Glenn Reynolds links to a really good post by a man calling himself “GoldwaterRepublican.”
I agree with almost everything he says, and here’s an excerpt:

When someone asks me why I am a Republican, I say I am a Republican because I believe in free trade, fiscal responsibility, personal freedom, individual responsibility, and state’s rights. The person asking the question will usually begin a diatribe about how the Republican Party in recent years has not necessarily advanced the above-mentioned values. While I do not agree that the current Republican leadership has wholesale sold out the ideals that are the fabric of our party, I cannot disagree with the basic assessment that our leaders have tossed aside some of our values.
I think the two biggest areas where Republicans have sold out traditional Republican values are fiscal responsibility and state’s rights. Government spending and the national debt are up significantly under the Bush administration. We have increased entitlement programs, i.e. Medicare and refuse to get serious about cutting government waste. While I continue to support Bush’s tax cuts, he and other Republicans must get serious about balancing a budget and cutting government waste if they want their economic policies to work and come across to the public as being fiscally responsible.
In regards to state’s rights, I know many on here will disagree with me, but this is an important value, even in regards to moral questions. I am pro-choice and pro-gay marriage, however, I acknowledge that there is no constitutional right to either of them. It is my opinion that our founding ancestors thought that states legislators should decide these types of issues. In addition, I think states are better able to handle these types of issues and federal debates on the issues are a waste of resources and time.

There’s more, of course, including a good discussion of the Republican Big Tent idea. Although I have qualms about gay marriage because I dislike introducing family court jurisdiction into the lives of people who’d be unable to opt out, I don’t see it as a federal issue. But my personal thoughts about gay marriage are a minor point. What interests me the most is the way we all tend to allow definitions and characterizations by other people to affect what we think.
I too am a fan of Goldwater conservatism. The problem is, I think the word “conservative” has been hijacked by so many for so long on both sides of the spectrum that it no longer has no meaning. As I argued in an earlier post, Barry Goldwater would be called a liberal by many who claim to be conservative today. But the word “liberal” is also devoid of meaning. The two words are alternately used as insults to scold or as compliments to entice, depending on who is trying to establish hegemony, and have little to do with an individual’s philosophy. Quite the opposite; the labels are chiefly intended to stifle individual thought. (I’ve struggled over the definitions for a long time . . .) But classical liberalism is dead. So, it appears, is genuine conservatism.
That’s why I called myself a “Goldwater liberal.” (As well as a RINO in name only. . .) But I’ll also plead guilty — right now — to being a Goldwater conservative.
As long as the labels don’t get in the way of what I think, I’ll just have to label and let label.