The frontier, the leading edge of private retreat, was not possible without a massive international and global infrastructure and use of cutting-edge technology and instant communication.
A common modern variation, telecommuting while “farming” ten acres in a rural community, is also obviously impossible without technological scale. Scale refers to the idea that human societies grow in complexity and, er, scale with advancements in technology and the resulting productivity gains creating a reinforcing cycle of more and more scaling and consolidation and globalization.
As to more typical forms of conservative private retreat, they are also scale-dependent. Homeschooling was originated by people using cutting-edge communication technology and benefiting from the postwar explosion in mechanical advancement producing farm equipment that could be used to work otherwise marginal parcels of land in either size or quality. Even though ultimately most didn’t do much agrarian stuff and still don’t, the online and DIY ethos was carried forward and is still a substantial part of homeschooling as lifestyle.
There’s also the dependence of conservatives on industries that can’t exist without an overscaled society. Like IT, or government administration. Many small-government conservatives are employed in government jobs at government departments that didn’t even exist thirty years or even twenty and see no contradiction between their dependence on a larger and larger government and their belief that government should be smaller. IT in its tech-company form is obviously full of deviance and general anti-family social aspects, yet it is if anything promoted the absolute most by conservatives as a family-supporting career path.
Conservatives tend to rely for frugality tips on mass production of cheap goods and also see nothing wrong with this dependence on cheap global labor in textiles and food. A common example where Costcos are located is telling mothers to take the kids to Costco to fill up on samples before dinner as a “frugality hack”.
There is much truth to the idea that progressives want everyone to progress towards a state of total and perfectly individual consumption, but the flipside of that is that conservatives want the same thing, except one level up, at the level of the nuclear family rather than the single individual.
But the problem with relying on more and more scaling up is that extreme complexity collapses, and brutally so. There is no graceful failure mode in a world of just in time grocery shelf stocking. Yet without an outlet for private retreat, there isn’t anything like the American conservative at all.