A number of people have been praising this essay by Yuval Levin:
American conservatism has always consisted of a variety of schools of social, moral, political, and economic thought. But they are nearly all united, in a general sense, by a cluster of anthropological assumptions that sets them apart from most American progressives.
Conservatives tend to see the human person as an incorrigible mass of contradictions: a fallen and imperfect being created in a divine image, a creature possessed of fundamental dignity and inalienable rights but prone to excess and to sin and ever in need of self-restraint and moral formation. This elevated yet gloomy conception of man, deeply informed by the peculiar, paradoxical wisdom of the West’s great religions, sets conservatives apart from libertarians and progressives alike, and sits at the core of most conservative thinking about society and politics.
And on a quick read-through the essay looks great. I will read it with great care. But when I read this general kind of conservatism-defining essay, I always wonder how much it matters that 98% of Americans who call themselves conservative have absolutely none of this in mind.