Since Oct 30, 2002
For most of the history of our species we were hunter-gatherers. The earth provided an abundance of game and wild grains, fruits etc. Early humans, who are actually part of nature themselves (as we remain today), were so ingenious at developing tools to better exploit nature's abundance that they continued to increase their population until there was no longer enough for all to eat. As a reaction many left their traditional hunting grounds and went elsewhere.
This happened many times over until humans spanned the globe and were capable of exploiting all available resources. There was no new place left to go without the need to engage in conflict with other humans.
Thus, ingenious man, about 10,000 years ago, invented agriculture. Now early agriculture was a tough thing - much harder than hunting and gathering- but he had no choice and developed the specialization and other tools to make this new way of life more efficient(writing, government, money, etc.) Man became ever better and more productive at this new way of life.
Eventually the sum of his inventiveness and desire for a higher standard of living led to the age of industrialization. Over the last 300 years, he (we) has used his capacity to more effectively exploit the resources provided by the earth.
Roughly 300 years after this "industrial revolution" he has managed to build a civilization that spans the globe and is capable of exploiting all available resources.
In other words, we are nearly back to the point at which we invented agriculture.
It is not contradictory to conservative ideology to state that the earth is a finite planet with limited resources. It is simply common sense.
Moreover, our economy which basis continues (and always will) to rest on our ability to produce food is merely a reflection of our throughput. Throughput are the resources we take from the earth, move through the economy and eventually put back. There is a total limit to what the earth can provide sustainably (obviously depending on the resource and no one really knows the exact figures) and a total limit to what it can take (in terms of what we put back into the air, water, soil, etc. as waste). The only thing to which there is no limit is human ingenuity to more efficiently use those resources.
As the United States moves forward in its history, we will increasingly come into competition with the East in our pursuit of limited resources.
If we all want to avoid a war of incomprehensible destructiveness, they are going to need to learn how to work with us (and to some extent we are going to need to learn to work with them) to sustainably harness resources and discover how to keep making ourselves richer without depleting a given resource before a viable alternative is available or otherwise maximize output(The oceans limited ability to produce fish is the best example).
To do this and still maintain our individualism, and freedom from socialism is the conservatives' main task and dilemma.
To fail is to enter a new Dark Ages as a result of poverty, war, or government. The other possibility is success in finding a golden middle.
"Tradition does not mean inheriting the ashes of the past. It means inheriting the fire" - German saying (roughly translated)
"When prosperity comes, do not use all of it." - Confucius
"A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car. But if he has a university education, he may steal the entire railroad." - Teddy Roosevelt
"You can't build a reputation on what you're going to" - Henry Ford
"If you are planning for one year, grow rice. If you are planning for 20 years, grow trees. If you are planning for centuries, grow men." - Chinese Proverb
"A single bag of money is stronger than two bags of truth." - Danish Proverb
"With enough insider information and a million dollars, you can go broke in a year." - Warren Buffett
"Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants." - Epicurus
"Money doesn't always bring happiness. People with ten million dollars are no happier than people with nine million dollars." - Hobart Brown
"If a man is proud of his wealth, he should not be praised until it is known how he employs it." - Socrates
"Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for."- Will Rogers
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything, that prevents us from living freely and nobly."- Bertrand Russell
"The barbarous custom of having men beaten who are suspected of having important secrets to reveal must be abolished. It has always been recognized that this way of interrogating men, by putting them to torture, produces nothing worthwhile."
- Napoleon Bonaparte