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Populism of the 1930s… oh how things never change

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posted on Sep, 27 2011 @ 12:07 PM
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During the 1930s arose two prominent populist movements in the United States. Even though the policy differences were great both were considered to be part of the ‘Old Right’. It was a coalition of Agrarians, Libertarians, Individualists, Isolationists, and pro-business but anti-New Deal Republicans and Democrats. The line was drawn in the sand, on the Left sat Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal people, groups, and organizations. On the Right sat Robert Taft and the anti-New Deal people, groups, and organizations. At this time Liberalism took on an all new form, so did Conservatism. Prior to 1933 Liberalism mean bourgeois classical liberalism which both parties believed in, alongside the elements of Progressivism and Conservatism. These Liberals who were suddenly labeled Conservatives, which at the time was an epithet because it was equated with the English Tories, finally created the Conservative Coalition to fight New Deal Liberalism.

But in the Old Right it was not merely the Libertarian Individualists and their former enemies, pro-Business Republicans and Democrats, but also the Populists which were opposed to the New Deal. Many of them were enthusiastic New Deal supporters at first but then abandoned it as a failure for whatever reasons. One notable group which joined the Old Right under these circumstances was the followers of Father Charles Coughlin. At the time he was slandered as an anti-Semite, a Nazi sympathizer, and all other terms used against the large grassroots opposition to intervention into World War II, and yes most Americans opposed any intervention or selling of arms to Britain until Pearl Harbor. Not just that but the Federal Reserve was often a target of populist anger; sound familiar?

These populists are who I want to focus on. There were two types, the simply non-interventionists led de facto by Charles Lindbergh and the Father Coughlin unionists. Both of these movements were focused on one particular idea: Isolationism. Take for example Father Coughlin’s campaign slogan: “Less care for internationalism and more concern for national prosperity.” What was strange in regards to Father Coughlin leading a Populist movement was that he was Roman Catholic. Even during the Kennedy years a very large rural distrust of Catholics was still apparent, yet this distrust was probably broken down in the ‘30s by Father Coughlin. Could you imagine, a Roman Catholic Priest leading a populist movement in what was considered by the people of that day to be a Protestant nation?

Charles Lindbergh was a noted opponent of the gradual build up to war and the silencing of opposition by the media, Democrats, and the administration which caused him to join the America First Committee, an Isolationist organization opposed to the war. These people were labeled traitors, Nazi sympathizers, anti-Semites, anti-Americans, and many were fired from their jobs, harassed by friends and family. This could be done in part by the massive propaganda campaign which was occurring, in movie theatres before the film would come on it would have messages about the war; it was designed to brainwash the people into following the government off a cliff.

Well enough of me talking I am sure you would like to hear what these two populists had to say back in the 1930s. Luckily there is video and audio of some speeches, below are the ones I found on YouTube.

Father Charles Coughlin



Charles Lindbergh


Huey Long




posted on Sep, 27 2011 @ 06:20 PM
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I knew instantly upon reading the title who put this thread up. Good for you! Populism goes back even further than the 30's as you will see upon further research. It is an important subject now due to the need for a viable 3rd party to break the stranglehold of the 2 party system. Times are such that the need has arisen once again for basic principles to be put forth and party rhetoric cast aside as hard realities create new common constituencies.

We are on a threshold of great change and those who truly care about our National future need to step from the shadows and assert their basic rights.
If a Catholic priest can move millions in the heartland it only goes to show that times can dictate new political realities that fly in the face of the old ones.



posted on Sep, 28 2011 @ 12:18 AM
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reply to post by Asktheanimals
 


It does stretch back further, arguably to the very beginning of this country. Andrew Jackson is the first true populist in American politics, some argue Jefferson but he was more of a philosopher type than a populist. I also covered the populism in the 1890s and 1900s with William Jennings Bryan if you want to give it a read.



posted on Sep, 28 2011 @ 01:42 AM
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Really brings up how Liberalism has been so brutally raped of any intellectual coherency that it's down right suspicious.

Modern Liberalism has evolved so contrary to the foundations of Liberalism that it might as well be called something completely different.

This country is FOUNDED upon Liberalism yet this term is now attributed to completely different ideologies. The modern political parties essentially ripped apart Liberalism aspect by aspect and split it in twine, creating down right stupid political ideologies in this country.

There's no point in even calling it classical liberalism because there is no real modern equivalence to it. Liberalism has mostly died on this planet,



posted on Sep, 28 2011 @ 01:42 AM
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derp
edit on 28-9-2011 by SpectreDC because: I really need a new mouse



posted on Sep, 28 2011 @ 09:18 AM
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reply to post by SpectreDC
 


The Hegelian dialectic at work, each generation overturning the old meanings of movements and basically reversing roles and names. Small wonder people have basically given up as even words have lost their intrinsic meanings. You can count on it that 30 years from now those same terms will mean the opposite of what they do today.

Misior: Bryan was exactly who I was referring to, I should have known that you'd done your homework. I truly admire and respect your astute observations and your dedication to learning. Having 4 grown sons myself I've seen how you have matured intellectually while a member here and I just wanted to compliment you for your contributions.
Many of the best threads here don't garner nearly the attention they deserve, just know that it's not the flags and number of responses that count, it's what writing the piece develops within you.


Eta: You might want to check out Coughlin's ties to the Jesuits.

edit on 28-9-2011 by Asktheanimals because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 28 2011 @ 08:13 PM
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Originally posted by Asktheanimals
reply to post by SpectreDC
 


The Hegelian dialectic at work, each generation overturning the old meanings of movements and basically reversing roles and names. Small wonder people have basically given up as even words have lost their intrinsic meanings. You can count on it that 30 years from now those same terms will mean the opposite of what they do today.


I wasn't using colorful language to be cool when I said I thought it was suspicious. I honestly believe there was a conspiracy committed against the intellectual identity and concept of Liberalism.

I like I say that ideologically I'm an anarchist while pragmatically I'm a (classical) Liberal. That's because while anarchy makes me warm and fuzzy inside, Liberalism at its founding is by far the most successfully human liberating philosophy to spread on this planet and works off of reasoning. Most of all, the state is barely significant to it's continuance, especially considering most examples of nations founded upon Liberalism were done so without a state behind it. And that's why it's dangerous. It puts power into the hands of the most insignificant person in the form of an idea and so that idea needed to be destroyed.



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