I'm going to take it a break with criticizing "progressives" for a little, particularly Lothar - he's been great to talk with, but I think I'm rattling him by pounding on this topic, and really I don't want to sound like a broken record anyway. So let me explain something in greater detail that I've meant to go over in the past: what I see as the principle sins of conservatives.
I want to stress here, though, that conservatives - I have in mind here low-tax, small-government conservatives in the broad sense - are subject to a different spread of failings than "progressives", practically by necessity. The conservative, in virtue of opposing an expanding government, of wanting minimal at best state intervention in people's lives and livelihoods, is generally not going to be prone to pushing their way into people's lives.
Note the 'generally' - yes, I'm well aware that some people can interpret 'regulations against killing unborn children' as intervening in people's lives. Yes, I understand conservatism-in-practice - namely self-described 'conservative' legislators - are subject to moral panics, such as "protecting" kids from violent video games and so on. Those same legislators also have a habit, shared by "progressives", of wanting to rush headlong into global adventures and wars - even if they differ on just what particular bits of entanglement they favor. Again, I'm not going to ignore the fact that I am speaking in terms of generalizations.
But at the end of the day, I think it's fair to size up conservatism as a perspective oriented towards limited government services, and leaving people - including large corporations - alone. A mass shooting won't stir the conservative to think about limiting gun ownership, the existence of people without health insurance won't have them hatching plots to get the government to foot that bill, poverty is not a problem for the government to solve... the list goes on.
And it goes on for good reason. They resist the introduction of state services that make individuals servile, sapping their spirit - a danger FDR himself mentioned, but which few people seem to be aware of. They understand that government is absolutely not immune from corruption, from favoritism, from spying on its citizens. And they also understand that historically - again, something people forget - one of the biggest threats to human life has been government. You know, that thing that's thrown its citizens into gulags, ovens, and idiotic wars? They're a little hesitant about granting it power, making it omnipresent in day to day life.
Besides - the government doesn't get its money or its manpower from the sun. It gets it from the people - it taxes, it takes. And whatever can be accomplished by taxing can be accomplished by individuals, right? They can form organizations, work in groups, found hospitals, start charities - people can take it upon themselves to voluntarily give up their money and their time, and encourage other to do the same thing. If such things really matter to them.
There's the obvious weakness - conservatives, particularly the politicians, spend practically zero time encouraging and promoting charity in any big way. When the conservative position is that government should be small, and that charity should be performed voluntarily by individuals... the absence of public promotion of charity is pretty glaring. And I want to be clear what I mean here - obviously not 'getting the government to fund these charities'. Rather defeats the purpose. I'm talking about visibly promoting charities, teaming up with organizations that really are going out there and feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, helping people out.
It doesn't have to be the way I'm proposing, but the fact remains - conservatives don't really pursue a public image of charitable association. At best, it is something they engage in at times, and yes I'm aware that many conservative organizations (churches, and so on) have charity arms, engage in charitable causes. But it's not front and center - it's not made into a core, visible principle of conservative philosophy. It is ultimately invisible in a lot of ways. And the result is that whenever 'health care' or 'poverty' or anything else gets brought up, conservatives come across as the party of "no", but without so much as an alternative in mind. Despite there being a clear alternative for conservatives, particularly Christians.
I can imagine all kinds of reasons for it. Not wanting to 'politicize' a charity is probably first and foremost - many charities probably don't want to be associated with one political party or another. Of course, there's flat out 'failure to give to charity'. But at the end of the day, the problem is that the generalized conservative has a certain way to approach the world, a certain kind of answer to problems... but this action, and these answers, doesn't get discussed or promoted.
Particularly for a Christian, I think the conservative approach to the world has to be paired with an increasing public advocacy of individual, voluntary action. Note that conservatism doesn't stand or fall based on the success of these actions - but the attempt really strikes me as important, and all too often, lacking.