As conservatives, we are often accused of trying to run everyone's lives. We quibble with that presumption. To be sure, there are aspects of conservatism which may well seem to dictate to people; abortion and same sex marriage come to mind. But do conservatives try to run the lives of the others so much as their friends on the left do?
We ask: who is telling you how much soda you can drink? Who is on the march against trans fat? Who is telling you that you must get health care insurance? Who is telling you what days you may cut your grass or gas up your car? Who wants you to take the bus rather than drive your own car? Who asserts that the environment is more important than the person? One answer to these and a great many other questions is this: it ain't conservatives.
Yes, the few issues through which the right does try to dictate terms are big ones. Yet they aren't actually about control. They're about preserving the dignity of the person in very important areas, areas which would help to make a better society. What dignity for the person is there within the nanny state?
The government is not our mother. Conservatives know that. Liberals don't. And that may well be the key difference between those broad groups.