Conservatism is at an extremely low ebb in Britain, as in most Western societies since the rise of Thatcher. Those who call themselves conservatives are just as, if not more, likely than progressives to look at the way things are and announce themselves as being clever enough to change it. All modern politicians are architects of a society they want to bring into being. No politician nowadays ever takes the genuine conservative position: "Maybe we should just leave things be."
And British society in general is the same way: if you say that you believe that old things deserve respect simply because they are old, people look at you like you need your head examined. Our society values progress and progress means constantly demanding that every action, policy or behaviour justifies itself against the aims that we want to achieve. If traditions or customs can't do this, then they are superstitious nonsense or quaint and foolish ideas which will be consigned to the dustbin of history. We care about data, facts, statistics, efficiency; hence the complete, dominating ubiquity of the phrase which rules all political, economic and sociological debate in the land: "The evidence shows....", and its red-headed step-brother, "Studies show...." To the modern mind, there is no greater anathema than valuing traditions for their own sake. Prove that something is worth doing through robust empirical research or a monograph with plenty of footnotes. Otherwise, fuhgeddaboudit. Weber's entzauberung is at its apex.
This means that a liking for tradition is seen as eccentric at best and pernicious at worst. And people who like traditional things feel as though they have to give other reasons than just, "I'm a traditionalist." They get defensive and a little embarrassed, and find themselves coming up with rational-sounding explanations. The best example for this I can think of is the arguments from people who think Latin should still be taught in schools. (I couldn't give a monkey's either way, for what it's worth.) Deep down inside, those people like the tradition of learning Latin and value it for its own sake. But, aware that they live in the era of entzauberung, they feel compelled to come up with justifications: "It provides a grounding in modern Romance languages!" "It helps with legal phrases!" "It's good training for the mind to learn the complexities of conjugating Latin verbs, and that can only be helpful when pupils study STEM subjects!" The teaching of history in schools is defended on the same grounds: it's all about learning the lessons of the past. There has to be an instrumentalist goal. Viewing the past as worthy of study in its own right, because it is to be respected as where we come from, would not hold sway.
Those of us who play older editions of D&D find ourselves in a similar predicament, I think. Without wanting to speak for everyone, I suspect that the reason why a lot of people reading this blog play OD&D and its variants is because they like being in touch with their pasts and having a link to the way things used to be. They may be able to come up with plenty of rational arguments as to why B/X D&D is better than 4e, or whatever, and those arguments may be convincing, but I'm not sure whether, at root, that's just because of the pervasive entzauberung that surrounds us. Isn't the real reason we like TSR-era editions of the game just that they've been around for a long time and provide us with links to our childhood and to people who were playing RPGs in the past? Don't we feel an emotional connection to older variants of D&D just because they're venerable?
Edmund Burke was probably the last philosopher who is viewed with any credence who put forward a strong argument in favour of tradition. (The only others I can think of are MacIntyre and Oakeshott, both of whom I like, but who I don't think were arguing quite the same thing as Burke.) His view was, really, that the only thing that separates human beings from, as he put it, "the flies of a summer", was that humans can inherit and bequeath things. Flies' lives are self-contained: they are born, they live, they breed, they die. Their children do the same thing. Over and over again. None of it is ultimately of any consequence and nothing any one fly does will affect anything to come, except in the sense that the next generation of flies is produced. And human beings, and the human species, would be subject to the same fate - are in fact subject to the same fate - except for the existence of culture and tradition.
Our culture and our traditions both come before us and outlast us. When we are born, we are born into a pre-existing world of cultural artefacts which were there, slowly developing, for aeons before us. During our lives we participate in some small sense in their propagation and their evolution. And after we die, they continue onwards. We are born into and perpetuate a human-created world composed of a vast and complex social order that is the cumulative creation of generation upon generation of our ancestors stretching back to prehistory. The great difference between humans and flies is that we can participate in projects that are bigger than us, longer than us, better than us. The project of British society was there before I was born and will be around for longer than I am alive, but for my three-score and ten I will contribute to it.
Burke's argument was therefore simply this: culture and tradition are not unchanging, and should not be viewed as set in stone, but at the very least have to be viewed with profound respect - for they are what makes us human. They bring us out of the biological, metabolic sphere of the fly (birth, life, breeding, death: rinse and repeat from now until the end of time) and into something greater - the human world, with its unique capacity to create things which transcend the individual. That means that tradition - the way things have always been done - is something that takes on great significance, even if ultimately it is abandoned.
While playing D&D is a very small and very ridiculous part of our human, cultural world, it is still a part of it. So why shouldn't one say openly, "I play Basic D&D because people were playing it before I was born, and I want to be in touch with what it is to be human, rather than being a fly!"? Say it once and you'll sound like a nutjob. Say it a few times and it'll grow on you. I dare you.