Many of us have learned to be wary of terms that are assumed and not clearly defined, much as a snake oil salesman relies on our mental image of what a product will do instead of making explicit promises. “Conservatism” lacks a clear definition for most of the public.
Breaking it down to its roots, the term obviously means to conserve, but most do not realize that this means conserving that which is functional and produces the best results, not simply nostalgia for preserving a former time.
This affirms the cyclic view of history, which holds that humans discover an adaptation to reality and then qualitatively improve it, but at some point lose the understanding of why they do this, and drift for centuries in quantitative changes like new Systems or rules without regaining sanity.
The Left wants us to believe that we have two choices in civilization, either one dedicated to the individual or one dedicated to the group. In actuality, conservatism sees a third option: a society organized by and aiming to fulfill the transcendent order of nature.
Transcendent means the ability to see the ends over the means, such that even though there are scary parts of life, the end goal and experience is worthy in itself.
The order of nature requires more parsing. Consider the concept of panentheism:
It offers an increasingly popular alternative to both classical theism and pantheism. Classical theistic systems often prioritize the difference between God and the world while panentheism stresses God’s active presence in the world and the world’s influence upon God. While pantheism emphasizes God’s presence in the world, panentheism maintains the identity and significance of the non-divine.
In a panentheist view, the heavens and Earth are contiguous and play by the same rules (Platonists recognize this concept as monism, in contrast to dualism, where heavens and Earth have different rules).
This means that natural order is divine order, and together they comprise some form of purpose or otherwise functional system. There is a pattern to life, and we can adapt to that pattern and then choose the best option within it, but we cannot choose another quantity, or non-realistic existence.
Leftism, on the other hand, posits a human existence: much as the individual desires freedom from attacks by others, the collective forms to enforce this, and removes any mention of the scary stuff in life, resulting in an artificial, neutered, and refined concept of reality.
When we fear life, we turn to this retreat into the human psyche and treat it as more real than reality because of its emotional, social, and symbolic power. This is the basic idea of Leftism: rejecting the order of nature because its means (methods) are scary, even if its ends (goals, results) are good.
If we look at nature, we can see that it rewards those who adapt and perform above the rest, and creates hierarchy on that basis, with all species having both a rank and a niche where they can do their thing. It keeps them in shape with predation, weeding out the weak and promoting the strong.
To a conservative, this order — both that of the gods and nature — is sacred, meaning that we derive meaning from it and joy in it, since it functions well, where most human attempts at order are based on the false social reality and therefore, lead to nothing but misery and failure.