Saturday, May 13, 2006

THE REAL USE OF THE OVERTON WINDOW

Joshua Trevino, a conservative blogger who blogs at Redstate.com and Swords Crossed, recently provided all us liberal bloggers with the secret formula to conservative success in the elections. Basically, he tells us about the Overton Window and the idea of making many of the not initially palpable ideas of the conservative movement palpable over the course of time to the majority of the country. How this works is by getting the fringe members of the conservative movement to put forth fringe ideas. As the fringe idea moves through the public discourse,it picks up legitimacy,perhaps still staying outside the mainstream but not dismissed out of hand. Further, it becomes a point which must be refuted, then a point which must be considered, still further a point which is considered a legitimate policy initiative, and finally policy. Then the process starts all over again in thepolicy arena until the conservative movement achieves its ultimate goal in that particular policy area.

He gives as an example Education Policy: The Window Shows the different areas of this policy from the inital phase where all schools are public, then private schools are allowed, then Charter schools are allowed, then shcools are privatized but funded by the government, and finally all schools are private.

I do not doubt that the conservative movement has as one of its ultimate goals the complete privatization of education. Nor do I doubt that they use the Overton Window for policy procedure. But I believe Trevino is being disingenuous here, because let's face it, most people don't want shcools fully privatized, knowing that that will lead to the most unequal of educations. No; the Overton Window has a much more sinister use. It's use is as a tool to discredit and destroy opposition because most conservatives know that the policies they advocate do not in fact aid the majority of the population.

Witness the conservative assault on the Media. The Media at present is constantly described as being liberal and biased. Consrevatives harangue the NYT, the WAPO, and all media as being liberal and biased. Now, however, they have moved on to the next step in the Overton Window on discrediting the Media. They have claimed loudly that the NYT and the WAPO reporters who received Pulitzers for their reporting of stories dealing with Gov't malfeasance are traitors and should be in jail. They have made a fringe arguement about the Media being criminals, but that fringe arguement becomes more mainstreamed the more they repeat it. It doesn't matter that the policies and practices which these articles pointed out were illegal. The Gov't disobeying the law is not the issue the Conservatives want us to focus on. It is their fringe position that the Media has done something wrong by educating us to criminal activity by our Government.

The same is occurring with critics of the Administration in general. If you are a critic, you are a moonbat, out of your head, a defeatest, and last but not least a traitor. And that is the point the Conservatives want. If you disagree, you must be a traitor so whatever you say or do is suspect. And soon, they'll be able to throw you in jail for just disagreeing.

But some of the most insidious use of the Overton Window comes when it's election time. The Conservatives pull out all the stops. Witness the recent Rush Limbaugh statements concerning crime in Houston because of the population influx from New Orleans. He doesn't come and straight out say it, but we know what he means. Even those of us who do not agree with his statements know what he is alluding to. Pretty soon, if Limbaugh and company have their way, they will repeal the 14th Amendment.

As they will repeal the citizenship of anyone whose sexual preferences do not meet their standard. The issue isn't Gay Marriage. The issue is the creation of an internal enemy which they can then defeat. Last year, it was Gays getting married. This year, it will be an attempt to outlaw Gays adopting. The next election cycle, it will be Gays employed in the public sector. After that, it will be Gays employed anywhere. And in the end, it will be Gays anywhere at all.

No,the real use of the Overton Window is not issues. It is to create enemies with which the Conservative Movement can frighten us into ignoring their complete and utter malignancy. Movement Conservatives have nothing to show for their beliefs other than hate. We win when we show them for what they are. We lose when we provide them with easy targets.

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