Thursday, December 10, 2015

Opening The Overton Window

Donald Trump & The Overton Window --Resetting America's Political Debate | National Review Online:

Another thing I had never heard of, the Overton Window:
... the “Overton Window.” Developed by the late Joseph Overton, a former vice president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, the “window” refers to the range of acceptable political discourse on any given topic. As the Mackinac Center explains, “the ‘window’ of politically acceptable options is primarily defined not by what politicians prefer, but rather by what they believe they can support and still win re-election.” The key to shifting policy lies not so much in changing politicians but in changing the terms of the debate. In other words, “The window shifts to include different policy options not when ideas change among politicians, but when ideas change in the society that elects them.”
The column is a good one, it points out how well the left, with control of the media, the arts, the university and the government bureaucracies federal and state has been able to RAPIDLY move the window in areas like abortion, restricting Christianity, gay "marriage", nationalized healthcare and transgender. Eg.
The Overton Window moved even faster on transgender rights. Ten years ago the notion that a man with emotional problems and breast implants could be named “Woman of the Year” was unthinkable. Now, in some quarters it’s just as unthinkable to refer to Bruce Jenner — Bruce Jenner! — as a man.
Right now, they are pushing the window on gun confiscation, but along comes Trump and gives it a mighty shove in the direction of restricting immigration of Muslims.
While many of Trump’s actual proposals are misguided, nonsensical, or untenable, by smashing the window, he’s begun the process of freeing the American people from the artificial and destructive constraints of Left-defined discourse.
Well said! What has counted as "debate" in this country since at least the '60s and to some degree ever since Woodrow Wilson has been a discussion of "just how far left are we going on THIS issue".  The very THOUGHT of say, reducing the size of government, or (gasp!) unravelling parts of the "Great Society" directly responsible for the yearly 5-6K violent deaths of young black men have been "radical, reactionary, unthinkable". I mean, why would you reconsider programs just because they result in 50-60K untimely violent deaths over each decade??
the Left’s very success at defining the terms of discourse meant that the price of civility and unity was all too often an acceptance of liberal norms and manners. It meant swallowing liberal pieties and confining your discourse to Left-approved terms. In other words, it often meant surrender.
Surrender is FAR too high a price for "civility". While I am now, and I'm sure very few others were aware of the Overton Window concept, it shows one benefit of Trump. We MUST get out of having the left completely declare the shape of the battlefield and ever more consistently the terms of conservative surrender if there is to be ANY hope of recovering America, and indeed of "Making it great again".

I remain convinced that Trump is the WRONG fighter, but he IS a fighter -- and he HAS changed the terms of the battle. Without "outlandish positions" being declared on the right, there is no hope at all that some of those positions can slowly seep into the consciousness of the public and people running for office and eventually have a chance.

It's definitely time for our national "window" to be a LOT less open on the left and a lot MORE open on the right!
'via Blog this'

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