Where conservatives can find common ground on limiting government

Yet there are also those who are somewhat in between. They agree philosophically with the idea of opposing the social welfare state, but, practically, question how much of it can be scrapped.

So among the various strains of conservatism, there’s likely to be the least disagreement among conservatives about the need for Republicans — should they regain power — to avoid creating new government programs.

There’s likely to be the most disagreement over how realistic it is to talk in terms of scrapping — or severely cutting — major government programs with built-in constituencies.

Most of the policy debate on the Right, thus, is likely to surround the issue of reforming existing government programs. Limited-government advocates would likely disagree with American Enterprise Institute President Arthur Brooks, who declared, “The government social safety net for the truly indigent is one of the greatest achievements of our society.” But they may still reach the conclusion — practically — that programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security won’t be repealed.