That was the title of a Heritage Foundation lecture I attended this afternoon, delivered by Harvard professor Harvey Mansfield. The title was somewhat misleading in that it ended up being less a prescriptive talk on what conservatism should be going forward, but more of a meditation on what conservatism is and has been.
Mansfield/>/> traced the origins of conservatism back to the French Revolution, when it arose out of a need to check the excesses of liberalism. Ever since then it has faced the dilemma of whether to offer an alternative to liberalism, or to essentially act as the best defender of liberalism by saving it from its extreme application. As he put it, "Does it go back, or go slow?"
In an Aristotelian sense, conservatives see democratic society as an end by itself, while liberals see it as a means, and constantly charge forward in the name of equality, without thinking about the consequences.