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  Conservative Group: Fred Speaking

Speaker I 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 creativity.

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