Ends Justify the Means
For conservatives, civilization is always on the verge of collapse. It's easy to justify any abuse of constitutional niceties when barbarians are at the gate. And it's easy to cut ethical corners when you can dehumanize your ideological opponents as monsters.
Self-serving lying becomes a matter of course when you convince yourself you’re serving an abstract higher truth. The conservative defense of perceived moral norms thus institutionalizes immoral means—and leads to the conservative subversion of law and order. This is why every conservative government ends in a hail of indictments and investigations.
Symptoms of Ends Justify the Means
Conservatives are willing to pursue abstract ideological ends whatever the practical consequences. Children sickened by E. coli? The American crushed by unscrupulous, unregulated mortgage brokers? It's worth the price, so long as the abstract ideal— delegitimizing government; the triumph of privatization—wins out in the end. read more »
One of the cherished ideological goals of the Reagan Administration was defunding the left—which often meant, in practice, checking the influence of disinterested, expert civil servants in favor of cronies and ideological allies. They were indifferent to the damage to public institutions—as long as the abstract ideological end was served. read more »