When we break down the logic of conservativism, we will then be able to understand it. Believe it or not, there is nothing irrational about it, but this doesn’t mean that we need to support it. What drives its logic is its adherence to a “strict-father” morality and its reliance on folk behaviorism. Before describing how the model works, we will look at the assumptions that drive its logic.
It is not irrational if we believe that its assumptions are true, but it is dangerous if taken literally to those that are unable to meet its standards since social hierarchy and meritocracy are moral and necessary parts of the system. In fact, competition, which is the means to hierarchy, is such an essential and inseparable piece of conservative morality that without it it would become incoherent.
Without competition, there is no source of reward for self-discipline, no motivation to become the right kind of person. It is through competition that we discover who is moral, that is, who has been properly self-disciplined and therefore deserves success, and who is fit enough to survive and even thrive in a difficult world. 
This worldview is one mode of thought that is common throughout all cultures although perhaps not in the same exact configuration – a configuration that “appeals to the worst of human instincts, leading people to stereotype, demonize, and punish the Other. .” I am in agreement with Lakoff here, but if I am to be at all honest, then I must admit to using this “hawkish” type of reasoning myself.
If he has not worked hard enough, he is slothful and hence morally weak. If he is not talented enough, then he ranks lower than others in the natural order…The rich (who are talented enough and who have worked hard enough to become rich) deserve their wealth and the poor (either through lack of industry or talent) deserve their poverty. 
Assumptions on Human Behavior
Conservatives’ logic relies on folk behaviorism, which is a model of human behavior that explains learning in terms of rewards and punishments. Since we do respond to incentives, trade-offs, and consequences, then folk behaviorism seems to be true, but life isn’t all about carrots and sticks as much else can motivate us. It is, however, an essential piece for making their reasoning work.
People, left to their own devices, tend simply to satisfy their desires. But, people will make themselves do things they don’t want to do to get rewards; they will refrain from doing things they do want to do to avoid punishment. 
Behaviorism as a model for how we learn has largely been replaced by cognitive science as an explanatory tool . And it can’t be true in the absolute sense since it requires that punishment and rewards have absolute meanings, but they don’t since conceptual categories, which rewards and punishments are, are considered to be “fuzzy”, “radial” and vary in the prototype that is used.
Not only can’t we unequivocally define what reward and punishment are for everyone, but we don’t always act according to what the rational actor model predicts, which is not in some objectively defined way that is always in our best interests. What interferes with us maximizing our rewards and minimizing our punishment is that our reasoning varies over time, situation, and with the individual.
Often, the source of that failure is due to the fact that people use other forms of reasoning that get in the way of a reward-punishment form of “rationality”—prototype-based reasoning, alternate framings, worldview differences—which affect how categories of people and events are understood and even affect judgments of simple probability.
There exists an additional, hidden, assumption that “life is a struggle for survival“, and therefore “survival in the world is a matter of competing successfully”. . This means that the world is difficult and that we must become self-disciplined through rewards and punishments which builds character. We already know, however, from this post that we are making life a struggle for survival.
The Conservative Morality
- MORAL STRENGTH:
- This contributes a great deal—the strict dichotomy between
- good and evil, the internal evils, asceticism, and the immorality of moral weakness.
- MORAL AUTHORITY:
- This contributes notions of the legitimacy and illegitimacy of moral authority, and
- transfers the resentment toward meddling parents into resentment against the meddling of other authority figures.
- MORAL ORDER:
- This legitimizes certain traditional hierarchical power relations and, together with Moral Strength,
- makes it seem reasonable to think that the rich are either morally or naturally superior to the poor.
- MORAL BOUNDARIES:
- This provides a spatial logic of the danger of deviance.
- MORAL ESSENCE:
- This contributes the idea that there exists an essence called “character,”
- that it can be determined by significant past actions, and that it is a reliable indicator of future actions.
- MORAL WHOLENESS:
- This makes moral unity and uniformity a virtue
- and suggests the imminent and serious danger of any sign of moral nonunity and nonuniformity.
- MORAL PURITY:
- This associates our visceral reactions of disgust
- and our logic of the corruption of pure substances with the idea that morality must be unified and uniform.
- MORAL HEALTH:
- This adds the logic of disease to the logic of immorality
- and contributes the idea that contact with immoral people is dangerous
- because the immorality might spread in a rapid and uncontrollable way like an epidemic.
- MORAL SELF-INTEREST:
- This adds the idea that seeking one’s self-interest is a moral activity
- and interfering with the seeking of self-interest is immoral.
- The application of this metaphor is limited by its role in the system.
- MORALITY AS NURTURANCE:
- The role of this metaphor in the system is to specify when helping people is moral.
 Graham, George, “Behaviorism”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2019 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2019/entries/behaviorism/.
 Lakoff, George. Moral Politics. University of Chicago Press.
 Lakoff, George. Philosophy In The Flesh.
 Lakoff, George. The Political Mind. Penguin Publishing Group.
 Lakoff, George. Your Brain’s Politics. Societas.
 Wikipedia contributors. Behaviorism. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 16:59, December 17, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Behaviorism&oldid=993314157.