Conservatives do not like ambiguity, and thus have a difficult time dealing with reality not existing in absolutes. More research is needed, but there is a gene in mice that gives fear towards ambiguity.
Things to look up:
The following needs some work: the ideas are there, but they are disorganized as I've added sentences from time to time.
The definition of conformity is “behavior in accordance with socially accepted conventions, standards, rules, or laws”. These conventions, rules, and laws, represent a rough average of the spiritual health of a civilization.
Some individuals will value conformity more highly than the ideal of altruistic love. These individuals are flawed because of internal fear. This fear feeds thoughts that they are not worthy of love, and drives them to seek security by other means.
Conformity leads to the existence of maladapted, flawed, and dysfunctional ideas. However, those who live with fear prefer conformity. They fear being vulnerable. Open discussion on topics that could reveal their fears are made socially restricted. Conformity does not allow controversial topics to be discussed in a constructive way. In a conformist environment, more value is placed on upholding social graces, maintaining the peace, political correctness, and overall positive appearances.
Conformists are not egalitarian, but instead look for their place in a social hierarchy. The establishment represents a higher status entity than themselves in their construct of hierarchy. Hierarchy provides a feeling of safety and stability for conformists. They therefore have an inherent need to trust the establishment. Conformists prefer to avoid making decisions for themselves, and would rather have a higher status person, or the establishment make decisions for them. Conformists would demonize whistleblowers. They are the ones that would support Hitler because they like the feeling of security so much that they will ignore atrocity.
Conformists have an inherent need to feel safe. They have multiple and independent belief systems that are contextually triggered to maximize safety. They do not have an intention to lack objective thinking, it's that their brains are wired differently. Their brains are a product of evolution. Survival isn't always the ability to be fair and honest, but it does help to think you are fair and honest when you aren't. With a conformist brain, you think yourself a saint while you butcher someone else. The deceiver is not aware of deceit.
So where does that leave rational thinking, if your perception of reality changes to suit your needs? How can you realize scientific thinking with that kind of bias? Persons whose primary motivator is the pursuit of safety and stability, are starting with a conflict of interest in the pursuit of scientific, rational thought.
For the same reason, where does that leave values or morality? Conformists will follow the morality of society not because of their intrinsic set of values, but because they value the order/safety that the system provides. They don't think for themselves. They are like robots acting on instincts that run a self-preservation program optimizing the continuation of their DNA to the next generation. Conformists would marry for money, since money confers higher status and resources. They want to climb their concept of social hierarchy, but still want to feel that someone above them can keep them safe. If they reach the top they may turn to a perverted belief in a God that is separate from them and of higher rank, to provide their need for hierarchy.
“Cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort (psychological stress) experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values.” Conformists are not able to see themselves as accountable for their actions. Their feelings overrule logic. Their mind is optimized for resource acquisition. They are not aware of their own true motives. The deeper mind is ruthless towards resource acquisition. To avoid cognitive dissonance in the conscious mind, the deeper mind creates rationalizations for the conscious mind to follow. A conformist will say one thing, and do the exact opposite, all the while believing they are in the right. They can commit heinous acts while showing no remorse.
Perhaps the way their mind works is that logic is not separate from creativity. While their minds are brilliant, they serve the id without an ability for reason or fairness. There is no loyalty, as a conformists emotional attachment will follow their current need.
Conformists' need to feel safe is driven by a homeostatic level of anxiety and fear. I have a hypothesis, which I'm sure someone has already researched. The innate conformist-fearful person, in the absence of threats, will perceive threats where they don't exist. Given they are in a constant state of anxiety and fear, they will rationalize that there is something to be afraid of, even if there isn't. This is how they can be manipulated by a madman like Hitler: he only needs to offer safety from an imaginary threat.
Conformists are good at overcoming hardships by being “positive thinkers”. They benefit the most from mental health therapy, since standard therapy involves distorting reality in ways that are inventively positive.
There must be some evolutionary advantage to having our level of conformity. However, modern society is a different environment from our evolutionary past, and what once was an advantage, could now be a liability towards a better civilization.
In the absence of threat, people still find things to be afraid of, because the mind is adapted to look for threats. The same for indignation. We can sometimes use logic instead of feelings to make decisions, and understanding these mammalian traits can help in sorting out false fear or indignation.
Addition by Annie G.:
As social animals we evolved an instinct for conformity because group cohesion improves group survival. But we would never have made any progress if that was all there was to us.
Those who are cast out, because they either don’t want to conform or can’t, often become the original thinkers and innovators that move society forward, whether technologically, morally, philosophically or artistically. Either society’s rejection forces them and frees them to think critically about society’s values and hypocrisy, or the original ideas and ways are the source of their rejection.
Next up: primordial fear homeostasis