Conservatism, for example, may include liberal capitalism, but with a prior commitment to the dignity of the human person, the redeeming covenant of marriage, and the goods of family, faith, and community. Those are the foundations that we attempt to conserve, before we employ liberalism. It allows conservatives to escape from a self-undermining, pure libertarianism and pursue “economics as if people mattered,” as E. F. Schumacher put it.
Behind every conservative embrace of liberalism, there is a prior and pre-liberal commitment. We are for liberal free speech, but with a prior commitment to decency. We support liberal democracy, but with a prior commitment to justice, not just conflict de-escalation. We praise liberal education, but to save it from undermining itself with skepticism, we need a prior commitment to Truth.