The Overton Window

The Breitbart Doctrine is the idea that “Politics is downstream from culture” That idea leads us to an idea summarized as the Overton Window.

The Overton Window 

The Overton window connects the people and the politicians. It is a quick way to summarize what policies or actions are acceptable for politicians. It is named after policy analyst George Overton. Conflict arises when policy slides outside the window.

It is used to analyze strategic ideas, as in this image from Wikipedia.

Politicians cannot count on support if they move far from the window.

Moving the window

At one time culture took a long time to change and most political movement was towards positive actions that grew from that. Breitbart is right, but the river of change moves much more quickly than it once did. Social media and biased media have made culture and politics much closer in time.

We don’t really see the full spectrum any more.

One of the methods.

Noam Chomsky is a polymath. from the father of linguistics to social critic and political activist, with several intermediate skills. I doubt many could name three linguists, but Chomsky has become famous with social critique. Unlike many theorists he has actionable ideas.

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum. That gives people the sense that there’s free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.”  Noam Chomsky

Is that not the world we see today? What is happening and who is leading the change outside race relations and pandemic response. I’d like to think other important things are happening too.

What if they had an election and no one came?

Think about what it means. 

You cannot change politics much until you change the upstream culture.

Politicians are elected to govern but politics today demands they influence culture.

Can you be both a cultural innovator and a responsible governor at the same time? I’d be surprised if the answer is Yes.

I help people have more retirement income and larger, more liquid estates.

Call in Canada 705-927-4770, or email

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