The Overton Window: What It Is & Why It's So Important

The Overton Window: What It Is & Why It’s So Important

overton window trump cover

Over the last few years, I’ve become increasingly concerned about the SJW assault on free speech and how their lunacy is becoming respectable, while common sense is becoming ever more “problematic”. To understand just WHY this is happening, I’ve found that it makes the most sense to examine something called the “Overton window”, also known as the window of discourse. When talking about the Overton window we’re talking about the range of ideas that are deemed palatable in public discourse, and how mainstream they are – ideas can range from “Unthinkable” and “Radical” (completely outside the window of acceptable discourse) to “Popular” and “Policy” (firmly inside of it). What’s really interesting are the implications of this – as the Wikipedia article summarizes:

Proponents of policies outside the window seek to persuade or educate the public in order to move and/or expand the window. Proponents of current policies, or similar ones, within the window seek to convince people that policies outside it should be deemed unacceptable.

Of course this simplifies things (for starters, plenty of actual policies are unpopular and can even perceived as Radical by large groups of people), but from the simplification we glean an important insight: Politics often is not just a gentlemanly battle of ideas, but a vicious struggle to suppress/de-legitimize certain points of view and/or sell the public on ideas it previously either rejected or failed to consider. In this context, it’s unsurprising that many Leftists constantly hurl terms like “racist” and “sexist” at people they disagree with, or that many right-wingers seek to label dissenting opinions as for example “unpatriotic” – in this reading of the political game, demonizing opposing views isn’t an aberration, it’s the whole point.

This interpretation would certainly help explain how SJWs, despite the True Believers being just a fringe minority, have been so effective at making their bullshit go mainstream – and they have been quite successfull: Calling a biological man “he” can net you a huge fine in New York City. White girls daring to try on Kimonos has become highly controversial – and even simply affirming that there are no more than two genders is increasingly being portrayed as Bigotry worthy of being met with violence (there’s even a term for this offense – Genderism).

How could SJWs succeed in so quickly rendering common sense and/or harmless actions so controversial, while making the telling of lies (like calling biological males “she”) the social norm? Because they’ve been extremely aggressive in pushing for acceptance of their views (about gender, race, Privilege etc) while shamelessly berating, bullying and shaming people expressing conflicting views, gradually making even popular viewpoints seem like they’re outside the window of discourse, simply due to the social costs SJWs impose on people expressing them. Think of the various female celebrities who have been publicly shamed for simply saying they’re not feminists. This is fairly bizarre once you consider that’s a majority view among American women.

That’s the thing with the Overton window, it isn’t necessarily shifted through factual, reasoned debate – smear campaigns and emotional blackmail can in theory be just as effective, if not more so. Of course it helps immensely that academia and the mainstream media is in lockstep with the SJW cause – that makes it much easier for this loud minority to create the perception that popular views are radical, and that radical views are popular. However, another thing that has helped the cause of the SJWs is how many of their opponents have acted.

Instead of trying to delegitimize or dismiss SJW arguments, or ruin the reputations of the SJWs themselves, many supposedly Anti-SJW people instead try to engage SJWs in dialogue, and even find common ground or room for compromise. I’ve certainly seen this time and time again in GamerGate, people acting like SJWs can be reasoned with, or insisting that the non-confrontational approach is the one we need to take – all while SJWs relentlessly pushed the narrative that GamerGate was a misogynist harassment campaign. If one side aggressively pushes to make their viewpoints the only acceptable POV, demonizing dissenting viewpoints in hysterical terms, while the other side tries the patient, tolerant, persuasive approach, don’t be shocked when the former manages to fundamentally shift the Overton window first.

Sometimes it’s even worse than that – the virtue signalling many in GamerGate have fallen victim to actually does the job of SJWs for them, by having GGers explicitly or implicitly affirm the importance of SJW Causes like “Diversity” (which helps justify all sorts of quotas and discrimination against white males), or the idea that online “harassment” is a real problem that needs addressing (opening the door to all sorts of Censorship). The idea of GG virtue signalling is basically that by making us “look better”/improve our PR, it gives us more credibility, which in turn puts us in a better position to shift the Overton window in our direction – however, since that credibility either fails to materialize (how many times has the MSM actually given GamerGate credit for its prominent female and minority voices, or its funding of women’s charities?), or will directly hinge on continuing to embrace watered down SJW ideals, it never actually ends up producing real, positive change.

