—Opposition to rapid change in governmental and societal institutions. This kind of conservatism is anti-ideological insofar as it emphasizes means (slow change) over ends (any particular form of government). To the traditionalist, whether one arrives at a right- or left-wing government is less important than whether change is effected through rule of law rather than through revolution and sudden innovation.
—Conservative Christians are primarily interested in family values. Typical positions include the view that the United States was founded as a Christian nation, that abortion is wrong, that there should be prayer in state schools, and that marriage should be defined as between one man and one woman and not between two members of the same sex. Many attack the profanity and sexuality in the media and movies.
Limited government conservatism
—Limited government conservatives look for a decreased role of the federal government. They follow Thomas Jefferson and James Madison in their suspicion of a powerful federal government.
—A modern form of conservatism that supports a more assertive, interventionist foreign policy, aimed at promoting democracy abroad. It is tolerant of an activist government at home, but is focused mostly on international affairs. Neoconservatism was first described by a group of disaffected liberals, and thus Irving Kristol, usually credited as its intellectual progenitor, defined a neoconservative as "a liberal who was mugged by reality." Although originally regarded as an approach to domestic policy (the founding instrument of the movement, Kristol's The Public Interest periodical, did not even cover foreign affairs), through the influence of figures like Dick Cheney, Robert Kagan, Richard Perle, Kenneth Adelman and (Irving's son) Bill Kristol, it has become most famous for its association with the foreign policy of the George W. Bush administration. Many of the nation's most prominent and influential conservatives during the two terms of the Bush administration were considered "neoconservative" in their ideological orientation.
—In part a rebirth of the Old Right, arising in the 1980s in reaction to neoconservatism, stresses tradition, especially Christian tradition and the importance to society of the traditional family. Some, Samuel P. Huntington for example, argue that multiracial, multi-ethnic, and egalitarian states are inherently unstable. Paleoconservatives are generally isolationist, and suspicious of foreign influence. The magazines Chronicles and The American Conservative are generally considered to be paleoconservative in nature.
– A fusion with libertarianism, this type emphasizes a strict interpretation of the Constitution, particularly with regard to federal power. Libertarian conservatism is constituted by a broad, sometimes conflicted, coalition including pro-business social moderates, those favoring more rigid enforcement of states' rights, individual liberty activists, and many of those who place their socially liberal ideology ahead of their fiscal beliefs. This mode of thinking tends to espouse laissez-faire economics and a critical view of the federal government. Libertarian conservatives' emphasis on personal freedom often leads them to have social positions contrary to those of social conservatives. The libertarian branch of conservatism may have similar disputes that isolationist paleoconservatives would with neoconservatives. However, libertarian conservatives may be more militarily interventionist or support a greater degree of military strength than other libertarians. Contrarily, a strong preference for local government puts libertarian conservatives in frequent opposition to international government.