It seems to me that “conservative” and “liberal” are a false dividing line for politics. The stereotype of a liberal is someone who just makes the rules up and wants change for change’s sake. The stereotype of a conservative is someone afraid of any change, and more afraid of any new thought.
You’ve heard the jokes:
“A liberal is just a conservative that hasn’t been mugged yet.”
“A conservative is someone who believes nothing should be done for the first time.”
“A liberal is someone who wants to be generous with other people’s money.”
“A conservative is someone who believes words of the dead should carry more weight than those of the living.”
Since “conservative’ and “liberal” are relative points on a continuum, we need to clarify what we are being conservative and liberal about. Neither response is sane out of context. To always be conservative would be like preferring to turn our car right regardless of where we really needed to go. Obviously, always being liberal would be the same image inverted.
Neither position is necessarily based on character or virtue. They are more like mindsets or moods. Unfortunately, the two party system can predispose us to divide into two camps on any issue. What will usually be missing in that discussion will be most important topic- our common good.