Same thing with trying to distance ourselves from and condemn “extremists” on our side – not only are such denouncements usually the product of False Equivalence, but what we are in effect doing is helping ensure that more and more Anti-SJW stances become socially unacceptable. Not only does this not help our cause, it actively hurts it, since SJWs as I have explained always seek to shift the Overton window, demonizing viewpoints contrary to their own, rendering them Unthinkable. If we actually help them define all Anti-SJW viewpoints more hardline than our own as beyond the pale, they’ll just reward us by in turn making OUR viewpoints socially unacceptable – after all, our viewpoints might at that point very well have become the most hardline non-Unthinkable anti-SJW POVs left. Never assume that your position is too reasonable or moderate to be demonized – these are the people that made saying that there are only two genders a borderline hate crime. Consider this: you might not be a fan of what someone like Roosh has to say, but every moment SJWs are forced to spend demonizing him is a moment they’re NOT demonizing someone you actually do like.

One nice thing however is that we DO have a great Anti-SJW example of how to quickly and effectively move the Overton Window – and it’s provided by Donald Trump. Trump’s approach to shifting the Overton Window differs greatly from the approach of the SJW Mob, and takes full advantage of his celebrity status – but there are still lessons to be learned for GamerGate and other Anti-SJW groups. Trump’s approach, in short:


1: Say something considered Radical, or even Unthinkable, generating lots of headlines.

2: Refuse to apologize when the MSM and the Establishment attempts to Shame him.

3: Humiliate them by polling extremely well in spite of, and sometimes even directly because of, the stances people tried portraying as beyond the pale.

4: Victory after Victory until his ideas become Policy


What this tells us is that even loudly advocating viewpoints you’ve been told are so “toxic” that they will instantly discredit you and your cause can actually be to your benefit, if you just do so boldly, fearlessly. By simply not apologizing for saying the Unthinkable when they tell you to do so, you make it slightly less Unthinkable. And if by saying that Unthinkable thing out loud you inspire other people to do so as well, it might suddenly no longer seem so Unthinkable anymore. Hell, you might find out that what you did was wake up a silent majority!

That’s the flip-side of SJWs having shifted the Overton window so far, so fast – a lot of views suddenly deemed Unthinkable actually still have strong public support, and a lot of positions they’re trying to turn into Policy are deeply unpopular. This means this new consensus they’ve helped create is actually extremely fragile. If normal people start asserting their opinions half as aggressively as SJWs do, and actually do their part to marginalize SJW viewpoints as the retarded, fact-free bullshit that they are, rather than trying to compromise with them, I suspect the public discourse would become very different, very quickly.

Christi Junior

Infamous #GamerGate Hardliner featured in the Washington Post. Nintendo fan. Screw your pronouns.

  • Tehy

    yeah, but Trump has the benefit of the conservative media and a lot of free press; sure, they hate him, but when was the last time a GamerGate supporter was invited to do a media appearance? there were a few at the beginning, but Trump gets them constantly, and that’s a big difference – that, and he’s running for President.

    • Trump TRex

      It takes MAJOR voices within GamerGate to do this, but it CAN be done, especially if enough people lean on them.

      • Tehy

        man, i don’t know about it.

        I think gamergate just got caught in a mostly no-win situation. it’s a problem a lot of conservatives face nowadays, with the left pre-tainting with bad pr and then hyper-focusing on bad elements to create even more bad pr. So do you just ignore all that and lose a lot of people? because the propaganda was so effective early on, gamergate sort of had to pull its own teeth. was it the right move? it’s kind of hard to say. at the same time, i’m not sure that going partisan really helps either. it really depends how many neutrals still exist and whether or not they are convince-able…but I guess at this point, there aren’t too many any more. then again, not sure if GG at large would accept partisanship any more, either.

