This is actually something like the consensus among most of the GOP candidates:

"Our most basic civil liberty is the right to be kept alive."

It's a very, very, very long way from "Give me liberty or give me death, as Mark Thompson notes. " The "culture of life" as the theocons call it does not, alas, mean merely a deep respect for human life, from cradle to grave, with prudence as the guide to the grayest areas at the very beginning and very end of life. It has come to mean for many an absolutism with respect to maintaining life and survival - even to the point of absurdity, as in the Terri Schiavo case or opposition to RU486. And on the other wing of today's conservatism - the authoritarian wing - it means sacrificing basic liberties (such as habeas corpus) and basic moral principles (such as the prohibition on torture). I deal with this in The Conservative Soul at length. But it remains a staggering sign of how conservatism has abandoned its core principles - out of fear of terrorism and out of adherence to religious fundamentalism.

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