At a town hall meeting in North Carolina the other day, an angry constituent challenged her congressional representative who would not vote to “de-fund” Obamacare. She said, “We need to show the American people we stand for conservative values.”

What are “conservative values”?

I have considered myself “politically conservative” for years. I want a fiscally responsible budget, a sensible and simplified tax code and smaller, less intrusive government.

Aren’t these “conservative values”?

Apparently not conservative enough.

Conservative values today seem to go far beyond these simple maxims. Just compare the Tea Party platform at www.teaparty-platform.com with “real conservative values” at www.conservapedia.com or www.patriotvoices.com. The contrast is striking.

The “real” conservatives today expect more government intrusion into our private lives — particularly for women.

“Real” conservatives tout individual rights, except when it comes to issues such as abortion and same-sex unions.

“Real” conservatives seem bent on restricting freedoms: freedom to vote (at least not without onerous requirements), freedom for women to choose how they wish to treat their bodies and freedom to ensure our government remains secular as affirmed by our Constitution.

Choice is the critical element of freedom. While the Second Amendment allows me to bear arms, it is my choice in the end whether or not I do.

As long as our right to choose is protected, the “freedom restrictions” that “real” conservatives want aren’t necessary.

No one in our nation is forced to have an abortion or enter into a same-sex union.

For those who are opposed to such “choices,” the solution is simple:

Choose not to. But don’t take the right to choose away from anyone else.

If “conservative values” means restricting choice, then the values that these people impose on society as a whole can only be described as creating a space where freedom is lost.

Skip Crane

Seabrook Island Road

Johns Island