You are absolutely spot-on.
But the reason people these days are confused about what liberalism/conservatism are is due in no small way to how the Democratic party has hijacked liberalism into a very narrow — and, frankly, warped — definition. Traditional liberalism is about challenging the status-quo and maximizing individual liberty — but the 20th century saw the Democratic party almost destroy that definition as they sought to cater mostly towards only one aspect of that tradition that believes gov’t must not only maximize freedom of opportunity but must also equalize capability. The embracing of socialism/political-correctness/racial-and-sexual-power-issues has seen the Democratic party leave liberalism behind while simultaneously declaring themselves as The Liberals… and this has had the corroding effect on many people’s minds that Liberalism (not liberalism) is vile — because it is controlling/manipulative/shaming.
I will grant you that Conservatism is not at all what the author thinks it is; it is the holding of old ideas, the embracing of NOT changing the world (except at the slowest pace possible), the movement to conserve ideas until those ideas are totally dead.
That said, I still think this is a great piece once you understand his real point and lay aside the fact that he’s wrong in his understanding of liberalism/conservatism: he’s using the GOP’s own modern-definition of Conservatism to help them come around to making progress on racial issues in their own way. Nothing wrong with that.