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The subject line in the e-mail I received today from the Heritage Foundation (a D.C. conservative think tank) reads: “Tell us what conservatism means to you.” Inside the e-mail I was invited to take a poll:

Conservative ideas are rooted in the timeless ideals of the American founding. The movement is not defined by a set of policies but rather by a commitment to conserve America’s founding principles. Recent events in Virginia suggest that the conservative movement is gaining steam, and The Heritage Foundation is conducting a two-question poll to gather feedback on what you feel about conservatism today. Please take a moment to make your voice heard. Take the poll now.

The poll is very short and very lame. It asks only three questions: 1. Do you identify as a “Conservative”? 2. Do you think conservatism [sic] values and policies are good for our country? 3. Are you optimistic about the future? The real purpose of the poll is to get you to sign up to receive more e-mails from the Heritage Foundation. I have written about the Heritage Foundation here, its president here, and its recent featuring of a drug warrior here.

Well, since the Heritage Foundation asked what I think of conservatism, I will now answer with three statements. The first is by Lew Rockwell of the Mises Institute

The problem with American conservatism is that it hates the left more than the state, loves the past more than liberty, feels a greater attachment to nationalism than to the idea of self-determination, believes brute force is the answer to all social problems, and thinks it is better to impose truth rather than risk losing one soul to heresy. It has never understood the idea of freedom as a self-ordering principle of society. It has never seen the state as the enemy of what conservatives purport to favor. It has always looked to presidential power as the saving grace of what is right and true about America.

The second is by Jacob Hornberger of the Future of Freedom Foundation:

Conservatives are having a heyday calling President Obama a socialist. What they block out of their minds is that by their own measure, they are socialists too. . . . But while conservatives want to protect the assets of the rich from IRS confiscation and welfare-state redistribution, conservatives cannot deny that they themselves also favor the welfare-state concept of taxing people so that the state can redistribute the money to others. The only thing different between conservatives and liberals is the identity of the people they wish to tax and the identity of people they wish to receive the loot.

And the third is a statement I have made several times:

The very heart and soul of conservatism is war. Patriotism, Americanism, and being a real conservative are now equated with support for war, torture, and militarism.

If you want to know what I think of libertarianism, see here, and many of my articles in my archives at and the Future of Freedom Foundation.

2:18 pm on June 13, 2014