The Debate Over Conservatism

It speaks well of NRO that the resistance to the religious make-over of conservatism is finally being aired more thoroughly. Here's Heather Mac Donald yesterday:

It is just not the case that only Bible study could lead people to conservative, disciplined lives.

Meanwhile, another reality-based, liberty-loving conservative, Andrew Stuttaford, states what is now undeniable, it seems to me:

Conservatism is being changed (to use a more neutral word) by the greater role that an explicitly religious activism is playing within it. Specifically, it's easy to discern a strain of conservatism emerging (and within the GOP and the administration it has emerged a long way) that more resembles European Christian Democracy (or, in its more robust forms, Gaullism) than the small government, skeptical, 'leave me alone' conservatism that brought so many into the fold and which (for what it's worth) I, for one, prefer.

It may be that turning conservatism into a religiously-centered Southern-based, big-government movement makes electoral sense. I doubt it. But my objection to it is not that it hinders Republican dominance, but that I disagree with it. I believe in a separation of church and state, balanced budgets, low taxes, law that is as neutral as possible between competing moral and religious claims, and a "leave-me-alone" presumption when it comes to government power. And I'm sick of being told that excludes me from being conservative any more. I venture to suggest I'm not the only one. Vive la resistance.