There are so many, it’s hard to keep track of them all, but I’ll share them with you as they occur to me.
No. 47: Fix a problem before it becomes a bigger problem.
Seems pretty obvious, but consider: if concerns about, say, equal rights for gay couples and health insurance for all who want it had been addressed more directly by conservatives, we might not have Constitutionally-affirmed gay marriage or ObamaCare today. Regardless of how we feel about same-sex marriage, we want to be fair. Had conservatives pushed civil unions for gay people—complete equality under the law, without affixing the word marriage to the deal—marriage itself might have remained a pipe dream. Besides, don’t conservatives believe in equality under the law? I do.
Similarly, people without health insurance, or with pre-existing conditions, had legitimate concerns that government could have addressed—without the nationalization that ObamaCare essentially and miserably accomplished. Republicans now say they have alternate plans for when ObamaCare is repealed (not if, when); they are a decade too late.
I am still an advocate for limited government: “That government is best which governs least.” But the least bit of governing, at the very least, puts off over-governing. Conservatism is not doing nothing; it is doing only enough.
And conservatives would not only avoid appearing indifferent to the concerns of people—but would reap the benefit of creating solutions that might actually work. As opposed to ObamaCare (which I do not personally support), and redefining marriage out of whole cloth (which I do).
Of course, there are innumerable ways conservatism can and should intervene to shrink government, not just grow it more slowly. Anyone looking at the disaster that is Greece (or Illinois) can see that a sterner hand would have avoided the death-spiral both are facing. Once you create a new “entitlement”, people start feeling awfully entitled. And we’re learning the limits of “austerity”. In economic terms, the opposite of fat is not lean; it’s never getting fat in the first place.