As one of the few Jews willing to admit to being politically conservative, I get asked the same question all the time, “How you can be both politically conservative and a Jew?” Most of the questioners are either liberal Jews who consider me something of a heretic, or a fellow conservative surprised to see the rare Jew within their ranks. My response to the query is usually “How can a Jew not be politically conservative?”
Conservative principals such as limited government and individual responsibility are all deeply rooted in Jewish tradition. In B'reishit we learn man is created in G-d’s image, teaching us that just as G-d acts as a free being, without prior restraint to do right and wrong, so does man. G-d does good deeds as a matter of his own free choice, and because we are created in his image so can man. Only through free choice can man truly be in the image of G-d. It is further understood that for man to have true free choice he must not only have inner free will, but an environment in which a choice between obedience and disobedience exists. G-d thus created the world such that both good and evil can operate freely. Free will is the divine version of the conservative principal of limited government. G-d provides the winning direction (Torah) but allows the individual to pick his own way.
Because we all are created in G-d’s image, Jews believe that ”All men are created equal,” meaning that we all have the same opportunity to forge a relationship with G-d regardless of intellectual capability, social background, physical strength, etc. It does not mean, as the liberals ascribe to, when it comes to talents, predilections, or natural abilities we are all equal. Nor does it mean we all should have the same big screen TV, wireless internet, or savings account balance.
Jewish tradition takes a positive view of both the institution of ownership and the accumulation of wealth. It respects economic success, so long as it is obtained honestly, and proper respect is shown for the social responsibility that comes with it. That social responsibility is an individual duty and a job for the community led by its religious leaders, but not for the government.