Yet it seems to me that in Buddhism, we have some values that quite closely approximate "conservative" values while flatly denying "objectivity" in the ultimate level. For example, there is that famous quote by Padmasambhava: 'Though the view should be as vast as the sky, keep your conduct as fine as barley flour.'
I was wondering about possible responses to these Western conservatives, pointing out that one doesn't really need "objective" values in order to behave morally in accordance with a system of values, but 1) I'm not sure if it would even be a good idea since quite a few Buddhists aren't really prepared to admit it themselves and it would come close to talking about emptiness to those not prepared for it, 2) I'm not fully confident of my own arguments.
Anyway with regard to point 2), my argument is as follows:
On the ultimate level, causality and karma are all ultimately illusory.
However, karma exists as a conventional, relative truth. If you commit of the 10 negative acts as outlined in the sutras as a complete action (intention, action, satisfaction), you will incur the karmic seeds of the consequence.
It's not very different from causality in terms of physics: you throw a ball in the air, it will drop sooner or later. Even from the point of view of physics, the ball, the air, are collections of sub-atomic particles, or even probability waves; however from the human point of view you still see the ball falling down.
Similarly, the animal realms, animals, hell-beings etc do not exist ultimately, but conventionally, a sentient being who commits a negative act will still incur the seeds for ending up as an animal.
AFAIK, this not that complicated but I'm not sure it is a convincing argument to monotheists/eternalists.
It. seems to me that a lot of the rhetoric about "objective" values acts like a kind of retreat from confronting the fact that "objectivity" does not exist. These conservatives like to claim that the laws in Western societies are based on Judaeo-Christian values, but historically, IMO the pagan Graeco-Roman and Germanic law codes in Europe have at least as much, if not more claim to that, putting aside developments over the centuries. For example, marriage laws in Europe historically are much more influenced by pagan Roman laws rather than anything Semitic.
I am not accusing these conservatives of fascism, on the contrary, I respect many of them, but I think Hitler had a very similar idea when he talks about replacing a constantly changing vision of knowledge with a fixed pole:
It seems to me to be rooted in a desire for certainties in an uncertain world; in Western philosophy, from its beginnings, species of realism always predominated over any movements towards scepticism. e.g. there's always been a lot of talk about Stoicism being an inspiration for people and being a form of "Western Buddhism" while Pyrrhonism, IMO far closer to Buddhism, has mostly been neglected. Also, Western mathematics from the Greeks to the present has always placed a lot of importance on the idea of "proofs" while the whole concept was basically unknown to the Babylonians and Chinese and the Indians just had the idea of upapatti, which aimed to "remove confusion" rather than finding "infallible, eternal truths".
IMO, the question to ask in an uncertain world isn't to ask "What can we know for sure?" but "What works?" and "What is my risk of ruin?" If you ask the former you will look for objectivity that fails you sooner or later, if you ask the latter, you don't have to care about looking for some mythical objectivity while keeping your eyes on the consequences.