I can identify a conservative by asking one question. The question is one that not many people tend to think about these days. I came to my own conclusion to this question by mere observation and my ability to reason. The question is simple: what is the nature of man?
Is man good or evil; is man fallible or infallible? Better yet, is man perfectible?
Many today believe that we as humans have physically evolved to the point where we are able to manage our affairs without strict boundaries on the limits of power. To put it simply, we now have people smart enough to socially engineer our society without becoming tyrants.
Fortunately for us the framers of our government read enough history to know the ultimate nature of man, and to know his limits. They knew human nature so well that they created a document of negative liberties, the constitution.
It was the rise of social darwinism and the progressive movement that prompted ambitious politicians to denounce the constitution for what it is, a check on their power to control us, the people. Woodrow Wilson thought we had evolved to the point where those pesky checks and balances were not needed anymore.
We must remember our limits. Man is self-interested, and he is not capable of being perfected.