So what is a "conservative" today?
This letter in the New York Times the other day makes a good point about how the definition of conservative has changed over time.
To the Editor:
Re "Running Out of Steam," by David Brooks (column, Dec. 8):
There's a simpler explanation as to why the conservative agenda has stalled. Conservatives are no longer conservatives.
Twenty years ago, I was a conservative and believed in balanced budgets, limited foreign intervention and limiting the government's encroachment upon individual liberties and freedom. Today, I believe in balanced budgets, limited foreign intervention and limiting the government's encroachment upon individual liberties and freedom, but now I'm called a liberal.
Conservatives of yesteryear respected state sovereignty and believed that torturing prisoners was only what the Communists did. Today's conservatives have no compunction about using their federal muscle to overrule state courts. It's repugnant that we are even debating the merits of torture.
Joel S. Peskoff
Baldwin, N.Y., Dec. 8, 2005
I think the answer is quite simple, really. The radical right has usurped the term for their own sake even though there is very little in their activist agenda that could truly be described as conservative.