What’s Become of the Overton Window?

Source: American Institute for Economic Research
by Robert E Wright

“The Overton window (OW), or window of discourse, is a heuristic device that centers on current public policy and portrays alternative policies that increase (up) or decrease (down) individual freedom, ranging from ‘popular’ to ‘sensible’ to ‘acceptable’ to ‘radical’ to ‘unthinkable.’ The OW shifts over time, lamentably generally downward, but sometimes, as during the Reagan Revolution, upward. Sometimes the OW is narrow, meaning that only a small range of policy options are seen as acceptable or better. Other times, the OW widens at both ends. A shattering of the OW connotes a situation where ‘anything goes.’ … Did Covid and the policy responses to it, the George Floyd demonstrations/riots, the 2020 election and the events of 6 January, CRT in the K-12 classroom, and the new Texas abortion law shatter the Overton window, shift it upward or downward, or open it wider at both ends?” (11/17/21)