At the heart of conservatism lies the notion that freedom and responsibilities come hand in hand, that one cannot have freedom unless he does so responsibly. This has proven to be the single largest stumbling block to the persuasion. For each and every time that we have lost a freedom there was some individual or group who had abused it. This ultimately results in a gradual trickle of power away from the people towards government, as some seem to prefer.
I believe the shift of power those so called liberals want is rather senseless exercise. It's a natural occurrence that solves nothing. The same lack of responsibility found at the individual level will also be found at the government level, only the ill results are greatly magnified by the huge concentration of power. The end result of handing responsibility over to government (at the cost of freedom) is that the people will become divorced from it, and will eventually shun it altogether. Once things come to this point there is no one to hold government accountable. That is, until such time as government imposes such suffering upon the people that they once again acquire a sense of responsibility, and take it on themselves to revolt.
Where one could believe social evolution drives man into a steady climb, another might believe we are trapped in a vicious circle. The truth is likely neither, yet both. We must be evolving slowly over the eons as we continuously repeat the cycle, so I have settled on the idea of an upward spiral. All the same, the great debate between conservatism and liberalism, between capitalism and socialism, might very well be irrelevant to some degree. Irrelevant in that they aren't as much separate ideas so much as they are opposite pulses of the same cycle. If this is true, (and I think it is) then my one satisfaction is that during the part of the cycle when we practice the most personal responsibility, the part when we earn the most freedom, is the part where humanity experiences the most significant growth.