Conservatives believe in personal responsibility. By that we mean that you, and I are responsible for what we do and don't do and the forseeable consequences. And we believe that other people should be responsible as well. We think once we are adults, we are responsible to take care of ourselves and our families. We think adults, for the most part, should bear the consequences of their own actions. And we see this as almost a law of nature. When you transfer consequences and let people off from what should be their responsibility, no good comes of it. It encourages laziness and immaturity, thoughtlessness, and, as a result, bad consequences. When people are lead perpetually to believe that they are not responsible for improving and maintaining themselves, they tend to do bad things or become dependent blobs. In fact, to a conservative, the willingness to take responsibility for your life, the good and the bad, warts and all, is a mark of maturity.
We think that getting someone else to donate to a charity, or voting for a Democrat doesn't make you or me generous. It is only the act of taking money out of our own pockets that entitles us to think of ourselves as generous. It is this attitude that accounts for the fact that conservatives give a higher percentage of their income than liberals to charities. Conservatives do not count government programs as part of their generosity.
In my observation, there are a lot of people who vote Democratic who believe in personal responsibility too. For the most part, they haven't figured out yet that they are really conservative.