would like to add something else that I think is true
of all American conservatives.
We all emphasize the importance of
the many groups that exist between the state
and the individual. I'm thinking not only of the
family, but countless associations such as guilds,
unions, churches, professional organizations, chess
clubs, baseball teams, book clubs, corporations,
non-profit organizations, discussion groups,
philanthropic organizations, and many, many more.
Sometimes social scientists refer to this whole layer
of organized activity as "civil society."
Many of these associations are
voluntary. That's part of their beauty. They are not
the brain child of government. They are fluid,
dynamic, flexible, and endlessly creative.
The plea for limited government is,
in one respect, a plea to leave these associations
alone. Robert Nisbet, in his book Conservatism,
wrote about the "triangular relationship of state,
corporate group and individual" that was discussed by
late 19th-century scholars. He refers to the ongoing
concern of conservatives with the right "of the whole
intermediate structure of the nation to survival
against the tides of both individualism and
nationalism." [Nisbet, p. 22]
In my opinion, that intermediate
structure is the secret of American dynamism and