One of the greatest evils that a state can do to its citizens is to determine their weaknesses and then exploit them. The heart of conservatism sees the weaknesses of men and forbids the state from using those weaknesses against them. Thus conservatives long opposed a state-run lottery (and those who have really understood these principles still do). It’s why conservatives also oppose drug legalization, soft or hard; legalizing Oxycontin or weed will not make the problems of addiction go away, nor will it tamp down its effects. Abortion is another example of the state exploiting people; in this case, it exploits the desperate mother and offers her a way out of shame and financial hardship — at the cost of another’s life and lifelong trauma. The same heart disallowed obscenity to be called “free speech”, for pornography destroys women and enslaves men. I can even see this understanding at work in blue laws and dry counties, especially those out West.
To get along with others, we all have to compromise some. Where we voluntarily restrict our liberty, let it be so that others are protected, not destroyed; let it be in compassion for our fellowman, bearing with their weaknesses, that we do so. For it is doing this — promoting liberty, encouraging self-control, and disallowing the state to exploit others — that America was blessed beyond all other nations.