Today’s popular definition of “conservative” means little more than “that group of people/notions that stand opposite to what the ‘liberals’ stand for”. And even then I’m not sure how often they’re actually opposing.
Anthony G. Martin has a nice summary of 10 Key Conservative Principles.
1. ‘Government money’ does not belong to government. It belongs to the taxpayers who worked hard for it, and who had funds deleted from their paychecks even before they got to see them.
2. The government that governs best governs LEAST.
3. Government normally does not solve problems. People do. Big government usually IS the problem.
4. Oppressive large governments are responsible for more murders of citizens than all of the wars in history.
5. The private sector is where the juice of society lies. There you will find ingenuity, creativity, and the creation of wealth–provided government gets out of the way.
6. Government social programs reward pathological dependency. True adults, unless hindered by debilitating physical impairment, seek independent living as free persons who are not stuck in an infantile dependency on the government nanny.
7. The one role of government mandated by the U.S. Constitution is to provide for the national defense.
8. Human rights are not granted by government. They are inherent and automatic. We are ‘endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights.’ Government can only choose to recognize and protect those inherent rights.
9. The right to self-defense, as encapsulated in the 2nd Amendment, is the key to all of the other rights described in the Bill of Rights. Free speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, and a free press are secured and kept secure by an armed citizenry.
10. Our form of government is NOT a ‘pure democracy’ or ‘majority rule.’ In a Constitutional Republic such as ours, the will of the majority is tempered and limited by the rights of the minority, which are always intact and unalienable regardless of the ‘will of the majority.’