Human imperfection Conservatives see human nature as selfish and flawed and emotional rather than rational. This pessimism impacts on their view of society and the state. Humans are intellectually limited.
The intellect and reasoning of humans are limited. Humans do not possess the mental faculties to make sense of a complex modern world.
Consequently, conservatives reject overarching theories or ideologies that claim to explain or predict the development of human society.
Instead humans need to draw on tradition, history and practical experience to understand their place in the world.
First, conservatives see human nature as psychologically weak. Due to our fragile and vulnerable nature, we desperately seek security and this can be found in hierarchy, a social system in which we all know our place and our roles and happily defer to the natural leaders who will be positioned above us.
This is clearly in stark contrast to the optimistic beliefs of liberals and leads most conservatives to value order above freedom and liberty. Our vulnerability also means that some individuals are likely to become criminals. Unlike that of liberals and socialists, this view of human nature suggests that humans do not have a natural sense of morality. Our human nature is selfish and greedy and we can have a tendency to violence. We require institutions such as the education system, the nuclear family and the police to impose the values of right and wrong on us. This has implications for the role and powers of the state. Without a strong state, society will become unstable and chaotic. Conservatives are therefore more likely to blame the criminal for their actions than to see society as in any way responsible for crime and this is linked to a focus on strict law and order policy, such as the death penalty in parts of the USA.