This is from an American
perspective, so the American conservatives are the ones I am addressing here.
I have heard it said that conservatives are people terrified by the idea that somewhere, someone is having more fun than they.
This is true in some cases, but more often, conservatives have an ideal look to a society, and that ideal involves traditional, two parent families, strong communities, and active religious lives by the citizens. They tend to believe in market economies with minimal government welfare (for individuals at least. Corporations are a different matter, and conservatives differ with one another regarding them). This naturally makes them the ideological enemies to those who disagree with the precise nature of this vision. Some people feel that, for example, loving couples who are gay athiests with adopted children should feel perfectly at home in this country, and that the conservatives' vision would ostracize them at best, and make them hide in fear for their lives at worst. They feel that the poor should be helped, even if it means taking taxes from the non-poor to do it.
Some fear that conservatives would force religion on them and their children, and there may be some merit in that view, at least as it pertains to some conservatives. Conservatives are not a monolithic block, however. Some are more religiously oriented, others are more economically motivated. In this country, most people who regard themselves as conservative vote for candidates from the Republican Party. Other conservative parties exist for specific needs, such as the Constitution Party.
I grew up in a liberal household. My parents were born in the 1940s in Mississippi. Conservatives (in their estimation) were an open enemy to their happiness, so, understandibly, they identified with liberals. I think, though, if you speak to most conservatives, you will find a genuine desire that people be happy and secure. Their objectives are generally honorable, as are those of their opponents, actually. It is an unfortunate reality that people tend to stick with those who think similarly to themselves so frequently that they rarely encounter opposing views in an interactive, non-combative manner. When conservatives and liberals sincerely sit down and just talk, rather than argue, they usually find that they agree on a lot of things, and those things they disagree with aren't hateful disagreements. They are honest ones, and generally, aren't open to negotiation because of that honesty. In America, we settle these disagreements with the ballot rather than the bullet. Other places aren't so fortunate.