It’s that most of us are crazy, and while we have that in check, in groups the craziness becomes huge.
Think about a meeting. Once people start talking, inevitably you drift off topic. You end up discussing something unrelated. It’s hard to get back to the original meaning.
This is what happens to societies, even ideas themselves. Multiple people get involved and touch them, and soon, they’re mutated into something irrelevant. This is because each person brings his own needs and desires to the table.
In fact, it’s a rare thing to be able to truly consider an idea as itself in the context of reality itself. It rarely happens, and when it does, it’s by accident.
This is why bosses are good at “solving” specific problems but rarely good at fitting those solutions into a bigger strategy. That’s too much for them to consider at once. Only one thing at a time fits.
All of this is backdrop to the problem of politics. We talk about what “should” be done. But what is the goal? And why bother trying at all?
Here is what makes me a conservative: I don’t think the goal is individuals bringing their own needs and desires to the table. I think it’s that we consider our choices as themselves in the context of reality itself.
This is why conservatives endorse ideas like eternalism, or what is perpetually true; “the good, the beautiful, and the true”; “the permanent things.” (We get sidetracked into liberty, small government, etc. because we’re trying to remove the others who want to obstruct our access to good things so that those others can pursue an Ideological agenda.)
Conservatives think the goal of our society is health. We think that if we make ourselves sane, disciplined, honorable, noble, intelligent and thoughtful, we will be a reflection of all the good in the world, and good will come to us.
Of course, there’s a glitch in this, as far as “most people” can see. Namely, that it requires us as individuals to change.
Most people love change, when government’s doing it or we’re all doing it as a group. It never requires them to alter their own sense of self-control, or the pursuit of individual needs and desires.
Conservatives have the opposite view. The world is big, and we are small. Its order is defined and beyond our comprehension; our own order is often disorganized, half-Simian and confused.
Thus like a painter capturing an early morning sunset in oil on canvas, we study our world, appreciate its beauty, and make a version of it in ourselves as best we can.