        • Trump TRex

          One thing they did wrong was acknowledge the SJW’s self appointed “feminist” title, NEVER do that. People who know nothing will register the dictionary definition and think you’re a misogynist by default.

          Calling them SJW’s instead would have REALLY helped.

          • Yeah, I think that was a bit of a mistake.

            Because like you say, the average brain-dead drone of society will look up the dictionary definition of feminism and immediately believe that it’s innocent and a good thing, and will go onto to think that anyone who is against it is a “sexist” or “misogynist”.

            But it’s always been hard to avoid the topic of feminism when it comes to the issue of SJWs, because the vast majority of SJWs ARE feminists and the whole movement is based on feminist ideology.

            Calling SJWs “feminists” hasn’t been a completely bad thing though. I’m sure the association has woken a lot of people up to the fact that feminism has become a bigoted, misandrist, sexist and racist movement in the West.

          • Trump TRex

            They’re NOT, though, at least not by the classical definition. A male shovenist is no more a masculist than an SJW is a feminist.

          • Disagree. From what I’ve seen of SJWs for the last 3+ years (I was already fighting them even before GamerGate), their ideology, ideas, and laws they advocate for are heavily based on authoritarian feminism.

            There is a reason why all of the mainstream media, news media, entertainment media, TV, advertising, academia, education, politics, government etc. operate on feminist ideology.

            There is a reason why the establishment and mainstream media are doing whatever they can to get Hilary Clinton into the White House.

            There is a reason why Anita Sarkeesian, “War On Women”, Feminist Frequency, female victim narrative, Zoe Quinn’s victim status, sexism against women in gaming, sexism against women in Tech, sexism against women in nerd culture, etc. are constantly the main talking points of SJWs.

            SJWs virtually ARE feminists.

  • d0x360

    Lost me in the first paragraph. I don’t think the she mentality is accepted at all nor is common sense becoming problematic.

    Look at the people around you. The mainstream hasn’t really been too affected by them, at least not on any level they have noticed. The don’t follow this information either. They might see a change (for example) in an entertainment property and find they suddenly don’t like it anymore. They will just stop consuming it they won’t wonder why it suddenly sucks instead they find more of something they like.

    Also the general reaction in your average person to all the protests is fairly negative. They don’t know why this crap is going on they don’t know whatan sjw is or that it drives this lunacy but they do know it’s lunacy and they don’t like it.

    Every single time I’ve brought someone deeper into the issue and exposed them to these idiots they ALWAYS come out the other end on the side of sanity and reason.

    The reason why is pretty simple. Most people aren’t racist or sexist or any ist. Most people aren’t trying to keep anyone down. Most people believe in equality. Most people don’t believe in any of the 40 gender nonsense being peddled or any of the other garbage being preached by these lunatics.

    It just wraps right back around to it doesn’t have any effect on them in any way they can see. The moment it does…they speak up.

    GG is a perfect example. The people who support it today aren’t necessarily the same as the people who were there 1. Alot of new people were exposed, saw what was happening and started supporting. It’s a slice of the greater population. You can even see it on Kotaku or NeoGAF. An issue brought up and people who had argued against something else that seemed silly before will finally see the line in the sand and say…wtf no no no. If it’s gaf they will be banned =P

    • Forte

      I feel like you may have missed the point. Sure, right now, you can find a normie and drag them down the rabbit hole, tell them why genders beyond “penis” and “vagina” are retarded, and they’ll most likely agree with you. Those people aren’t the problem, because as you said, most people aren’t crazy.

      Part of being “not crazy” though, is the idea of self preservation, and that includes social self preservation. These normal people will err to the side of common sense until a weird law goes into effect or someone gets shot, then you’ll get different opinions.

      It takes a special kind of person to not care if their character is defamed. People lose their jobs over social media posts in which they harmlessly express their opinion about religion, sexuality, politics – you name it (and to a certain degree, I’m glad it happens, such as in the case of Allison Rapp, but that’s on the extreme end). It’s fun to believe that when something a person fundamentally disagrees with comes up, they’d fight for what they believe, but people tend to fight only for what will keep them safe and comfortable, anymore. Gone are the heroes and the patriots. Why do you think corruption exists? Why do you think there are otherwise good people who sometimes end up in, for example, money laundering schemes? Why can people be bought? They’re afraid of the alternatives, because whoever has power over them is dictating what is acceptable.

