Well, normativity is unavoidable.
However the difference he suggested, while clearly biased in conservative favour, does seem legitimate.
Conservatism = conserve what we have, examine the effects of the current state of things, and anything which threatens societal order is to be removed.
Liberalism = do what would lead to the ideally better world. If there's something bad/painful about how things are, try and get rid of it.
Conservatism = avoidance of change, Liberalism = avoidance of pain.
Retrospective pragmatism vs. short-sighted utilitarianism.
A true investigation into what will happen if the current situation persists, and what effects particular changes will have, is something that must transcend any such social boundaries.