Saturday, December 28, 2019

The Overton Window

Shattering The Overton Window

Aim your rocks at glass houses.
The Overton window is the range of policies politically acceptable to the mainstream population at a given time. It is also known as the window of discourse. The term is named after Joseph P. Overton, who stated that an idea’s political viability depends mainly on whether it falls within this range, rather than on politicians’ individual preferences. According to Overton, the window frames the range of policies that a politician can recommend without appearing too extreme to gain or keep public office given the climate of public opinion at that time.
CIA Wikipedia

Heaven forbid anyone appear too extreme. Our rulers keep discourse safely within the Overton window by allowing debate about the details of what the government does or doesn’t do. However, those who question the necessity of particular government agencies or programs, or government in general, are beyond-the-pale extremists and cast into the Abyss of the Unacceptable, one zip code over from the Abyss of the Deplorable.

Will the repo market be the tipping point for the next credit contraction? Apparently it already is, judging by the Fed’s frantic response. However, focusing on the details keeps the debate within the Overton window. Instead, ignore the details and look at the destruction wrought by the fiat credit system since inception. The dollar is worth about 2 percent of what it was in 1913 when the Fed was created. The Fed has amplified rather than damped economic fluctuations (for a masterful exposition of the destructiveness of US, European, and Japanese central banks the last several decades, see “The Japanization of the European Union,” Jesús Huerta de Soto, SLL, 12/13/19). Which prompts the Overton window-shattering question: why do we need central banks in the first place? The Overton window-shattering answer: we don’t.
We’re not yet to the point where shattering questions are asked about central banks or other government or government-aligned institution, but we’re well into stage one: the realization that the status quo is not working for anyone but a small sliver of the population. Stage two has also launched: recognition that promoters of the status quo lie incessantly. So too has stage three: things keep getting worse.

The widespread dissatisfaction with the way things are, even before collapse, portends something much more ominous ahead. Brexit, Trump, Catalonia, Hong Kong, the Yellow Vests, and the other protests and unrest are relatively minor perturbations. Reform and separation are their predominant themes, not rebellion and overthrow. Reform, unfortunately, is impossible; entrenched elites’ money and power flow from the corruption. Separation and secession are the last, best hope for any kind of semi-peaceful resolution of the tensions besetting the world.

The Civil War was fought to preserve the federal government’s control of the states. The Overton window puts beyond question that the Civil War permanently vanquished all consideration of secession. However, the centrifugal forces of decentralization and devolution are waxing. Eventually they will hurl present political arrangements against the wall. Doesn’t some sort of peaceful breakup make more sense than an inevitably bloody and doomed effort to preserve the unwieldy dominion of the corrupt, parasitic, and bankrupt federal government?

Let those who want to remain safely within the Overton window have their welfare and warfare state, their central bank, their faltering empire, and their domination by parasitic government. Let the rest of us discover freedom, true peace, and self-sovereignty in one or more breakaway provinces.
Surely if these outside-the-window notions are merely crackpot fantasies our efforts will fail and we’ll come skulking back, recognizing Washington as our one true master and begging for reunification. And if our efforts succeed? That’s stage five, a prospect we’re not to supposed to think of, dream about, or strive for, the stuff of our rulers’ nightmares. It’s why they installed the Overton window in the first place.

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