I think the real acid test is how someone views man: If one believes that man is basically good, then the believer is, overall, a liberal. If one believes that man is prone to error or is drawn toward things that he knows are bad for him (sin), then the believer is basically a conservative.
You can see the effects of these two distinct belief systems in the policies they create and the arguments they make. Conservatives, who believe that man is inherently sinful and that no man is infallible, are more suspicious of big government and of grandiose plans for society's improvement beyond traditional norms. They know that man is stuck in his condition and must do the best he can with what he is given. That each person, in order to be truly free, must control himself, and also that he really doesn't want to. Conservatives resist change so often because so often the changes come from men who work against a true understanding of human nature throughout history. They believe in reasonable government because they know that people will behave badly. But they believe in limited government and mercy because they know that there will always be exceptions to every law, that no ruler is always correct and impartial, and that no person can be expected to be perfect.
By strong contrast, liberals believe that people can be programmed to act properly (given the right conditions and vast amounts of oof). They believe that once a person has been taught how to think and behave according to the correct formula (always being just recently discovered by the liberal), man will, because of his naturally occurring desire for goodness, choose to behave himself.
Liberals truly believe that they can create heaven on Earth which is why they so love reason, logic, big government, and clever human engineering schemes. The average liberal is a naive and enthusiastic believer in new ideas and works with a passion that the conservative cannot understand. He truly wants to do good and, because he is naturally good and is completely rational, believes that anyone who would oppose his hard work and good intentions must be defective, hateful, uncaring, unfeeling, usw., and should be either re-educated or rubbed out lest the new and perfect system be contaminated. The Jews who led the Bolshevik Revolution and the NKPD/MVD/KGB of the former USSR, and oversaw the murder of 10's of millions of conservatives, are perfect examples of the results of this belief system.
Liberals are social engineers, forever seeking to liberate man's goodness, through force if necessary. Hence their neurotic cries for freedom even as they create giant, murdering police states. Conservatives cannot believe anyone so clueless could become so popular and powerful, and so tend not to pay attention to the warning signs. The outcome, every time, is that they fail to act soon enough and get caught in the clutches of the liberals' latest Frankenstein monster.
Anarchists and libertarians with anarchist leanings are, by my test, more similar to liberals than to conservatives.
Post G.W. Bush, there seem to be darned few conservatives left in America. But this is only temporary, if their underlying understanding of man's sinful nature remains uncorrupted.