‘Overton Window’ is Today’s Chilling Story

Posted: April 10, 2011 in Current Events

I’ve been asked lately on more than one occasion if my last name ‘Overton’ has any relation to the Glenn Beck novel entitled “The Overton Window”, and the answer is yes and no, and I’ll say no more. But I will say that having read the book after being given it by a friend, I found the book compelling and was mesmerized by it’s plot. I thought that what Beck talks about in his book is not too far from being a possibility at some point in the future, if it already hasn’t been. I’ve always been interested in political conspiracy theory, with some reservation, but I’d recommend this book to everyone who cares about the direction our country is going with regard to public policy makers, and without reservation.

The ‘Overton Window’ is a concept developed originally by Joseph P. Overton, and is a way of explaining our governments methods in swaying public opinion in matters of war, economics, policy and more. The ‘Macinac Center for Public Policy’, of which I am a member, explains this concept in more detail where it states on it’s website the following:

The concept of the Overton Window was first developed in the mid-1990s by Joe Overton of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, and it was discussed regularly at Mackinac Center seminars. For a brief explanation of the concept, an interactive tool and answers to common questions about the Window and the Mackinac Center, go to www.mackinac.org/OvertonWindow or click here. The essay below is the earliest published Mackinac Center article on the Overton Window for a general audience.

(Prefatory Note: The late, esteemed Joseph P. Overton exerted enormous influence from 1992 to 2003 as a researcher, author and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s senior vice president. He was killed in a plane crash on June 30, 2003 but continues to be a source of inspiration to the many around the world who knew him. He would be 46 years of age today — Jan. 4, 2006. On this day we are pleased to publish this essay by Nathan Russell as a further tribute to Joe and his legacy. — Lawrence W. Reed, President)

What does a think tank do? Does it educate? Advocate policy? Should a think tank focus on short-term or long-term goals?

Among Joe Overton’s many contributions, he was instrumental in defining the role of the Mackinac Center in particular and think tanks in general. He understood that, regardless of how persuasive the think tank, lawmakers are constrained by the political climate. Therefore, Overton concluded, to be truly successful, the Mackinac Center should not focus on direct policy advocacy, but instead should focus on educating lawmakers and the public in an attempt to change the political climate.

To answer the inevitable questions about the role of a think tank, Overton developed an explanation that others have since dubbed the “Overton Window of Political Possibilities.” Though his theory has roots in complex public choice economics, it boils down quite easily.[1]

Imagine, if you will, a yardstick standing on end. On either end are the extreme policy actions for any political issue. Between the ends lie all gradations of policy from one extreme to the other. The yardstick represents the full political spectrum for a particular issue. The essence of the Overton window is that only a portion of this policy spectrum is within the realm of the politically possible at any time. Regardless of how vigorously a think tank or other group may campaign, only policy initiatives within this window of the politically possible will meet with success. Why is this?

Politicians are constrained by ideas, even if they have no interest in them personally. What they can accomplish, the legislation they can sponsor and support while still achieving political success (i.e. winning reelection or leaving the party strong for their successor), is framed by the set of ideas held by their constituents — the way people think. Politicians have the flexibility to make up their own minds, but negative consequences await the elected officeholder who strays too far. A politician’s success or failure stems from how well they understand and amplify the ideas and ideals held by those who elected them.

In addition to being dependent on the ideas that form the boundaries of the political climate, politicians are also known to be self-interested and desirous of obtaining the best political result for themselves.[2] Therefore, they will almost always constrain themselves to taking actions within the “window” of ideas approved of by the electorate. Actions outside of this window, while theoretically possible, and maybe more optimal in terms of sound policy, are politically unsuccessful. Even if a few legislators were willing to stick out their necks for an action outside the window, most would not risk the disfavor of their constituents. They may seek the good of those who elected them, and even the good of the state or nation as a whole, but in pursuing the course they think is best, most will certainly take into account their political future. This is the heart of the Overton window theory.

So, if a think tank’s research and the principles of sound policy suggest a particular idea that lies outside the Overton window, what is to be done? Shift the window. Since commonly held ideas, attitudes and presumptions frame what is politically possible and create the “window,” a change in the opinions held by politicians and the people in general will shift it. Move the window of what is politically possible and those policies previously impractical can become the next great popular and legislative rage.

Likewise, policies that were once acceptable become politically infeasible as the window shifts away from them. Think tanks can shape public opinion and shift the Overton window by educating legislators and the public about sound policy, by creating a vision for how things could be done, by conducting research and presenting facts, and by involving people in the exchange of ideas.

 Then the other day I was looking up some information on Beck’s book via the internet and came across the following story written by Gina Miller who I follow, and thought I would share it with you. Thanks for the story Gina, it was great! Read on…

By Gina Miller on April 5th, 2011 – The “elites” of the world view me as a “useless eater.” I understand this and the evil thinking behind it. I’m just a no-name blogger who is not only of no use to the elites, but in my writings, I am a small voice of opposition to their goals of a one world order, because I write about the virtues of true liberty with personal responsibility, the fragile preciousness of American sovereignty and the overarching truth of God’s Word. That makes me an enemy of the state of the elites.

These thoughts are always in my mind, but recently they have been larger in my thinking after my trip back home to Texas. My dear 82-year-old grandmother died on Tuesday, March 22, after suffering for a while with severe breathing problems. Despite my previous vow to never fly again, especially in light of the overbearing and invasive Transportation and Safety Administration’s (TSA) excessive policies, I found it necessary to fly home for her funeral.

