The connection to the conservative inclination to resist change is consistent with others’ assessments of this key aspect of the conservative personality. And consistent with an intolerance of ambiguity and the related need for closure, little justification or substantiation is offered. Preservation of existing “arrangements” is to be accepted as an incontrovertible fact, premised on the belief that what worked before will continue to work well. Period.
Specifically, [the need for closure] fosters the tendency to seize on information that affords closure and to freeze on closure once it has been attained. The need for closure, whether varied situationally or measured dispositionally, has been associated with tendencies to engage in social stereotyping … to resist persuasive influence … and to reject opinion deviates. *
Conservatives, argues researcher Philip Tetlock of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, are less tolerant of compromise; see the world in ‘us’ versus ‘them’ terms; are more willing to use force to gain an advantage; are ‘more prone to rely on simple (good vs. bad) evaluative rules in interpreting policy issues;’ are ‘motivated to punish violators of social norms (e.g., deviations from traditional norms of sexuality or responsible behavior) and to deter free riders….’ [citations in original]
Kekes * argues that ‘the fundamental aim of conservatism is to conserve the political arrangements that have shown themselves to be conducive to good lives’. And, he continues, ‘the conservative view is that history is the best guide to understanding the present and planning for the future because it indicates what political arrangements are likely to make lives good or bad’.
*John Kekes is currently a Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the Univ of Albany [NY]. The reference above is from his article “What Is Conservatism?”