Silent Revolution

bt“The idea that tens of millions of Americans could be, in effect, turned into anti-Americans seemed insane. But it happened, didn’t it?”

In Silent Revolution: How the Left Rose to Political Power and Cultural Dominance, historian and political scientist Barry Rubin answers that question in convincing style and considerable detail. What happen was a “break from all American history” and “an ideological defacing of liberalism” on the part of the “Third Left,” the heir to both the Old Left of the 1920s-1950s and the New Left of the 1960s and 1970s.

As Rubin sees it, the Third Left took over liberalism, portrayed its only opponent as reactionary right-wing conservatism and claimed that their radicalism represents all that is good in America and a correction to all that is evil. The new radicalism also claims a monopoly on truth and a right to fundamentally transform America. This altered approach, Rubin explains, “was one of an unprecedented degree of statism, an imperial presidency that went far beyond Richard Nixon’s dreams: record high levels of government regulation, taxation and debt.” It was “a different system from the one through which America achieved success and prosperity. Yet the fact that such changes were occurring was everywhere denied even as it was happening.”

The timing was also significant. Across the globe, regimes following the Old and New Left’s model were collapsing. At the very moment in human history when it became obvious that the far left’s ideas had failed and that statist big government, ever-higher-regulation policies did not work, it became possible for the first time ever to convince Americans that these things were precisely what the country needed. And at the very time in human history when Western civilization and liberal capitalism were so obviously the most successful in history – recognized as such in the Third World and most of all in formerly Communist China – a camouflaged radical movement convinced many of those benefitting from the system that their own societies were in fact evil and failed.

According to Rubin, it became possible to convince Americans their society had failed because the Third Left “put its emphasis on infiltrating the means of idea and opinion production.” The Third Left shunned the factories and focused on foundations, NGOs, popular culture, publishing and journalism. Reporters “routinely used politically charged language that would have gotten them fired in earlier times” and mass media were out to “protect the image of anyone on the left side.” Rubin cites the portrayal of Ted Kennedy, involved in the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, and Bill Clinton of Monica Lewinsky fame, as heroes on women’s rights while others who had done nothing were “accused of waging a war on women.” Likewise, Rubin notes that Time magazine ridiculed Arianna Huffington when she was a conservative in 2001 but in 2006, when she turned to the far left, the same publication extolled her. “Such lessons put across the point that those who cooperated with the Third Left would be rewarded; those who crossed it would be destroyed.”

The Third Left’s subversion of bedrock American institutions such as the news media has only become more emboldened. A more recent example Rubin cites is the 2009 JournoList scandal, a product of the machinations of former Washington Post star pundit Ezra Klein. Influential writers, academics and members of the press on the confidential JournoList list-serv spoke of how to be most effective in ensuring Obama’s election victory in 2008. They told colleagues to deflect attention from Obama’s relationship with Jeremiah Wright by calling Obama’s conservative critics racists. Rubin also cites Ryan Donmoyer of Bloomberg News who said, “Is anyone starting to see parallels here between the teabaggers and the rise of the Brownshirts?”

Yet, says Rubin, “not a single serious investigation was conducted about Obama’s earlier life.”

In the universities the Third Left “drew heavily on Marxist historians from the Communist era – like Howard Zinn – and the New Left generation.” History became a revolutionary tool for discrediting American society and “showing it is unworthy of continued existence.” As in Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States, the USA is responsible for Cold War and the USSR is innocent. “This is a staple of university history courses,” says Rubin, “despite the fact that the documents show a very different story.”

The author also notes that when Naomi Schaefer Riley of the Chronicle of Higher Education wrote of the low quality of Black Studies programs she was “quickly barred from the publication.”

From their new power centers the Third Left “sought to roll back the great liberal democratic revolution in human society. Anger, hysteria and class warfare replaced pragmatism and logic.” As Rubin observes, “the demonization of Christians, Republicans and large areas of America by an intolerant elite is one of the most absurd features of the terrible distortion of reality so powerful in the contemporary United States.”

The Third Left’s goal was “to convince Americans the exact opposite of what their experience proved: that the country had fundamentally failed and the old leftist solutions were the answer.” In the Third Left view, wealth was not created by individual enterprise and workers but stolen from poor foreigners and oppressed nonwhites. In a divide-and-conquer strategy, the Third Left declares America evil and “and the people are broken up into warring groups.”

