So I found this thing, and having a few minutes to kill, I gave it a go.
I scored 160/400, making me (according to this quiz) "very conservative". And to that I say "whatever." This quiz was designed by someone who's very progressive and it shows (I mean other than being on the Center for American Progress website):
Immigrants are a burden on the country because they take jobs and abuse social programs. And then you have to rank your agreement with the statement on a scale of 0 to 10. Another example would be It is unpatriotic to criticize the government or the military during a time of war.
Let's look at the first statement. Legal immigrants are frequently some of the hardest working members of our society, so that would clearly be a 'no'. However, illegal immigrants, assisted by the minimum wage and consuming benefits they don't help pay for, are a burden. (This is all being grossly simplified because there's a larger point I want to get to.)
Now, if we look at the second statement we see something similar; it's not whether you criticize the government or the military that's patriotic or unpatriotic, but how and why. Like the woman said, 'T ain't what you do it's the way that you do it.
Don't worry, I'm not going to beat the old patriots vs partisans horse. I just think that this quiz is a good and funny example of how completely worthless the word "conservative" is in today's political climate. Between the crunchy-cons', socio-cons', and the rest of the hyphenates, no one can honestly tell you what "conservative" is. The word is actually more worthless than Neocon, which (to everyone, but actual neocons) means "evil evil person, who disagrees with my ideas on foreign policy". "Conservative" is the mythical label of authenticity that generates the vast bulk of Republican infighting. The funny thing is, the left doesn't see distinctions. For them, Republican = conservative.
The left has a clearer definition of conservative than we do because authenticity is about a subjective set of standards. You can't draw the line at conserving the constitution because many "conservatives" would support a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage; something which desecrates the very spirit of the constitution. Many "conservatives" support teaching Intelligent Design in public schools, which amounts to religious education in public classrooms. If it looks like I'm picking on social conservatives, it's because they're the most blatant examples. But even if we abandon those hobby horses, there are still plenty of examples. We can't say we draw the line at small government because there's a group of people who we refer to as big government conservatives. Sarah Palin, the "conservative" member on the Republican Presidential ticket, has overt populist sentiments regarding government's role in the market and (as evidenced by the people on the street) so do many "conservatives".
Whatever. I could keep going, but this thing is already an essay and I feel like I'd just be flogging a dead horse. Saying, "In this concert we're all manufactured boy bands wagging on about which of is us the more serious or authentic musicians, because the level intrusion by the federal government which we all tacitly accept would have the founding fathers spinning in the graves like jet turbines.", is ineffectual and pointless. True. But ineffectual and pointless. Much like this post.