2. Conservatives are easily confused with libertarians. Libertarians really are anti-government. Conservatives are not. Libertarians frequently advertise themselves as useful to the Left in its struggle against government security and against traditional culture, and as “not as bad” as conservatives. In doing this, they show they know who is culturally hegemonic. In these matters, they speak more for the Left than the Right, despite their frequent Republican affiliation.

3. Conservatives are suspicious of today’s predominant elites, not without reason. This creates what in a good moment is a creative tension with their underlying support for government; but when framed in a “principled” (simplified, single-principle) libertarian way, it is readily used to turn them against their own cause.

Being pro-government has nothing to do with favoring big government. It is simply about supporting government in its core functions — what appears in the preamble of the Constitution, and in the laws and constitutions of the other English-speaking countries under the affectionate rubric of “POGG”: “peace, order, and good government.”