The United States has been transformed into a county of castes, something like a medieval society, while the goal of equal treatment of citizens and the attempt to reward individual merit were overthrown in favor of special privileges. Every male and white person becomes guilty and can only attain innocence by backing the destruction of their own “privileges” by backing the Third Left and “Progressive” liberal agenda.

Barack Obama “came to symbolize the silent revolution,” but readers of Rubin’s book will find no conspiracy theories. For Barry Rubin, Obama is “just another product of the ideology and indoctrination that grown-up 1960s radicals had systematically spread to his generation and its successors.” By radicals he means people like Bill Ayers, Van Jones and Bernardine Dohrn, who back in the day said that young Americans should “use their strategic position behind enemy lines to join forces in the destruction of empire.”

Rubin shows how Obama’s mentor Frank Marshall Davis called himself a “progressive” to conceal the reality that he was a Communist. Rubin charts Obama’s radical professors and finds no case of him challenging any orthodoxy of the left or criticizing any Communist regimes. Obama emerges as the Third Left’s self-hypnotized Manchurian candidate, shrink-wrapped in statist superstition, hostile to America like his spiritual mentor Jeremiah Wright, and certainly not a liberal.

If Obama was a liberal, asks Rubin, “why did he repeatedly denounce the greatest accomplishments of liberals and call for a completely different approach?” Obama also opposed the American priority of protecting individual liberty from government control, “something liberals had never done.” He mocked a healthy skepticism of too much government as a bumper-sticker idea that doesn’t work. Even the liberal Warren court, Rubin says, was not “radical” enough for Obama.

Obama’s pronouncements appear in a different light when separated from his multicultural studio audience and cheering section. For Obama, “[a] free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play.” As Rubin notes, “But it had always thrived under fewer rules than Obama wanted, while it had plummeted with the level of rules and definition of fair play Obama had imposed during his first term.” No worries, because that plays into the Third Left’s self-perpetuating system.

The economy would decline, constantly adding to unemployment payments, food stamps and other government programs, which in turn gave the Third Left more reasons to blame capitalism and the greedy rich for not having met society’s needs: to demand even higher taxes; to raise taxes, and to increase government spending.

Rubin believes that the radical forces and ideas of the Third Left will “continue to hold the commanding heights” even after Obama leaves office. The result “may be a very long term and even permanent change of the United States into something else, a nation far less affluent and far less free.”

That is the fundamental transformation the president and the Third Left want. It does seem insane and the author wonders, “Will there be a U turn?” That is, can tens of millions of people be turned back into pro-Americans? Barry Rubin passed away in February and does not chart the prospects for such a turnaround. A good place to start would be for Americans to read Silent Revolution and acquaint themselves with the true nature of those who call themselves “liberals” — and start pushing back.

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  • samuraiajg

    Welcome to Socialism brought to you by the Democrat Party with the help of RINO Republicans. The seed was planted into the brains of our youth who attended Ivy League Campuses operated by Communist Professors. Time to cleans this Cancer from all campuses and Politics.

    • Harry_the_Horrible

      Well, to be honest, the Left has been pushing since the beginning of the 20th century. They got their biggest boost in in the 1930’s with the Depression, FDR and the entrenchment of the Frankfurt School over here, and got another boost with Vietnam the left taking over academia.

      There is a LOT of social inertia there…

      • cadgbd

        With counseling from Marx, Lincoln pulled off a communist revolution. The Progressives that co-opted the Republican pparty were known as Forty-Eighters (1848 they fled Europe for America).

  • Loupdegarre

    Pete nailed it in 1970:
    We’ll be fighting in the streets
    With our children at our feet
    And the morals that we worshiped will be gone
    And the men who spurred us on
    Sit in judgment of our wrongs
    They decide and the shotgun sings the song

    I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
    Take a bow for the new revolution
    Smile and grin at the change all around me
    Pick up my guitar and play
    Just like yesterday
    And I’ll get on my knees and pray
    We don’t get fooled again
    Don’t get fooled again

    Change it had to come
    We knew it all along
    We were liberated from the fall that’s all
    But the world looks just the same
    And history ain’t changed
    ‘Cause the banners, they all flown in the last war

    I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
    Take a bow for the new revolution
    Smile and grin at the change all around me
    Pick up my guitar and play
    Just like yesterday
    And I’ll get on my knees and pray
    We don’t get fooled again
    Don’t get fooled again
    No, no!