      I often go back to this example: during my time in college, one of my required courses was a literature class, on the topic of science fiction as it relates to science fact. The premise of the course was actually interesting, as it revolved around the ethics of human adaptation to progress in medicine, genetics, and prosthetics. What I got instead was a course lined with subtle feminist/SJW themes, wherein the idea of gender fluidity was not only hinted at, but actually became the topic of discussion one day as the professor quickly tried to outline that there are more than two genders. What choice did the “normal” people have but to agree with what was on the board and carry on? They were paying for that class, paying for a degree to show their worth in society, and no one is brave enough to take failing a class because they disagree with the professor’s bullshit.

      More troublesome, to me at least, were how many people in that class were going into education, very specifically early childhood, and how those same people were actually in full agreement with the professor. It wasn’t a passing “sure, whatever you say” kind of agreement – it was sincere interest. Students would come out proudly claiming that they’ve written papers defending the ideas.

      It was at that point that it really hit me. What we see on the internet between sane people and SJWs isn’t just some kind of internet drama, like many people like to write it off as. We’re not talking about socially inept hermits who have nothing to do but post insane ramblings to Tumblr and police Twitter – these are future or current academics, professionals, teachers – people with voice in society. Early childhood educators thinking like this are going to take those ideas and put them into the heads of impressionable children, and left unchecked, within a generation we’ll see cultural appropriation put on the books as a federal crime and job applications with give or take sixty genders to choose from. 500% increase in rape is a small price to pay to ensure that bathrooms no longer have an entry requirement.

      And what does normal society do at that point? Stop enrolling their children in school? Stop shopping anywhere that supports men in the women’s restroom? Stop applying for jobs that list “other” as a gender option? They’ll shrug and carry on. The risk of speaking up isn’t worth the reward of a brighter future, when they have the smiles of their peers.

      This is a culture war, and the internet is its first battleground. It’s already spilling out into the real world, and has been for some time. What those of us who stand against them have to realize is that the idea of the Overton Window is true, and we can’t play nice all the time. I believe in free speech and free expression, but the unfortunate truth of the matter is that there are some things in the world that cannot be given a platform from which to take off, because at their core they are dangerous to functional society. I was never happy with early Gamergate’s attempts to placate the enemy and take the moral high ground – when dealing with the immoral, there is no moral high ground. We’ve only won when we’ve taken the Window back and turned the tables.

      • d0x360

        “I believe in free speech and free expression, but the unfortunate truth of the matter is that there are some things in t he world that cannot be given a platform from which to take off, because at their core they are dangerous to functional society.” no no. Either you believe in free speech or you don’t. If you believe then you can’t say there are things too dangerous to be said to society. That doesn’t work.

        I can’t address every point you made so I’m going to cherry pick a couple more but I’ll reply again tomorrow. I’m watching Ghostbusters…the original it’s OK I’ll be safe and then I’ll be off to bed.

        Anyways. You talk about things being taught in schools, things I don’t believe should be and you clearly don’t either. These things are fairly new and came mixed in with common core. I know because I have a child and I have first hand experience with it. It’s the parents job to teach their children these things not a schools. That being said I’m fine with a school talking about it because I’d like to think I have more influence over my child than her teachers and…I do. She takes the information I give and talks with her friends about it and that information spreads. At the end of the day it’s up to the individual to decide what makes more sense. Luckily only people who identify with the Looney tunes agree with them.

        Not many people lose their jobs over social media. I’ve never met one or heard of one through anyone I know. I’ve heard about it online and generally those people are public facing or have the ability to influence something. Does that make it OK? I suppose the answer is yes and no. It depends on the situation. If one of my employees was a prostitute and I made products aimed at kids I’d let them go especially if they had any influence over said product or communication related to it. If they had no influence of communication I probably wouldn’t but I’d make sure they knew that their secondary job can never interfere and if I think it does they will be let go. Any reasonable business needs to protect itself and would. If a random employee made some racial crack in Facebook or Twitter I wouldn’t care unless they were doing it at work.

