An Overton paradox
September 27, 2013 § 4 Comments
In the discussion below two of the things we talked about were (1) that the Overton window is right now moving in a more modernist liberal (leftward) direction, and (2) the question of what kind of political organization can influence the direction of the Overton window.
I think that a movement’s influence on the motion of the Overton window is a function of how well-aligned that movement happens to be with the current position and motion of the Overton window. If you aren’t on the bandwagon you can’t influence the song.
With apologies to Groucho Marx, a club that was willing to have me as a member would not be an influential club.
That’s because it’s the world and the world will have nothing to do with the likes of you and I. It would have to be willing to put Christ at the center and thus be off-balance itself. (Michael Liccone gave a good quote from Pope Francis to that effect, and more).
Yep. Liberalism is its own perpetual motion machine.
I’m a bit more optimistic on the future of permitted discussion. The Social Pathologist did a post a few years back on non linear systems and I think his basic point there is very fitting here. You mentioned in a previous combox thread that you view national socialism and communism as particularly brittle forms of modernism. I think this is insightful, but the flip side is that the rest of modernism being more durable will still eventually reach intrinsic limits. We are already seeing this, as the costs of among other things destroying marriage are piling up fairly rapidly. As the social pain builds in the system, the elite are going to start to change what ideas they see as thinkable.
Until very recently “progress” appeared to be not only free but it seemed to come with a social and economic bonus! For example, for over forty years the sexual and divorce revolution mostly resulted in increased age at first marriage (something the elites see as a bonus) and broken homes (which facilitates a power transfer to women which the elites also value). But now marriage rates have declined ever so slightly, and even this has only been measurable in the last 2, maybe 3 years; yet the elites are already incredibly alarmed at this. Very few could even point to the needle moving, yet bastions of elite thinking like the Atlantic are tied up in knots over this. Imagine the impact on elite thinking when marriage rates decline in a meaningful way, such that say only 80% of white women have married by their late 30s (instead of the present 85%, or 88% just three years ago). Imagine if it drops to an unthinkable 75%! There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
The true costs of the last 40 years of social decay (destruction really) were merely delayed, and as this becomes more and more apparent elite thinking will inevitably change. This doesn’t mean the elite will suddenly become wise, but they will realize that they have a vested interest in reducing the most perverse incentives in the present system. They will be looking for answers, answers which were just a few years ago outside of the realm of accepted discussion.
[…] in 2016 is objectively very similar to Bill Clinton in 1992. The main difference is that from an Overton Window standpoint Trump is now an extreme right wing candidate rather than an extreme left wing candidate. […]