Conservatism suffers because it is not an ideology, or a symbolic belief system applied uniformly to reality with a centralized command structure. Instead, it is a general approach, namely that we conserve the best of human endeavor over all time instead of focusing on the current, what is socially popular, and what other people think they should impose on us.
This leads to discontent because by affirming radical common sense realism over the span of human history, we are going to be killing some sacred cows and pointing out to a lot of people that they are not as cool as they think they are.
Consequently, conservatism finds itself constantly under assault by those who want to make a variety of conservatism that is social, or flatters people in their illusions, instead of realist, or focused on results in reality as the final arbiter of good and bad.
This leads to a rise of “hybrids” or groups that have some conservative content but are basically headed in a Leftist direction, just more slowly than the Left. If Democrats are 60% Communist, conservative hybrids at 50% Communist look “bipartisan” and seem to be breaking the two-party mold.
The most famous hybrids — neoconservatism, fascism, libertarianism, and national socialism — all attempt this process with varying degrees of adoption of Leftist methods, which in turn supplant conservative goals.
For example, neoconservatives believe in “WW2 forever” or constant war to bring democracy, equality, diversity, and gay rights to the rest of the world; national socialists shifted their racial loyalty to the state, basically becoming a large ethnic special interest group like the Jews they claimed to despise.
Every generation brings about more of these groups, and eventually they fade away, but only after wasting time and energy by siphoning it away from actual conservatism. Like the Leftist part of their hybrid bloodlines, they ultimately direct power to the Left.
One example is the conservatarian movement:
Increasingly, some young people who lean right-of-center are embracing a fusion libertarian-conservatism, colloquially known as “conservatarianism.” These young people, like me, are predisposed to favor conservative ideology, but fed-up with the old-style social intolerance still lingering within the GOP, and have a more open approach to issues like immigration.
The Left gives even more blatant hints about the ideology behind conservatarianism:
“In politics, arguments win the day,” Johnson said. “In Silicon Valley, to the greatest extent possible, data and metrics settles the argument. We’re focused on being results-driven. We’re focused on action that’s measurable rather than just rhetoric.”
Apparently “data and metrics” means finding ways to argue that Leftist entitlements and open borders policies are in fact “good” for the economy, or at least cheaper than other options, which in turn will be taken to mean that we can rush headfirst into socialism under a libertarian conservative banner.
From another side of the political palette, take a peek at the Solidarity Party, a form of Christian Democrats for America:
We are a party that seeks the common good, on common ground, through common sense. We believe in the sanctity of human life, the necessity of social justice, our responsibility to care for the environment, and promotion of a more peaceful world. We cherish the individual rights and separation of government powers protected by the U.S. Constitution, and recognize the need for social supports and community cohesion. We seek to bridge the bitter partisan divide with principled and respectful policies and dialog.
Very few humans will make it through decoding all those buzzwords. The first sentence can be discarded as rhetoric but the second leads in with “the sanctity of human life” (anti-abortion) but follows it with “the necessity of social justice,” a Communist trope.
Translation: if we can con the Christians into lunging for the “abortion” red flag again, we can lead the morons straight into Communism with “social justice” and “a more peaceful world.” Once you analyze the paragraph, it becomes clear that the whole point was to hide “social justice” behind opposition to abortion.
Unlike the conservatarians, who are basically agnostic christian libertarians, the Solidarity Party aims to appeal to those who want to make Christianity into an ideology. Much as “fusionists” turned conservatism into an ideology, instead of a folkway as it natively is, there are those out there whose big plan consists of Christianizing America.
Obviously, this makes no sense, since using religion as a control surface means that religion will become a battleground for those who want to seize power, and then we can relive a few centuries of European wars over the sandal-wearing middle eastern faiths and sects.
Nor do we really want to relive the 1960s, when William F. Buckley introduced his fusionism that dropped the controversial parts of conservatism (awareness of race, caste, sex, and class differences) in order to make it into a weapon for anti-Communism, but in doing so reduced conservatism to “Christian libertarianism,” or free markets plus deracinated religious “values” in lieu of organic culture. This made conservatism into an ideology.
This might enable us to distill conservatism down to what it is: anti-symbolism. Instead of pursuing symbols, which are categories that obscure detail with open-ended and vague meaning, we need to consider only beliefs which are based in history and the moments when the best of human endeavor poked its head out of the morass of mediocrity and made us, for a few brief moments, like our species.