    I’ll move myself and my family aside
    If we happen to be left out of line
    I’ll get all my papers and smile at the sky
    For I know that the hypnotized never lie

    Do ya?

    There’s nothing in the street
    Looks any different to me
    And the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye
    And the parting on the left
    Is now the parting on the right
    And the beards have all grown longer overnight

    I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
    Take a bow for the new revolution
    Smile and grin at the change all around me
    Pick up my guitar and play
    Just like yesterday
    Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
    We don’t get fooled again
    Don’t get fooled again
    No, no!

    • The March Hare

      Except that Pete was/is on the wrong side. When he wrote this they had pretty much started to see it as having to change to what they called “evolution revolution” and in the late 70s infiltrated and took over the Democrat party. Our destruction has been an inside job.

      • Loupdegarre

        Yeah, that’s why he bopped Abbie Hoffman in the head at Woodstock cause he agreed with him and it’s why he threated to sue Michael Moore if he used this song in one of his movies. Nice try.

        • The March Hare

          He bopped him because he barged onto the stage during the Who’s performance. Here is an excerpt from Pete Townsend’s memoir “Who I Am”:

          “As we started to play “Acid Queen,” I put myself in character, imaging myself as the blackhearted gypsy who had promised to bring Tommy out of his autistic condition but was actually a sexual monster, using drugs to break him. As I walked to the mic stand, someone stepped in front of me, trying to stop the music. It was Abbie Hoffman. “This is a crock of shit,’ he shouted into the mic, waving his arms at the audience. “My friend [the Detroit poet] John Sinclair is in jail for one lousy joint and…” He got no further. Still playing the “Acid Queen” intro, and feeling malevolent, I knocked Abbie aside using the headstock of my guitar. A sharp end of one of my strings must have pierced his skin because he reacted as though stung, retreating to sit cross-legged at the side of the stage. He glowered at me, his neck bleeding. I finished the song and looked over at him. “Sorry about that,” I mouthed. “F*** You,” he mouthed back, and left the stage. I was always absurdly territorial about our performance space. This may have been instilled in me as a little boy with my father’s band, the Squadronaires: The stage was sacrosanct.

          Townshend later said that while he actually agreed with Hoffman on Sinclair’s imprisonment, he would have knocked him offstage regardless of the content of his message…

          As for Michael Moore, Pete wrote to his publisher:
          “I believe that in the same email to my publisher and manager that contained this request to see the film I pointed out that “Won’t Get Fooled Again” is not an unconditionally anti-war song, or a song for or against revolution. It actually questions the heart of democracy: we vote heartily for leaders who we subsequently always seem to find wanting.

  • Davros11

    Until we start naming names, pointing out communists/socialists liberals/progressives as the enemies of America and use “EVERY DIRTY TRICK THEY USE” to reverse this take over of our country we deserve it all.. Stop trying to be “MORALLY” superior, these scumbags will do anything to destroy America, we need to do “EVERYTHING” we can to stop them.

    • nicky9999

      The old ad

  • The March Hare

    At the age of 75 I have seen this country go through these changes. I was raised in a Republican family and my mother was a real news buff and a strong anti-communist. I saw it in a correct prospective. I suppose that due to all the boring government stuff that was pounded into my head as a kid that part of my rebellion was to live life for the fun and enjoyment and ignore news of all types. In the 60s the news became a dry boring non-informing entity that I turned my back on and the 70s became filled with propaganda about the need for a free society that I even bought into for a little while. But as time went on the propaganda that seemed so uplifting and freedom giving at first just conflicted with the facts I knew and could see for myself. Those that came along about 10 years later bought into it at a younger age and really got caught up in it and it became the foundation of their belief system that became the core of the New Left. Many changed their minds as life went on, but not until they had unwittingly contributed to the significant changes that made this society into a force that changed the direction of this country, but many went on to become the movers and shakers that took over and undermined the American dream. The left had not only been planning this for years, they even established institutions for training leaders and organizers and kept it all under the radar from the rest of us. It didn’t just suddenly happen, it was growing all along, but the media was one of the first casualties of the war they were waging. They have been programming minds for too long now. I doubt it can ever go back.

