We make men without chests and expect from them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst
--C.S. Lewis The Abolition of Man
It is often said that Conservatives can't simply be "against" things, we have "to have a positive message." Many Conservatives then protest that we *do* have a positive message, it just gets drowned out because we have to oppose all the cultural rot, or the Progressive agenda, or whatever.
While there is a point there, it must be said that our message *does* get drowned out. So it is good, from time to time, to remember what it is we are for. But what are Conservatives for? What do we want to "conserve?"
I would suggest that Conservatives are for Virtue. Honor, Courage, Justice, Thrift, Sobriety, and Industry are character traits seemingly in short supply. Anyone who argues against government expansion, but does argue for personal virtue is arguing for chaos.
John Adams is quoted as saying "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
We have fallen into the trap C.S. Lewis mentioned in The Abolition of man. Every "advancement" of the progressive era has served to remove virtue. Welfare has assaulted industry and thrift. The Left's assault on self-defense (see also: Martin, Trayvon) is an assault on courage. Every HBO or Showtime show seems to be an assault on sobriety, and often justice.
The results have been predictable. A society which will not maintain its own virtue will require an ever growing government. A People which does not practice Honor and Justice will become a police-state. A People which does not practice Thrift, Sobriety, and Industry, will become one constantly on the verge of economic disaster.
Conservatives seek to promote Virtue. A People of Personal Virtue are a people who do not need a big government.