A key element of conservatism is the idea of preserving social order, which always seems to involve a social hierarchy. This reality deeply affects the way conservatism is presented, as it lays the foundation for inequality on all levels -- not just in terms of power, but in terms of knowledge and understanding.
The reasoning goes like this:
- Some people are not capable of comprehending the truth.
- Therefore it is better for those who are capable – the leaders/rulers of society, those on the upper tiers of the social pyramid – to package the truth in ways that the "masses" on the lower tiers can understand.
- This packaging can even extend to outright fabrication, if that seems the best way to get the masses to support the decisions of the leaders.
The consequences of this include not only lying to those who consider themselves part of the conservatist social order, but lying to everyone else as well – with no apparent sense of shame if the lie is detected; dishonesty in the service of the social order is considered a virtue, and vast amounts of money are spent towards creating lies that are believable or at least difficult to refute. (see: think tank)
It also results in the idea, common to all levels of the conservatist social pyramid, that positions endorsed by the conservatist establishment are correct and all opposing ideas are wrong, full stop. The discussion or debate is not a quest for truth, but an opportunity for conservatists to convince others of the validity of conservatist ideas.
The conservatist social contract, such as it is, also leaves no room for equality; rules and laws to not apply to all. Those who are higher in the pyramid may break rules with impunity, even when they themselves have advocated or voted for those rules. Those lower on the pyramid have a duty to not only follow the rules, but to support the leaders in their violations of same – for the benefit of social stability.
Those who are outside the conservatist social hierarchy are considered lower than the lowest inside it, and may thus be lied to liberally and punished arbitrarily.