Okay, I've googled around, and read a few things, and now I'd like to know; what ARE conservative principles? This is a genuine question, I presume they must exist, I just cannot extrapolate them from the behaviors I see on the news. I realize I'm biased, so somebody help me out here?
Without snark, here's my understanding of conservative principles, in no particular order of priority.
- Fiscal responsibility in maintaining responsible budgets and reducing person and business tax burden
- Smaller government ("That government governs best which governs least.")
- Privatization of many government functions to allow the efficiency of market forces to manage costs and improve delivery quality
- Business friendly tax and economic policy with the intention of spurring growth and job development
- Strong foreign policy relying on a combination of diplomacy and military strength without becoming directly involved in nation building or the internal affairs of others — "muscularism"
- States' rights taking priority over Federalism
- Narrow (or strict) adherence to Constitutional principles and the rule of law, specifically including strong support for 2nd Amendment rights
- Strong law enforcement
- Ethics in government and private life
- No "social engineering" of family and personal life through government intervention
- Individual rights taking priority over government intervention in private life
I've probably left off some important stuff, but that's my broad, net understanding of what it means to be a conservative. Feel free to correct me in comments, from any political angle.
I might turn the snark machine back on tomorrow and point out where I think the contemporary conservative movement has gone badly astray of my understanding of its principles, but that seems sort of like shooting fish in a barrel. Leaving aside specific complaints about the current leadership, I will say that neither the NeoCons nor the Dominionists have done their conservative brethren any favors at all in terms of how they've distorted the Republican Party's words and deeds.