    • ahad_ha_amoratsim

      I think a lot of us would love to undo the stupid things we were part of in the late 1960s and early 1970s. I know I would.

    • lyndaaquarius

      with very strong American’ll go back.

      • The March Hare

        Questo è vero e proprio divertente. Forse possiamo ottenere il Papa a insegnare in una classe. Naturalmente, il Papa è ora professando la necessità di redistribuzione del reddito. Forse ci può informare della filosofia di Antonio Gramsci.

  • Demetrius Minneapolis

    The only item I can add to this article is for those who don’t wish to read what looks like an interesting book, is to find on Youtube (or Zootube as I call it), a documentary called Grinding Down America. Best 1.5 hours one can spend and if you use a certain program, one can save it to disk, and make copies for your neighbors.

    • laura r

      saw this it last yr. amazing.

  • Jonathan Cohen

    Very thoughtful commentary. The one thing I would question is whether the third left is any sort of left at all.

    The new left leaned heavily on the critiques of C Wright Mills, Baran and Sweezy and William Domhoff, all of whom offered critiques of power in American society. They talked about how the organs of culture- the news media, the universities and even the mainstream churches – had boards of directors that represented the ruling elites. Today’s new rich and powerful make their money off of the control of information so there is no longer any distance between how the powerful make money and how the culture is created.

    The older rich, particularly the energy industry, can purchase ad time on television to promote their views but Facebook or Google can simply censor views they dislike. Furthermore, their skills can be placed at the disposal of candidates they favor.

    It would seem that for an honest leftist, the rise of such influential billionaires as Gates, Soros and Zuckerberg would cause them to pause about their politics. For example, the promotion of amnesty for illegal aliens is useful to businesses that prefer a pool of cheap highly skilled workers in preference to the more expensive and demanding Americans with the same skills.


      Yes, they’re the Left – he specific form they take may vary, but the Left is fundamentally about seizing power. They have no problem with billionaires who are part of their greater movement; they certainly do with men like Sam Walton. As for allying with big business on the amnesty issue, the Left realizes that these aliens will vote their way (Democratic) and give them the lock on power they desire, at which point they can dismantle and/or imprison the business interests they were formerly allied with, as needed.

      The proper way to see the political spectrum is Left = Statism and Right = Freedom. Socialism, Communism, and Fascism are all movements of the Left, their denials in the case of fascism notwithstanding. In fact, we should add Islamism to the Left in the modern world.

      • Seek

        Nonsense. Rightism has a long tradition of collectivism, whether the older “throne and altar” conservatism of pre-WWI Europe or Fascism/Nazism, which are NOT phenomena of the Left.

        • CherDash

          The acronym NAZI has the word Socialist in it. Nazis were leftists.

        • NAHALKIDES

          No, that’s just they way the Left likes to confuse people. If Conservatism means conserving a monarchy, then such Conservatism is of the Left, not the Right. Politics ranges across a spectrum from slavery to freedom, and the terminology should reflect that. Putting totalitarian movements at both ends makes no sense.

          • justquitnow

            Yeah…if it’s good then it’s not left and if it’s bad it’s left. Even if it’s called something else, if it failed and you don’t like it, then it’s left. It’s all so meaningless…what good are ideas if they don’t help you understand anything.

          • NAHALKIDES

            I’d suggest looking at it this way: measure where we are on the spectrum based on how close we are to total freedom (laissez-faire economics), or the right end, or else how close we are to total servitude, or the left end.

            Thus Sharia or Islamic law must be viewed as very far Left because the individual has no rights, and even though there are dissimilarities with Communism, which is also far Left.

  • Clare Spark

    The New Left revolution asserted itself against “McCarthyism”. See my analysis of the literature on Joe McCarthy here: “Joe McCarthy and the Warrior Spirit.” It also reviews the history of progressivism starting at the beginning of the 20th century.

