Two Theories of Wrongness

What, exactly, is the principle at the heart of "principled conservative" thought? And does the core principle provide a way to understand how and why they are wrong about so many specific and discrete policy areas?

Mike Konzcal suggests that the conservative core is libertarian, while Paul Krugman points out that no self-respecting libertarian would embrace the GOP position on abortion and obsession with the bedroom. Krugman says conservatives are guided by a determination to preserve current hierarchies. 

I think Krugman has the better argument when it comes to describing the GOP congressional delegation. But has it always been that way? In every country? Were the British Tories in, I don't know, 1890, just trying to keep the old guard in charge of everything?

Can a "conservative" party ever put together a reality-based policy platform? Or is it just turtles all the way down?