Kim Priestap's networked blog has a great summary of conservatism...
Conservatism is an ideology that believes that when government gets out of the way, the American people are capable of achieving great things.
If you’ve followed politics for a while, then you probably picked up from that one sentence that I am a Reagan Conservative.
And you would be right. One of my favorite Reagan quotes is this one:
Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it. –Ronald Reagan
I am a conservative because I believe in these ten principles:
You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
You cannot build character and courage by destroying men’s initiative and independence.
And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.
–William J. H. Boetcker, 1916
I am a conservative because I believe that Capitalism is the only economic, social, and political system that truly allows man to be free.
I am a conservative because I believe in the sanctity of life.
I am a conservative because I believe in the individual’s right to bear arms.
I am a conservative because I believe in peace through strength. Weakness only encourages those who want to do you harm.
I am a conservative because I support wholeheartedly our troops who voluntarily risk their lives for us and our country.
I am a conservative because I believe the private sector does virtually everything better than a government program.
I am a conservative because I believe competition helps us to rise above mediocrity and achieve, produce, or perform better than we ever thought we could.
I am a conservative because I believe in American Exceptionalism, that our country was founded by a group of brilliant, selfless men who put their lives at risk the moment they signed the Declaration of Independence.
I am a conservative because I believe that our rights come from God, not from government.
I am a conservative because I do not believe the Constitution is a “living” document that should change with the whims of society.