I'm using the word here in the American sense, as opposed to "conservative." I'm probably more of a socialist these days than I used to be (well, given that in 1979 to my eternal shame I voted Tory, that would follow) but I'm not sure I can go all the way with socialism, and since the Labour Party have abandoned it I'm obviously not alone in that uncertainty, though I hope my motives are a little purer than theirs. Communism and free-market capitalism seem to me to be very much alike in being predicated on an unrealistically idealised view of humanity.
The following linked articles are ganked wholesale from my LiveJournal, where they appeared in response to a definition of "conservatism" (again in the American sense) which in turn was a response to a post I made responding to a somewhat shorter and less comprehensive description of a conservative viewpoint. (It just goes on and on, this stuff, you have no idea...)
Profound and heartfelt thanks to my sources of inspiration, without whom I might never have clarified my thinking on this.
It should of course be stressed that these are personal opinions, though strongly held, and that in no way do I intend to imply that I am right and other people are wrong. Even though I think I am and they are.