There is another and somewhat paradoxical aspect to modern conservatism, however, that I neglected to mention but which George Will writes about in his latest column. It's worth a read if you can get over the pro-Bush rhetoric. Here's the money quote:
Bush has said ``I don't do nuance,'' and his ``ownership society'' agenda -- from Social Security personal accounts to health savings accounts to tax cuts -- is explicitly explained as soulcraft. Its purpose is to combat the learned incompetence of persons who become comfortable with excessive dependence on and supervision by government. His agenda's aim is to continue, in the language of his inaugural address, ``preparing our people for the challenges of life in a free society.''
That is the crux of modern conservatism -- government taking strong measures to foster in the citizenry the attitudes and aptitudes necessary for increased individual independence.