And he is going to be here for 1,461 days. Merry Christmas.

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