I was pleasantly surprised at the smooth trip. The TSA workers were polite, and even though my city’s airport has one of those nude body scanners, it was not in use, so I did not have to choose between having my body groped and having a pornographic image made of myself. The only thing I dealt with besides walking through the metal detector was the stupid requirement to remove my shoes, for which I had the Muslim moron Richard Reid, aka “the Shoe Bomber,” to thank.

On the return trip, I had a three-hour layover at Dallas-Fort Worth. I had finished reading the novel I had brought along for time-killing, so I browsed a book store in the airport. And, there they were: paperback copies of Glenn Beck’s The Overton Window. So, I thought, “I’ll bite,” and I bought a copy.

The first thing I noticed about the book was the strange depiction of the Statue of Liberty on the cover. I immediately saw that although it looks like the Statue of Liberty, it is not an exact likeness. This is explained in the book. It turns out the figure is an imaginary cross between the Statue of Liberty and the Colossus of Rhodes.

Although the story is fiction, there are many true events woven in throughout the book. After a disturbing prologue, the story opens in New York with the protagonist, a young man named Noah Gardner, who is the son of a powerful public relations magnate, Arthur Gardner. The character of Noah’s father is loosely modeled after Edward Bernays, who was a nephew of Dr. Sigmund Freud and an American pioneer in public relations and propaganda.

Noah meets and is smitten with Molly Ross, whom we recognize as a type of Tea Partier, although she is not called a Tea Partier. She belongs to a group called Founders’ Keepers, and she recognizes that “the America as we know it is about to be lost forever.”

The story goes from there as Noah is forced to face the hard truth of a globalist takeover of our country in the aftermath of an unheard-of attack on the United States.

I was impressed with Glenn Beck’s skill as a storyteller. His writing style is fresh and distilled, not given to excessive descriptions or flowery words to say what he wants to say. The story is fast-paced and intense, and it is apparent that Glenn and his team did a boatload of research in crafting the story.

The Overton Window concept is explained in the book and on the book’s back cover,

“There is a powerful technique called the Overton Window that can shape our lives, our laws, and our future. It manipulates public perception so that ideas once seen as radical become acceptable over time. Move the Window and you change the debate. Change the debate and you change the country.”

I have Glenn to thank for a song being stuck in my head right now. One of the book’s characters, a member of the Founders’ Keepers group, is a man named Danny Bailey. As soon as I read his name in the book, Elton John’s song, “The Ballad of Danny Bailey (1909—1934)” from his Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album popped into my head and has been playing off and on ever since. I don’t know if Glenn considered the ill-fated character in the song when naming his book’s character, but it could be that he did.

Glenn’s book highlights the long-standing plan by the globalists to assimilate America into one world governance. It’s plain that we’re just a moment away from it, even at the door. Many of us are waiting and watching for “the event” that plunges us into a total police state where citizen patriots are rounded up in special detainment centers—for our own good and the good of the country, of course.

The events in The Overton Window are entirely plausible. You cannot read this book and think it can’t happen here. Our nation is teetering on the brink of financial collapse. We cannot imagine a situation that makes the Great Depression look like a walk in the park, but we are being set up for just such a time.

What about a catastrophic terrorist attack? Whether an attack is done by Islamists or shadowy globalists, the result would be the same, and our already vanishing liberties could be suddenly and completely swept away in a tide of martial law. Our government and military have done extensive planning for just such a scenario, and Glenn includes citations in the back of his book of a few example stories. In fact, he includes forty pages of footnote-type citations in the afterward of the book.

The elites have been hard at work for at least a hundred years in our country, determined to undermine our free republic and subvert the Constitution. They want the United States to be like the rest of the world, where freedom exists only in theory, if at all. While the elites have worked toward their goals, most Americans have slept and allowed the government to mutate from servant of the people to master of the people. Glenn points this out in his book. Glenn also illustrates in the book the fact that I mentioned in the first sentence of this column about being viewed by the elites as a “useless eater.”

As our nation has collectively turned its back on God, killed millions of our babies in the womb, and embraced all manner of sinful behavior, it should come as no surprise that we are getting the government we deserve. In reading The Overton Window, you get a powerful sense of powerlessness in the face of global evilists—yes, there’s a nice new term for us—but it’s not written as an entirely hopeless situation.

Although the evilists in Glenn’s book do not fully succeed in implementing their age-old plans, you can see they’re on the brink of doing so. Can we stop them? That is the question, and I know the ultimate answer in this world is no, because the Bible tells me so. But, that still does not mean we are without hope. Those of us who cling to God through Jesus Christ have all the hope in the world, and we know how this story ends. It ends very badly for the enemies of God and the kings of the world.

Glenn’s book ends on a clear “sequel forthcoming” note. The future Overton Window book or books have many storyline possibilities, and it will be scary to read them. Some of us occasionally read novels as a distraction from our real-world lives and problems. The Overton Window is not a distraction from the real world, but a focus on the world as it is. So, if you’re looking for an escape from the world, this book is not for you, but if you don’t mind looking reality in the face and staring into the eyes of the truth behind the lies of the world, I recommend a dose of The Overton Window.

Gina Miller, a native of Texas, is a radio commentator and disc jockey. She also works with her husband installing and repairing residential irrigation systems and doing landscaping on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

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