On this basis, the rationale for a judicious conservatism becomes straightforward: problematic though the status quo may be, the contemplated changes may well make matters yet worse.
To be sure, nothing in the presently contemplated case for conservatism contradicts the idea that the status quo may admit of improvement.
Overall, then, the moral foundation of conservatism resides in a combination of two key factors: a respect for the stance of the wider community that acknowledges the limitations of the individual's personal judgment and a benevolent concern for the well-being of others that refrains from putting their interests at risk in the absence of due consultation and well-informed consent.
Approached from this perspective, the difference between liberalism and conservatism is not so much one of political--let alone economic--ideology.
Enlightenment liberals, of course, had no converse need to appeal to the conservative values of hierarchy and tradition in order to challenge conservatives: no need, that is, to find ironies internal to conservatism.
WEhen writers link irony to conservatism, or make claims for the centrality of humility to liberalism, they are thus thinking of bodies of argument that unfolded in the wake of the European Enlightenment and its aftermath.
A sense of humility about human capacity has thus become the temperament that the major branches of American conservatism hold in common.
My observation is simply that if one goes looking for a temperament that the various strands of American conservatism all share, a good candidate is humility, just as irony is for libealism.
Some hyper-traditionalists, or paleo-conservatives as they have come to be called, regard Lincoln as a great enemy of conservatism who denied the right of the southern states to secede and enormously expanded the role of the federal government.
Conservatism in the Confederacy was even more paradoxical.
This conservatism fiercely opposed Reconstruction, and, according to Allitt, "blended easily with the creation of the Ku Klux Klan.