  • Demo P. Seal; PouponMarks

    Look, the “Left” has been winning-except for a half time break in the Reagan Era-for over 50 years. They have a deep bench of entitlement minded, lazy, permanent protesters/moochers to do the street work, mailing, and grunt work of the Marxist Billionaire/Millionaire elite, heavily directed and influenced by multi generation Ashkenazim Marxist Communist Jews. Just look at the power positions in the Nomama Adm., etc.

    The “Right” will not be able to even stop, much less reverse, the destruction caused by the locked reptilian jaws of the Left unless it is willing to go to all out cultural, economic, and education war; the messy, dirty, bloody, and unconditional surrender of a contra/treasonous/foreign/occupying force of mentally ill, sociopathic, and manical destroyers.

  • Phil

    Recent polls of a cross section of Americans showed how out-of-touch the celebrities of the left are to popular opinion in spite of the left’s overwhelming control of the media. Americans are just not buying the lies, distortions, and misguided policies of these ideologues. The polls are also showing that Americans are disgusted with the performance of this administration and resent the constant attacks of racism by the administration and hypocrites of the left. Despite twice electing an African American President and having African American cabinet members and 50 years of affirmative action, that is not enough for the left’s racial industry as most people resent being called racist and being blamed for all of the problems in all minority communities. Americans also have seen through the attempts of the President and Kerry to have the public turn against Israel by blaming it for the failure of Kerry’s inept attempt to bully Israel into making concession after concession while giving Abbas a free ride. These polls have shown that the majority of those with opinions strongly support Israel and its policies compared to the Palestinians.

    • nomoretraitors

      Yeah but the electorate bought the lies in the past 2 presidential elections so now we’re stuck with it

  • xkn

    The result “may be a very long term and even permanent change of the
    United States into something else, a nation far less affluent and far
    less free.”

    May be? When was this book written? In 1980’s?

  • seewithyourowneyes

    George Soros.

    • Guest

      Antonio Gramsci; A spoiled rotten Baby Boomer generation; A schizoid, feckless GOP; The Marx-o-Crat party.

  • WillielomanIII

    Good points in the book and article, can’t wait to read it. The fact is that the Left has targeted and taken the heights in the war to win over the popular culture… and they did this really without much of a fight on the part of the conservatives who have for the most part focused on government policy vs. the celebrity culture. The only true conservative we have elected was Reagan and he was a celebrity and knew how to be a celebrity even with a pre-internet media who basically called him a war monger that would blow up the world. Here is what Repubs cannot do:
    1. Talk incessantly about the deficit — most voters don’t care immediately
    2. Take limiting social issues stances as litmus tests…like abortion, gay marriage, and the “amnesty” cry on immigration. We can be for policies that discourage abortion and support traditional marriage and support fixing the immigration issues without the idiotic Laura Ingraham stance that 10MM people should be deported.

    Here is what we can do:

    1. Support a Pro- Western foreign policy
    2. Support a growth economy that does not continue the crony capitalism of the Obama and Bush and Clinton years. The DC RINOs are as much of a problem as are the DC Dems
    3. Stop corporate welfare
    4. Cut taxes for the poor and middle class by cutting the Social Security and Medicare taxes, and cut taxes for businesses by lowering the corporate tax and the capital gains taxes, but eliminating the lobbyist special breaks like carried interest and special deals for industries spending tens of millions on lobbying
    5. Get states to take control of their education systems and get DC out of the education business
    6. Build up the military from the radical downsizing that Obama has done
    7. Change the health system by getting rid of Medicare and Medicaid and Obamacare and replace it with required open competitive markets for health insurers and then providing vouchers in the free market for those that cannot afford to pay the entire costs

  • OhioHomeowner

    “Cry Havoc” by Ralph de Toledano provides a look at the cultural marxists’ plans.

  • JohnnyAngel Advocacy Group

    Duped public, yet happy. Zombies really are quite happy with abundant materialism,letting others fight their wars and egoist and destructive sex promulgation. No ethics, no values, just RIGHT IN THEIR MINDS.A very destructive phoniness that melds quite easily into a utopian, don’t call it communist society of robotic,mindless,sex zombies !!!

