This is a good question.
I spent several months before the 2020 election answering it.
“There is a question that bothers many political conservatives today. It bothers us so much that the progressives and reactionaries take great delight in making us wince by asking it again and again, in their gloating and glowering essays. I can attest that they send it to us in emails and direct messages and even texts, too: “Why have you failed?” Or, “Why do conservatives fail to conserve?”
What is the point of you? is less a question than an accusation or a verdict.
But it’s just as poignant to ask the question the other way around: Why have reactionaries failed? Reactionaries have been blaming conservatives for two centuries, usually for standing in the way, like a donkey clogging up the road. But shouldn’t their politics take account of this and figure out how to whip that donkey into running, or at least push him off the road? Or perhaps, more to the point, why are progressives winning? Many of the answers are pure mythologizing about the “arc of history.” That’s not a reason, it’s just self-flattery gussied up as metaphysics. …
The modern psychological self acts in the world as a kind of solvent, dissolving all the bonds of unchosen obligation that in fact constitute a working civilization. The strangely sovereign, strangely captive “self” demands a form of justification for society that society cannot provide on terms that such an individual accepts. …”
In the United States, I have explained at length that this is a problem that goes back only a little over a century. American culture is now saturated by modernism which has dissolved our ethnic identity. Eric P. Kaufmann wrote an entire book about it which I reviewed here in August.
As for reactionaries, they have opposed modernism from the beginning. The first group to do so was the Second Klan in the 1920s. The Klan failed because it faced too much opposition from Protestant elites, business elites and the emerging mass media. Modernism became the American mainstream between the 1920s and the 1950s. The battle was fought and lost in Irving Babbitt’s time.
In our times, mainstream conservatives are modernists. Strangely, they complain about how the modern self has dissolved “all the bonds of unchosen obligation that in fact constitute a working civilization,” but condemn us for precisely for that reason. After all, it is the “racists” who insist on the importance of traditional ascriptive forms of identity like their racial, ethnic and cultural identity leftover from the Victorian era. These unchosen identities command the fierce loyalty of “racists” who are immoral and beyond the pale for clinging to them (morality being the -isms and -phobias) and thus have “no place” in the Republican Party which is defined by its retarded, electorally toxic libertarian ideology.
So, you tell me why American conservatives define their project as conserving liberalism, modernism, antiracism and cosmopolitanism against anyone who criticizes or objects to this consensus, which they have done since at least the end of World War II. They are the ones who control the Republican Party and define the American Right. They are the ones who work with progressives to uphold those norms. They are the ones who insist that the only meaningful identities, especially for White people with rightwing views, are ones which are freely chosen by autonomous individuals. We’re the ones who object to this because we have always opposed the premises of modernism and rightly diagnosed the social decomposition it has inexorably led to. Maybe conservatives conserved nothing because of their own values?