…is this: If liberalism were a church, “conservatives” would be its heretics, while reactionaries would be its apostates. “Conservatives” yearn for an earlier, “truer” form of liberalism—be it the industrial society of the 19th Century for some paleos and libertarians, or the New Deal and/or Civil Rights era for some neocons. This is why one often hears American movement conservatives claiming, not without warrant, to be “just old-fashioned liberals.” And much like Chesterton’s heretics of old, the “conservative” insists that he is the real liberal: “It [is] the kingdoms of the world and the police and the judges who [are] heretics. He [is] orthodox.”
The reactionary, on the other hand, is an apostate: He has left the Church of Liberalism altogether, and has no more interest in claiming its orthodoxy for himself than Richard Dawkins has in claiming to be the real bearer of the Anglican tradition.