Overton Window or Third Law/Pendulum Effect?

I have heard a lot on these boards about the Overton Window and how pushing discussion farther to an extreme shifts the window of discourse.

My position is that that is mostly a load of hooey.

Pushing to extremes with force, far beyond the center of mass, instead is as likely to provoke the equal and opposite reaction, to speed up the pendulum swinging back the other way.

Extremist positions make the bulk that are not so extreme more sympathetic to alternative perspectives.

The extremist pushes can make the ride choppier but they are not what determine the overall direction we are sailing.

Politically Trumpism has pushed this country hard intolerant Right. Those who believe in the Overton Window might believe he has shifted the window of discourse. I think instead he was a pendulum swing and by swinging hard and fast will result in movement on social issues the other way, net direction towards a more tolerant future - unless those who believe in the Overton Window succeed in driving so hard the other way that the pendulum swings quickly right back again.

But the Overton Window has been convincingly demonstrated many times in the past and present. Take gay marriage, for instance. It was a constant push for gay marriage that got it to where it is today. Was there backlash? Yes, back in the day it was considered radical. But today now it has solidly entrenched itself as the dominant position whereby now, to *challenge *gay marriage, is seen as the “radical” position.

It works through constant erosion over time.

Yes, Trump will lead many to prefer a more moderate candidate. But he’s also changed what a “moderate candidate” means. Consider, for instance, that Kasich is now viewed as one of the “moderates” in the Republican party, even though his position on every issue is well to the right. That’s because Trump has shifted the Overton window to where “crazy” has taken the place of “extreme”.

And just a pet peeve of mine, but the force that causes a pendulum or spring to pull back to its equilibrium position has nothing to do with Newton’s Third Law. Newton’s Third is instantaneous and constant, and refers to the force that two objects exert on each other.

That’s a poor example. Not to hijack the thread, but that issue like abortion or handgun bans has been taken out of the political process due to courts finding a purported constitutional right to certain things.

I think in order to illustrate the point, you should pick an issue that the people or legislators are free to vote upon.

Legalization of marijuana is illustrative. As late as 20 years ago, it was a pretty extreme position that was only approved by an extreme minority. Today it has a majority and in 10 years will have about the legality of alcohol did in 1950: a few “dry” states, many somewhat restrictive states, and some heavily regulated but legal states.

How much of any of this is the result of deliberately pushing the overton window and how much of it is actual changes in society/technology and just old people dying and a younger generation that grew up with pot getting old enough to vote?

Would the overton window on gay rights have shifted so much if we were still a largely argrarian society?

Would feminism have worked before the world wars put women in the workplace?