It’s long been my impression that conservatives, especially of the extreme Tea Party variety, are motivated largely by fear – of the unknown, of the ‘other’ (people unlike themselves), of the implications of rational engagement with the real world. And so they retreat to the supposed wisdom of the ancients, holy books and Founding Fathers. Us vs them. Conspiracy theories.
In all these areas, a conspiracist mind-set can be observed: The problem is a morally suspect out-group, being coddled and encouraged by big bad government, which is trying to destroy America, because of Evil. … the more vehemently they reject contrary evidence and arguments, the less open to honest discussion and dialogue they appear, the more powerful the evidence is that a close-minded conspiracist outlook is at work, with a chillingly narrow predetermined cast of heroes and villains.