Monday, February 22, 2010

The Overton Window

I didn't know there was a name for this political tactic beyond being a shameless asshole of unparalleled magnitude, but it's called The Overton Window.

Let's say you're a loud spoiled brat, and you want a $10/week allowance. Right now you get $5. So you scream and cry and rant and rave and throw a tantrum while demanding $100/week allowance. Your dad starts to entertain your tantrum and tells you you'll have to do more chores if you want $100/week.

You scream and rant some more and your mom tells your dad to be reasonable, and finally they give you a $20/week allowance, even though you do no more chores. They compromise their principles in order to be moderate and civil and compromise with you. You, as the shamelessly aggressive greedy brat, get what you want by pushing things to a ludicrous extreme, and you take advantage of their natural human desire to want to get along and avoid conflict.

Let's say you're a wacky insane radical, and you want $1000. So you scream and rant like a lunatic and push for $1,000,000,000. You've pushed so far past the fringe that you've reset the location of the fringe. The other side compromises based on where the edge of rational discourse now exists.

When you get $1,000,000, you've received a thousand times what you initially asked for; but the other side sees the compromise and thinks they've beaten you by only giving you 1/1000th of what you really wanted.

But now next time, when you push for $5,000,000,000, and they compromise again, you get another $5,000,000. Which is five thousand times what you initially wanted. You just keep pushing so hard that the new voice of "moderation" is one that's past the fringe.

Now, if you're reading The Patriot Perspective, you're probably not a wacky insane radical. Unless we've hit the big time, in which case you're reading through our past articles looking for discrepancies, and if so, feel free to call me or JBH when we're on Mark Levin's show just so we can hear him yell "get off the phone, you big dope!" But I digress.

Let's say some wacky radicals want to push for total government control of health care. And it's rejected. So they push harder. And they push harder.

So eventually the other side gives in and gives the ranting, screaming-child irrational radical a little bit of what it wants.

This is also apparent in a more immediately lethal extreme throughout Islamic nations, where killing gays, abusing women, and calling for the extermination of the Jews, the murder of apostates, and execution of missionaries or those who even question Mohammed is considered normal discourse and action, not some insane fringe. In fact, it's the accepted policy and laws of many nations that are represented at the UN. The discussion isn't how to save or convert groups they dislike, as in other religions, or even how to coerce, as in the more extreme, but to destroy.

The result of the use of the Overton Window as a tactic is that this:

results in death, rather than discussion. Murder, riots, and violence are viewed as a normal consequence, rather than as a lunatic aberration. Rejection of free speech is viewed as a good, moderate response, rather than a contemptible assault on individual rights.

The huge new taxes linked above proposed for US govt control of health care are the new extreme, and the simple US govt control and big new taxes are viewed as the good, moderate response, rather than a contemptible assault on individual rights.

Radicals force their extremism further and further through force and intimidation, and they gradually get what they want every time principles are compromised, no matter the type of radical. The tactic of The Overton Window is used by those with no reason to their argument, but who use coercion against the civility of those they wish to force.

Bullying, screaming, and violence beat reason in their world. Threatening a greater extreme doesn't lessen their initial exteme goal.

All we have to do to stop it is refuse to acknowledge any argument but reason.


Disclaimer: If you're offended by Mohammed with a bomb in his turban, reason away with your argument. The cartoonist's argument of Islam as violent stands. If you accept reason and fact, you have to acknowledge that. Though we detest jihadis as a general rule here at TPP; consider it noted that not all Muslims are violent. I've known several over the years who were really nice folks who I'd like to have as neighbors. But a comparison of the murderously intolerant side of Islam in contrast to the benevolent side is another discussion.

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