In a word, it is because I am, at heart, an empiricist. I am interested in what works and in what has been shown to work. And of course, that means what systems in the past have been successful. And what aspects of systems in the past have worked. I value function first and foremost.
Leftists are virtually always rationalists at heart. Their focus is on how much a theory “makes sense” to them. In other words, how closely a theory matches their thoughts and desires, how “beautiful” it is. How much it makes sense to them. Their focus is on form.
As an empiricist, I don’t want to argue about what political theory makes the most “sense,” I want to argue about what works the best. A Conservative is all about function. And of course I naturally have to look in the past to make that determination.
And yes, there is some deviation on both sides–let’s not be rigid, here. But the main “current” for both are indisputably as described. And it not that one approach is 100% good and one is 100% bad–let’s not retreat into black-and-white thinking.
Also, this aspect in generally transparent to both those on the Left and those on the Right. So the argument develops as over a certain policy, but in actuality we are talking about two very different worldviews. We need to make the transparent visible.
Gun restriction is perhaps the sine qua non of this idea. It makes logical sense that if there were no guns there would be no gun crime. But empirically gun control utterly falls apart. It is indeed “beautiful” as a theory, but in real life it simply doesn’t work, and is in fact counter-productive.
So YOU may generally value form over function. And in that case, you are a rationalist–and a Leftist. But for me, I generally value function over form, so I am an empiricist–and a Conservative.