Your average conservative actively denies that the root of conservatism is realism, or understanding our world through cause-effect relationships. That is, a problem arises, we do something about it, and something changes in our reality as a result of that.
A realist measures the success of his actions by those results. A humanist measures the success of an action by what other people think about it. And never the twain shall meet, as they like to say. These divisions persist throughout the life of societies.
Ironically, your average conservative wants to replace knowledge of cause-effect with mysticism, whether the worship of internationalist organized religion or a nearly-blind patriotism. These are proxies for the actual knowledge that having culture and spirituality makes people and nations saner.
When conservatives speak of “tradition,” most people think of religion and patriotism, but not a type of social order. Ours is that of a cultural framework for life, and in that, cause-effect is honored by preserving that which works best over the many years of observation.
People like to criticize this. The biggest sticking point, of course, is that this order failed and has been taken over by crazy Leftists. Of course, it could have failed harder like Leftism is about to, but to understand this criticism we have to first differentiate types of causality:
On the contrary, people think in linear terms: Billy kicked the ball. This describes human intent as if it were both cause and effect, namely that Billy intended to kick the ball so he manifested it.
This also provides a downside in that we assume he intended to kick the ball into the neighbor’s yard, even if he slipped at the last minute or simply misgauged the amount of force or angle needed. In our zeal to invent a reason why this event happened, we overlook the degrees of the many causes involved.
For example, if you feed Billy a breakfast of crap sawdust cereal, his energy may flag when the sugar high drops off and he will not exert his muscles enough, resulting in a low angle of attack and thus the ball not heading toward the soccer goal (Billy likes boring sports) but his neighbor’s yard.
Humans refuse to think about what they fear because they want to keep it distant. Death, defecation, disease, failure, and insanity… we keep those away from this “Live Laugh Love” house! And by doing so, we invite them in.
The greatest fear for humans may be that reality itself is cause-effect, not effect-effect in the classic human model where we intend something and therefore it happens. We are constantly trying to suppress the patterns of nature in order to make ourselves little gods.
This afflicts conservatives when we fear life too much and opt to think in terms other than cause-effect, since we would rather have a proxy for human intention like monotheism or patriotism instead of looking at the core of our views: we advocate what works best.
That is, many things “work” to a point. Some produce subsistence-level societies like in the third world; technically, that “works.” Some endure for a short time and then end catastrophically like socialism and diversity, but until then, they “work.”
To understand conservatism, we must see that it looks toward cause-effect over the longest time scale possible. It concerns itself with history, not the moment right now and our emotions about it. When we forget that, we end up flogging surrogates for what we desire.
The first step in getting to this realization is to see that life works in parallel by degree, everything is a tradeoff between an okay option and a better one, and that there are few hard answers, only choices based on who we are as people and our own degree of quality.
Modern conservatives fear that because it leads away from equality toward hierarchy. Conservatives bring order; Leftists bring individualism. When we are infected with individualism, we fear hierarchy and being lower than the top of the pole.
The inherent solipsism of human beings defeats them again and again.