Ok, rant time... S'been a while.
Anyway: The Conservative mindset. I'm not about to sit here and go completely post-modern. I'm not going to deny evidence supporting 'grand narratives'. You're a fool to ignore evolution for instance. Equally you're a fool to still argue from a Marxist perspective that 'the man' has been subverting the impending proletariat revolution. No, the truth is the world is probably a mix of the two, there are occasionally grand narratives, and maybe even maxims, and you can't deny the passage of time! But, to be too rigid, to be too structuralist is simply idiotic too. This is the Conservative mindset.
'Conservative' by definition means 'averse to change or innovation and holding traditional values' according to the OED. Being averse to change implicitly suggests a perception of the past being better.
How is this true?
'Traditional values', what like feudalism?
I know that you may think that be a pedantic example but it really isn't, I mean which traditional values will you choose to cling to, those of the 1950s (despite the racism)? Those of the 1850s (even more racism)? The 1750s (burn the witches!)?
I guess the question is really how much has humanity progressed, ever? We have just come out of the bloodiest century in history in which the most pronounced human advances were made in the field of killing, all other technologies followed. So a conservative wants to hold on to the values of the most disgusting century in history?
Now let me put this to you, was it conservatives who formed the civil rights movement of the '60s? Of course not, even though now they claim the victory. Was Gandhi a conservative? Clearly not! Who are those who give impetus to terrorists in the Middle East? Religious conservatives. Who is waging the Western war over there? The conservative government of the United States. I mean Christ, I see why people are conservatives. If you have a nice house and decent car why would you want that extra 12% of American's who fell below the poverty line in 2004 to be helped using progressive methods (i.e. changing the system)? Why would want the possibility of higher taxes which might slightly alter your life? You are represented myriad ways beyond simply voting. Your purchasing power speaks in high decibels and if that speech is not asking for change there won't be any. That is conservatism. Maybe because of the near obscene level of middle class individualism we're all aspiring toward progressive, things, or maybe just more money, but if your aspirations don't reach outside toward other people you're a conservative, and that simply isn't vary humane. 'Compassionate conservatism' by its very definition is an idiotic oxymoron. Compassion by its very nature means something has been done wrong and you enact a change to correct that to the best of your abilities. How can you enact positive change if you are averse to change?
Now I know despite the best efforts of the Suffragettes, Martin Luther King Jr., Che Guevara and all the other people who have had the agency to try progressive reform we still had the bloodiest century in history. Women are still discriminated against, ethnic groups are still discriminated against and the U.S. has continued its imperial policies toward the Americas, respectively. The progressively minded person could also be the nihilist, but what else is there to strive for?
Surely it is not simply compassionate to enact change but honourable too? Conservatism appeals to a 'pop. honour'- the past has 'authenticity', therefore its values must be better. Those who stand up for lack of change (i.e. conservatives) simply advocate rose tinted glasses. Real honour would be striving to help those that the old order has forgotten, that demands reform.