“If you’re young and not liberal, you don’t have a heart. If you’re grown up and not conservative, you don’t have a brain”. This used to be the amusing, if not descriptive, saying that was repeated about the left and right. Conservatism has been, for most of my life, about coming up with well thought out ideas designed to improve life in the real world in general. Not feel good fantasies or utopian catch phrases that have often been used by politicians to pull on the heart strings of people but do little real good.

However, it seems that 2015 has seen a shift in the sentiments of a large minority of the right. By large minority, it’s clearly not the majority of Republicans or conservatives, but certainly a large swatch of otherwise right leaning people.  What I observe is the right of populism on the right. The left has always embraced populism. Populism can be defined as a sort of group-mentality characterized by high emotion at the expense of, often, logic. That may be a harsh definition but it’s generally correct, I believe.

Wikipedia defines it a little more plainly as:

“Populism is a doctrine that appeals to the interests and conceptions (such as hopes and fears) of the general population, especially when contrasting any new collective consciousness push against the prevailing status quo interests of any predominant political sector.” Populism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
It seems the populism of 2015 is more emotion laden than logic driven. In area of discussions of preventing Terrorism domestically in the US, for instance, one populist candidate has proposed banning all Muslims from entering the US. This is clearly an illogical, and even foolish, idea and is the opposite of conservative. Given that Conservatives often argue against gun-bans by saying, if guns are illegal, only criminals will have guns, this populist candidate should realize that if you ban Muslims from entering the US, only dishonest terrorist Muslims will enter the US! This seems basic middle school level logic. The equation for Gun bans is the exact same equation as for Muslim bans, yet some otherwise conservative people can argue for a Muslim ban at the same time they argue against a Gun ban. This is like saying, “Of course 2+2=4 but it’s also true that 2+2=1!” and shouting it at the top of your lungs. Were logic to be used, instead of just untethered emotion, it would be obvious that a Muslim ban makes no more sense in preventing terrorism than a gun ban does in preventing crime. It is unarguable. So why would otherwise conservative people (not the candidate in question who says many non-conservative things) adopt such a position? Because it feels good to be “mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore”. This phenomena is going on worldwide, for those that pay attention international media sources. It’s anti-establishment and seeks to “throw the baby out with the bath water”. In the Republican party, it seeks to throw nonsense words around like RINO or Establishment as if they were good logical descriptors of anything. It’s the same thing that happens in any mob when one person yells “Ya! And they did this too” and everyone else starts yelling and waving their fits. It’s a wolf-pack mentality. And it’s not at all conservative and undermines logical thought. I’ve heard many on radio try to defend this kind of “rah rah” cheerleading of anger and nearly without fail, it is an appeal to emotion. But, you say, “We have a right to be angry! Look what’s happened!” Just because something bad has happened does not mean one should abandon their God given intellect and reasoning skills to run around in circles waving their fists in anger. In fact, this is counterproductive and serves to undermine your ability to positively change what you are angry about. To be sure, there are many things that need to be changed, reversed and improved. There are many things that I am opposed to in terms of government or worldwide situations. But I don’t solve anything but just yelling all the time and having a sour disposition. In fact, I make my situation worse and distance myself from solutions.
Conservatives will point out the illogic of many leftist positions and rightly so. We will say they are driven by utopianism and emotion. And it’s quite accurate in many cases. So why would conservatives adopt populism and be carried away by their emotions instead of rational thought? I  suspect it’s because of so many offenses and hard to accept situations. But this is precisely the time we need good clear thinking to prevail. Intellect over emotion. Head should rule heart in the public arena. Be angry briefly, the Bible counsels. But let’s leave populism behind and return to traditional thinking conservatism.