There is some disagreement about whether or not Mark Twain actually said, "History doesn't repeat itself, but often it rhymes." Be that as it may, Geoff Smith writes that these days, in the United States, you can hear the rhymes -- with the 1920's:
Americans in the era both celebrated and recoiled from the impact of cosmopolitan urban culture upon long-standing rural values. Nervous citizens also rued the corrosive effect upon tradition of what journalist Walter Lippmann termed the “acids of modernity” — the automobile, radio, “black” music and literature, and, of course, bootleg liquor — upon accepted social mores.The U.S. certainly helped win the Great War against the Central Powers, but to judge from events in the following decade, the country was as anxious as it was excited about the novel developments. Despite flappers, bootleg gin, colourful gangsters, and a loosening of old rules, one is struck by the American postwar dynamic of “taking back” America from inferior races and minorities.
And, despite the roaring economy, all kinds of nasty things were coming up for air:
In its purging of socialists and other radicals, the Red Scare of 1919-20 sought to revitalize an older, Anglo-Saxon America, as did restrictive immigration laws in 1921 and 1924, which closed the gates to Asians and Southern and Eastern Europeans.Race riots and a spike in lynchings in the South, meanwhile, warned blacks not to traverse Jim Crow. The Ku Klux Klan assumed national prominence, similarly disposed against anything new or strange. The Klan was a many-splintered thing — anti-Semitic in the Northeast, anti-black in the South, anti-Catholic in the Midwest, and anti-Asian on the West Coast.
Other developments, included the burgeoning of Fundamentalist Christianity and the famed “monkey trial” in Dayton, Tenn., which featured three-time presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan defending the literal truth of Jonah and the Whale, bespoke fiery Fundamentalist defences of Protestant Christianity, the Calvinist faith of the Fathers against all forms of religious liberalism.
In Michigan, automobile mogul Henry Ford railed against “international Jewry,” which, he charged, had taken control of American banking and entertainment circles. Ford’s calumnies against Jews everywhere caught the eye of a hopeful German politician named Adolf Hitler. His subsequent testament of hate, Mein Kampf, lifted passages verbatim from Ford.
It all came crashing down in 1929. One wonders what comes next.