My mother's maternal grandfather worshipped Lincoln, edited a small-town, Republican newspaper, supported the community of Macomb, Illinois, and provided for a very comfortable childhood for me and my sibs. He was a die-hard nineteenth century libertarian. Once he gave Mom five Depression-era bucks for thinking for herself and writing what amounted to a socialist school theme, a theme which appalled and embarrased my Democratic Granddad.
I call myself a conservative, but nobody else does. "Pal" (my great grandfather) probably wouldn't either, but I like to think that I could persuade him. In a morally relativistic universe, I try to stay in sync with the largest morally meaningful system. Pretty good trick, huh?
Like Wes Jackson says, we all live in the extractive economy.
But, like Barbara says, degree matters. What passes for conservatism these days is a bunch of what Stephen Gaskin calls "plungers" and "bet-the-farm-on-a hunch-boys." (And their dupes).
That was okay for Pal, who lived on the upslope of peak oil. During the Great Depression, he backed his hunches, and new oil reserves backed them too. It even seemed, especially with the Green Revolution, a dozen or twenty years later, that his plunging helped improve the commonweal.
Those days are gone forever.