  • Steeloak

    The Frankfurt School/Gramsci/Alynski model was adopted by the “New Left” after their complete failure to spark the promised Communist revolution in the late 1960’s. It is the stealth revolution by people who will deny their communism while working tirelessly to implement it. Their first step, after the fiasco of Chicago in 1968, was to shed their radical image, put on suits, and infiltrate the Democrat party. Their takeover of it has been a complete success. America is now controlled by two parties – the Democrat/Communist party and the Republican/Socialist party. They have in turn caused the birth of the third force the Liberty/Freedom party which is forming as we speak and is beginning to flex it’s muscles in national politics. It goes by many names, but for now Libertarian/Randian/Tea Party will do.

  • herb benty

    Fight back hard! Oppose the Common Core BS, the Obamacare BS, the hollowing out of the Military BS, the assistance to Islam BS, the turning against our allies BS, the slandering good Patriotic Americans BS., the tacit approval of anti-semiticism and anti-Christian BS. FIGHT BACK HARD! All we have is HOPE, but the door is still open, and the totalitarians know it. And they are nervous.

    • lyndaaquarius

      yes, I’m beginning to sense that the totalitarians are very nervous. There’s a cold wind coming from the North.

      • herb benty

        There sure better be, much more of this crap and it will be permanent.

  • Bulan Sabriel

    How does the Third Left differ from the New Left. Their cultural Marxist tactics and focus are the New Left.

  • popseal

    Intellectually lazy, self involved people across the country are at fault. Progressives/Communists do what they do. Even today there are millions of people that would vote against any conservative on the grounds that “the government should help us”. They vote for a living, rather than retain the dignity of working for a living.

  • kevinstroup

    The promise of free stuff has always been an easy sell to the stupid and lazy masses. Being a free man and working for a living with all the attendant responsibilities and duties is no fun. Thus fewer takers.

  • crash182

    Electoral politics operates as a pedulum. Nothing has, so far, been permenant. Bush was a disaster and this created strong momentum for democrats which they turned into success at the ballot box. Now Obama has taken the country too far left and I believe republicans are the favorites going into 2016. A charismatic republican with a big tent attitude will win in 2016, if one can be found.

  • bule

    What kind of trash is this like 8 years of 1 pesident can overshadow 50 other president and create all the laws when Congress hold the real power in leader our nation Obama is meant for War and Relations nothing more <.<

  • physicsnut

    You wonder why the Left keeps winning.
    RightScoop has a video from the White Privilege Conference. There is the evidence. But when the evidence is put before you, you don’t want to hear it. Then they do what they say they are going to do, and you are totally UNPREPARED. Then you lose. That is how they get real power.
    Funny thing is – they know it works.
    Sounds like the SOCIALIST WORKERS PARTY all over again.
    In fact it sounds like WBAI in the seventies, which was really pathetic.

  • pupsncats

    The bible of the Third Left is Saul Alinksy’s “Rules for Radicals” where he argued that the only way to destroy America and Western Civilization was to infiltrate the institutions. They took his ideas to heart and managed to do just that. Those who control the “education” of the youth and control information will dominate.
    There is no way to beat them until they are driven out of all of our institutions and the international institutions they have also infiltrated and dominate.

  • mtnhikerdude

    All the testicles in the Republican Party are on the women . All the men are getting fitted for either burkas , sombreros , rainbow flags or photo ops with Sharpton. No politician with an R after his name has stood up to the media or any Democrat or newscaster calling the tea party racists or calling Conservatives Nazis sans a shred of proof .

    • herb benty

      West, Carson, Cruz etc.?

  • American1969

    Here’s a message from the GOP:

  • Alleged Comment

    Actually, I don’t agree with the writer. The left is never-clever just unrelenting in their evil.

    What brought us down was we trusted too much and the left took advantage of that which in turn is based on just plain apathy and laziness.

    We have only ourselves to blame because we outnumber them 30 million to one.

  • 1Indioviejo1

    “Will there be a U turn?” I doubt it. America is continuously changing and it is not for the better. We have an unsolvable illegal immigrant problem, where most illegals coming here as socialist already. Our legal immigrants, be them from Europe, India, or any other country in the world are mostly imbued with statism, Socialism, and governmental control over the individual. All of this is just added to our own homegrown Socialist coming out of our public schools and universities, so how can we win? Maybe another Civil War is in order to save us from totalitarianism.

  • Tzivia MacLeod

    Thank you for this sane and balanced review. Readers can show their support via facebook at