By conservative I do not mean it in the good sense of "not liberal," or "orthodox." I mean it in the negative sense, of "heterodox to the right." Both 'isms' are heretical, whether to right or to left, because both of them sin against the providence of God as worked through the Church. Both sin in believing the Church an overly human institution. Liberals think it is human by nature, conservatives human by accident - if that makes any sense at all. Both think the Church is capable of significant manifestations of doctrinal error.
Further, conservatives and liberals can be fanatical in so many similar ways. The closest thing to a rabid pro-lifer, is a rabid pro-choicer. Both have despised life and love so greatly as to have descended to a complete loss of actually beneficial human sensibility.
Just as there is no way to say which is better, the evil of fornication or the evil of arson (if you really thought about it), there is no way to say which is better, to sin to the left or to sin to the right.
Many of the people I know commonly equate conservative with orthodox. There is a way in which that is legitimate, if we observe that the reality is that 90% of so-called Catholics would fit into the liberal side, when we consider issues like contraception. But that's not how I want to use the word, because to do so would ignore the fact that there is a group of Catholics who sin against the Church's forward dynamic action of doctrinal development. All living entities grow, and to say the Church does not or should not is to will her death.
But for as much as they have in common, the pathology of the conservative is not that of the liberal.
So, then, why are conservative Catholics conservative?
As the liberal is obsessed with the notion of authority intruding upon the individual's conscience, the Church as enemy of the individual's heart, the conservative is obsessed with law and authority. As the liberal considers the Church to teach nothing concretely, the conservative thinks everything is taught concretely. But regardless, neither listens but wants to instruct the 'wayward' Magisterium.
Conservatives are obsessed with the Latin Mass like liberals are obsessed with sex. Why?
They are obsessed with the idea of violations of the sacred. I do not even know how they would exist in a perfect world: they would have nothing to direct their energy against. It is like the Psalms without the notion of the enemy.
They think solely in terms of black and white. As liberals are hedonists, they are pharisees. To them God is only just; to liberals only compassionate. Conservatives are hard, full of resentment. I could go on and on...
|Of course, just as aptly, a personification of the conservative.: |
Dostoevsky's Grand Inquisitor.
Why? Are they not plainly angry? Where does anger come from? In this case I think it comes from dad first. Dad has imposed an impossible or overly exacting and inhumane standard against one and all, which the child has adopted as the basis of his self-esteem. He condemns for that is the basis of his feeling good about himself; he is good if he hates evil immediately, thoroughly and comprehensively (even intelligently). As the liberal is more often the younger sibling and female, the conservative is more often the older and male. To the liberal, love is indulgence, to the conservative, it is discipline, instruction, and correction.
If it is good to hate evil - which it is - we must ask why he, why this one, hates so easily. It is not the product of pure reason, but of anger, hostility. This requires explanation.
Outside of the dad explanation (perhaps dad was a lamb?), it could be that it is the result of a shattered or challenged self-image. His principal vice is pride. Threats to this self-image are interpreted by him globally, as threats to the perfection of the world and of God. In this way it is terrible self-love. In his insecurity, he gets to define the rules of perfection, he sets the standard by which he judges all things. He carefully sets this out as not only a standard that makes sense to him, but one in which he has stacked the deck to provide himself with a certain advantage. His specific personality and skill-set are carefully reflected here so that his greatness may be perceived once the standard itself is endorsed: it is good, because he is good at it.
The liberal is self-pitying in his insecurity; the conservative wrathful in his.
As the liberal looks at the Church as a cruel father, the conservative looks upon it as his mirror.