"The question is, why care so much about the names? I believe as long as the system is alright, it doesn't matter whether it can be considered liberal or conservative. Edwardian Britain, the US before 1950s, First Czechoslovak Republic, Poland, Hungary, and Romania of the 1920s and 1930s, pre-WWII Yugoslavia, France, Austria, and Italy, the Russian Empire between 1906 and 1914 - who cares whether these systems were liberal or conservative as long as they're, well, not too bad (but not perfect by all means)?"
This is a valid point. And I agree that the societies listed above were all quite civilised. If those societies had stayed as they were then everything would have been fine.
The problem is that liberalism (in the form of both liberal institutions and liberal ideas) is a kind of self-destruct mechanism. Liberalism is not static. A conservative (an actual conservative) would look at any of those societies and think this is pretty good, what we need to do is to make sure it stays that way. We need to be incredibly reluctant to change anything. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
A liberal on the other hand would look at such societies and exclaim, “We have so much work still to do.” And would immediately start demanding change. A good society is not enough. It has to be made perfect. Their efforts to achieve perfection always end in destruction.
Liberalism therefore creates ever-increasing instability.
Liberal institutions and beliefs are by their very nature sources of instability and social decay. Representative democracy is inherently corrupt. It’s political prostitution. And it always tends to ever-greater corruption and cynicism. Liberal scepticism will always lead to despair and nihilism. Liberal tolerance always leads to degeneracy. The mild forms of feminism that existed in those societies ends with the toxic feminism we have now.
And the dishonesty of liberals posing as conservatives fools voters into thinking they're voting for stability when they're actually voting for the opposite.
I guess the big question is whether there is anything to stop a liberal society from destroying itself? Was there ever a point at which the march of liberalism could have been halted? Is liberalism unstoppable once it gets going?
I do have a suspicion that it was the Second World War that changed everything. Prior to that our civilisation had not quite developed a full-blown death wish. After that war it seems like it was just downhill all the way. There was a complete loss of civilisational confidence. Taken in conjunction with the First World War there was also the total discrediting of the established order and established authority. It became very easy to sell people on the need for drastic change, sweeping reforms, a major assault on injustices and oppressions. Everything old became bad, because it was supposedly the old ways of doing things that had led to disaster.
Of course it’s questionable whether WW2 could have been avoided. It’s possible that the First World War made the second inevitable.
The world wars may well have caused conservatives to lose faith in conservatism. They started to speak the language of change and reform as well. Whatever actual conservative principles they may have had were abandoned.
The trouble is that once our civilisational confidence and our belief in any kind of traditions was shaken the process seems to have built up an unstoppable momentum. Our obsession with trashing the past becomes ever more extreme. Liberalism hasn’t merely continued on its course, it has steadily accelerated.