Conservatives look to the past as a guide to the future. The past tells them who human beings are, and how they behave, and what is possible. In their approach to the future, conservatives are pragmatic and ground their hopes in experience. When the Founders were drawing up plans for the Republic they looked at the history of past republics and concluded that democracy was the least problematic form of government but that it posed the danger of a populist tyranny. So they instituted a system of checks and balances to guard against tyrannies of the majority and to provide the public with a cooling off period in which their emotion driven agendas could be corrected by reflection.There's more, of course, at the link, but in essence, conservatives are realistic thinkers and progressives are wishful thinkers.
Progressives, by contrast, look to an imaginary future as a guide to the present and regard the experience of the past as “reactionary” and “backward.” Progressives have in their heads an image of what the future should look like based on emotion (hope and change), and they discount the experience of past and present as products of ignorance, prejudice and selfish interests, which they are determined to overcome.
Progressives are focused on destroying what is in the name of an impossible what-can-be (“hope and change”) and it’s very hard for them – impossible for the truest believers — to correct course when they are on the march and their programs aren’t working. All contrary counsel is seen not as experience-based wisdom but as obstruction and reaction.
It might also be aptly stated that progressives are crazy and delusional, or are at least misled and duped by charismatic, persuasive others, and fail to think for themselves, ie. they don't "have minds of their own", even if they believe they do. But we must have compassion for them and offer to help them, if they'll accept it. For they know not what's wrong with them, nor that there's a better way of seeing and analyzing the world around them, ie. "thinking for oneself logically, rationally, and based on observable evidence, as opposed to just thinking stuff is so which one has heard or been told that one should think to be so".
It's like they're still children, psychologically. I remember when I was a child. Amazing, the obviously not-real things I used to believe were real. So, to grow up chronologically, physically, even socially and professionally, yet still believing in things that aren't so, well, what does that make one? I know that if I still believed in the stuff I did when I was a little kid, that'd make me... nuts. So what of all those who believed in Obama's supposed godlike greatness, voted for him, and then, when asked immediately afterwards as to why, and couldn't say, 'cause they had no idea why they believed as they did? Needless to say, millions of them have smartened up... at least a little, due to the devastating disappointment of non-delivery of Utopian Paradise by Obama the Supposedly Omnipotent...