The Second Coming of Huey Long and Father Coughlin

As William Butler Yeats noted in his famous poem "The Second Coming," written in 1921, the disintegration of the world order -- at that time, the British Empire -- brought out extremist tendencies which gathered attention and supporters whom otherwise stable societal structures would dismiss as quackery. The poet lamented that "[t]he best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." The 1920s and '30s were to prove Yeats' forebodings prescient, as both fascism and communism rose to prominence in nations rocked by the disintegration of centuries-old governmental structures and, consequently, desperate for a simple and clear way out. The rise of extremism Europe and America experienced in the 1920s and '30s is being recapitulated today, with both U.S. political parties being tempted by allegiance to political nostrums which promise a quick fix for what ails our country. This is the way of things when times are hard and the societal order unstable. ...(Read Full Article)