I have a number of friends who are authentic conservatives. They subscribe to well-articulated principles and argue, on the basis of principle and factual evidence, that conservatism has been — and should continue to be — a counterforce to what they regard as liberal excesses.

One of their chief principles:

The rule of law: No one, not even the chief executive, is above the law. Within the context of our constitutional democracy, the rule of law defends individual liberty and stands as a bulwark against two possible tyrannies: (1) the tyranny of the self-serving dictator; (2) the tyranny of an intolerant majority that seeks to undermine the legitimate interests of minorities.

The separation of the executive, legislative and judicial powers, in conjunction with our constitutional system of checks and balances, is indispensable to the rule of law.

Are President Trump, members of his Cabinet, his legislative supporters and his base voters authentic conservatives? To what extent do they instead embody radicalized far right-wing authoritarianism?

Andrew G. Bjelland, Salt Lake City