...the new dissent not only has no respect for non-conformism, but is based upon a relentless demand for conformity. It can most accurately be called pseudo-conservative...because its exponents, although they believe themselves to be conservatives and usually employ the rhetoric of conservatism, show signs of a serious and restless dissatisfaction with American life, traditions and institutions. They have little in common with the temperate and compromising spirit of true conservatism in the classical sense of the word....Their political reactions express rather a profound if largely unconscious hatred of our society and its ways...The pseudo-conservative, Adorno writes, shows "conventionality and authoritarian submissiveness" in his conscious thinking and "violence, anarchic impulses, an choatic destructiveness in the unconscious sphere...The pseudo-conservative is a man who, in the name of upholding traditional American values and institutions and defending them against more or less fictitious dangers, consciously or unconsciously aims at their abolition".In defense of the 1950s John Birchers described here, they at least had actual existential threats, actual enemies, and actual subversives to sustain their mood. Their present-day inheritors don't have those excuses, so their paranoia seems ginned up out of whole cloth. Of course, the media engines for doing this are also more powerful than they were back then. It's really easy to see the machinery inflating al Qaeda or Van Jones into figures of fear.
The ideology of pseudo-conservatism can be characterized but not defined, because the pseudo-conservative tends to be more than ordinarily incoherent about politics. The lady who, when General Eisenhower's victory over Senator Taft had finally become official, stalked out of the Hilton Hotel declaiming, "This means eight more years of socialism" was probably a fairly good representative of the pseudo-conservative mentality.
More. This really seems to capture the adolescent pseudo-libertarian streak that runs through modern conservatism (and I say this acknowledging that I have some authority issues of my own, which shade my politics):
For pseudo-conservatism is among other things a disorder in relation to authority, characterized by an inability to find other modes for human relationship than those of more or less complete domination or submission. The pseudo-conservative always imagines himself to be dominated and imposed upon because he feels that he is not dominant, and knows of no other way of interpreting his position. He imagines that his own government and own leadership are engaged in a more or less continuous conspiracy against him because he has come to think of authority only as something that aims to manipulate and deprive him.