        Corruption exists because people like money and your average citizen can’t directly stop corruption. That being said I think you will find massive numbers of people who speak about it and try to get rid of it the only way they can which is generally voting or exposing. If there is proof of corruption brought to public attention and not just accusation then things generally happen. Unfortunately sometimes corruption walks a fine legal line and you may be able to fire people or get them fired but you can’t necessarily get them arrested..

        Alright. I’ll be back. You gave everyone alot to go through and hopefully think about. I appreciate that personally and I hope others do to. I respond to the rest as soon as the coffee has had its chance to work it’s magic tomorrow.

        Take care.

  • Maintenance Renegade

    Worrying about your PR is generally worse than pointless, truth is the masses will eventually rally behind an unapologetic asshole who’s right or who’s at least more grounded in the current reality given time.

    There’s a contradiction and a bluff at the core of the SJW attack pattern, they accuse you of being a mean horrible awful awful bastard who is going to act like a big meanie jerk and treat them with nastiness and contempt…and the minute you actually do treat them that way unapologetically they have nothing left in their arsenal but attempting to appeal to an authority figure.

    Just be up front, when they bring up their feelings just say “I don’t give a fuck about your feelings and neither do these facts I have here.”

    It works, not just online but in real life. If anything it works even better in real life because there’s no block button in real life. The typical SJW prefers twitter to the street for a reason and it’s because if you laugh right in her face after wrecking her and call her a dumb fat bitch all she can do is wave her flabby arms around slightly more emphatically until she tuckers herself out.

    • Donarcyr4

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  • Finally, an analysis of Trump’s methodology, and how it can be applied. This is what should’ve been done from the very beginning.

    • fnd

      It’s high risk, high reward.

  • “Instead of trying to delegitimize or dismiss SJW arguments, or ruin the reputations of the SJWs themselves, many supposedly Anti-SJW people instead try to engage SJWs in dialogue, and even find common ground or room for compromise. I’ve certainly seen this time and time again in GamerGate, people acting like SJWs can be reasoned with, or insisting that the non-confrontational approach is the one we need to take – all while SJWs relentlessly pushed the narrative that GamerGate was a misogynist harassment campaign. If one side aggressively pushes to make their viewpoints the only acceptable POV, demonizing dissenting viewpoints in hysterical terms, while the other side tries the patient, tolerant, persuasive approach, don’t be shocked when the former manages to fundamentally shift the Overton window first.”

    Excellent article, especially the part I quoted, and I completely agree with it.

    It’s astonishing how the Moderates and the Ethics-Only brigade still insist on sitting on that moral high-horse, being the goody-goodies and preaching down to others on how “we should not be like them” and/or even worse – how “we should reason with SJWs/feminists, understand them and accept their ideas”. This is ridiculous and complete and utter bullshit, and completely defeats the objective of what an Anti-SJW / Anti-Feminist / GamerGate stands for in the first place.

    It’s been proven already that taking the ‘good guy reasonable moral high-horse’ stance has failed.

    If a so-called Anti-SJW is willing to compromise and accept SJW/feminist ideas then this person has LOST. And this person should be calling himself/herself an SJW-Lite instead. Because inserting/forcing gender/race politics into entertainment media is EXACTLY what SJWs/feminists want, and this person is rolling out the fucking red carpet for them.

    There is no middle ground. Because if there is, the SJWs/feminists win.

    Therefore if you (not directed at you Christi, but in general for others reading my post) are willing to compromise and accept SJW/feminist ideas, then consider yourself an SJW-Lite. Or cuck.

    It’s amazing. GamerGate, a movement originally created to stand against unethical journalism, censorship and politics ends up willing to ACCEPT that fucking feminist bullshit. You have to laugh. XD

  • plasmacutter

    I’ve done this in my daily life, openly expressing support for trump in my office within an hour’s drive of the SF/SJW deathstar.

    It helps that my boss’s boss is a von mises level anarcho-capitalist, but when I started doing this I was defending myself against all my coworkers. Now, my office is half-Trump.

    It just takes one voice to encourage others.

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