Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Over-thinking Overton?

The Overton Window - four years ago, in a post titled:
Peering Through the Overton Window
I began:
The Overton Window is a political theory which describes as a narrow "window" the range of ideas the public will find acceptable, and states that the political viability of an idea is defined primarily by this, rather than by politicians' individual preferences. It is named for its originator, Joseph P. Overton, a former vice president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. At any given moment, the "window" includes a range of policies considered politically acceptable in the current climate of public opinion, which a politician can recommend without being considered too extreme to gain or keep public office.
That post bears a re-read, as do the comments there. I was prompted to seek it out after reading some comments at the naked capitalism website on Monday. These were from, among others, commenters HBE, jsn, & justanotherprogressive, who were surprisingly complimentary to The American Conservative magazine/website:

" [The American Conservative]often expresses more left leaning sentiment than any liberal publication (think the Atlantic, Huffpo, etc.)....Strange times indeed.

Responses included observation that
"The Overton Window has shifted so far to the right that traditional conservatism now seems “left”. The American Conservative espouses the same things traditional (not the crazies we have now who claim to be conservatives but are really right wing reactionaries) conservatives have always espoused – they really aren’t something new or more “liberal”……it just seems that way when you see what has happened to the Democratic Party……"
[The American Conservative]is actually Conservative which has more in common with the left (you can’t have a king without peasants) than Liberals do: people with out money are “useless eaters” to Liberals.

Overton Window...I wondered what else is being written this year on that, somewhat erm... steamed-up, topic?

From New Republic
The more divided we become, the harder it is to locate the Overton Window, let alone move it. There is now a window of policies that are acceptable to the Republican base, and another for Democrats, but on the national level, there is no window. Instead of a consensus edging one way or another, we have a choice between two poles. The Overton Window is ultimately a name for what we have lost, not an indication of where we are headed. Its popularity today represents a powerful nostalgia for the center. It doesn’t help us overcome fragmentation or rebuild a consensus. Its attractiveness lies in its reassurance that a middle ground once existed.
From Truthhawk

The current Overton window in America is wider than I could possibly have imagined.
Think about the following:

Liberal media is seriously all-in on the idea that Russia is hacking American democracy
Social media, with more young people, is even more ‘out-there’
Conservative media is seriously considering the idea that the CIA hacked an American political party, then ‘false-flagged’ it to make it look like the Russians did it
This was discussed on Hannity a couple nights ago – a late-night highly-rated show that will mostly get older viewers. The younger social media users are approaching full-on Alex Jones level.

I’m not going to pass judgment on these theories – that’s not the point. But can you imagine returning to the politics of 2005? 2010? Almost no idea seems beyond the American political imagination right now.

Where do we go from here? Let’s face it – the Overton window has intentionally been used by the media monolith to limit contrarian opinion. Real truths have been hidden outside the Overton window. Now that it’s blown wide open, those truths can be discussed in the mainstream, as it moves online.

Smart operatives and cunning entrepreneurs will find plenty of opportunity in a world without information gatekeepers. There is now one less limit on power, and one less bottleneck to the truth. Politics is permanently changed.
What, if anything can be made of those thoughts? Don't ask me - I'm not from around here! All that come to mind are words from a Tina Turner song:


Wisewebwoman said...

I tackled our whole sorry mess with a friend on the phone today.

It's totally hopeless and we all should strap on the parachutes or pay up for some Hemlock.

Or ostrich and hope we die before.......


Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman ~ It's hard to know what to feel...I've just about given up trying to find out how I feel about it. I thought I knew, not so long ago, but not any longer.

The next 10 years will tell a tale - one way or another - I'll almost certainly not be around long enough to see how the story ends...or begins. I'm thankful in one way, but sorry in another.