On Wednesday evening, 41 Republican senators voted against expanding gun background checks. In doing so, they helped define the legacy of an expansive conservative movement whose 'small government' ideology has become increasingly confusing in recent years. For example, conservatives both oppose requirements for gun ownership but support a process that would force applicants for social services to submit to drug tests.

It's not the first time conservatives have sent mixed messages about how much government should involve itself in people's lives. Conflicting ideas about the role of government have sometimes made it difficult to understand what modern conservatism stands for, exactly.

Now, most conservatives admittedly don't advocate for both sides of the positions below. And while doing so wouldn't necessarily be indefensible according to conservative principles, it's hard not to notice the awkward contrasts that sometimes emerge when looking at examples from across a broad political ideology.

Take a look at a selection of conservative double standards below. Think we're missing good ones? Want to help us build our list of liberals' double standards as well? Submit your own examples by pressing the "Add a slide" button below.

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  • Background Checks

    <strong>NOT OK:</strong> Expanding <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/17/background-checks-bill_n_3103341.html" target="_blank">background checks</a> for gun purchases, to prove one can be trusted with a deadly weapon. <strong>OK:</strong> Making welfare applicants <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/04/welfare-drug-testing-bill-congress_n_2806450.html" target="_blank">pee in a cup</a>, to prove one can be trusted to buy groceries.

  • Education

    <strong>NOT OK:</strong> Using taxpayer dollars to fund <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/21/conservative-replublicans_n_812415.html" target="_blank">art in schools</a>. <strong>OK:</strong> Using taxpayer dollars to send kids to schools that <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2012/07/photos-evangelical-curricula-louisiana-tax-dollars" target="_blank">"teach controversies"</a> -- like creationism and the “respectability” of the Ku Klux Klan.

  • Waiting Periods

    <strong>NOT OK:</strong> Requiring a <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/12/23/gun-owners-vs-the-nra-what-the-polling-shows/" target="_blank">five-day waiting period</a> for gun purchases. <strong>OK:</strong> Requiring a <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/08/us-usa-abortion-southdakota-idUSBRE92711L20130308" target="_blank">three-day waiting period</a> for abortion procedures.

  • Mandates

    <strong>NOT OK:</strong> Requiring everyone to <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/04/03/the-republican-plan-for-replacing-obamacare-doesnt-replace-obamacare/" target="_blank">purchase health insurance</a>. <strong>OK:</strong> Requiring (at least in principle) every household in town to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/01/nelson-georgia-family-protection-ordinance_n_2995657.html" target="_blank">own a gun</a>.

  • Women's Health

    <strong>NOT OK:</strong> Requiring most employers to provide workers with insurance coverage for <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/01/blunt-amendment-vote-fails-senate-contraception_n_1313287.html" target="_blank">health services the employer may oppose</a> for "moral reasons." <strong>OK:</strong> Requiring a woman seeking abortion services to <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/02/07/1554731/transvaginal-probes-under-radar/" target="_blank">undergo a transvaginal ultrasound</a>.

  • Religion

    <strong>NOT OK:</strong> Acknowledging any <a href="http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/04/north_carolina_gopers_get_in_on_the_sharia_ban_game.php" target="_blank">"foreign law" (read: Sharia)</a> for legal purposes. <strong>OK:</strong> Declaring Christianity an <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/03/north-carolina-religion-bill_n_3003401.html" target="_blank">official state religion</a> that would exempt the state from the Constitution and court rulings.

  • Subsidies

    <strong>NOT OK:</strong> Subsidizing <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/06/state-lunch-milk-programs_n_2632517.html" target="_blank">milk or lunches</a> for low-income school children. <strong>OK:</strong> Subsidies <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/03/01/1654501/oil-subsidies-century/" target="_blank">written into the tax code</a> for Big Oil, a <a href="http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/summary.php?cycle=2012&ind=E01" target="_blank">major supporter</a> of congressional Republicans.

  • Government Spending

    <strong>NOT OK:</strong> Cutting <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2013/03/06/house_votes_to_restore_defends_funds_that_had_been_removed_in_sequestration.html" target="_blank">defense spending</a>. <strong>OK:</strong> Cutting spending on <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/02/sequestration-effects_n_2996101.html" target="_blank">everything else</a>.

  • Marriage

    <strong>NOT OK:</strong> Opposing international <a href="http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2010/12/17/shameful-republicans-kill-bill-prevent-child-marriage/" target="_blank">child marriage</a>. <strong>OK:</strong> Opposing <a href="http://www.newsmax.com/US/rnc-gay-marriage-debate/2013/04/12/id/499217" target="_blank">gay marriage</a>. <em>(Note: A number of Democrats also opposed the International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act)</em>