A couple of months back I was reading an article about how politicians were asking to make decisions that are way beyond possible (name it unreasonable, unacceptable, illogical) just as a medium of getting extreme views to become (to be seen as) normal and/or acceptable. What is the name of this effect?
There’s a concept in political theory developed by Joseph P. Overton which suggests that there’s a “window” of acceptable ideas and policy proposals in public discourse. Everything inside the window is normal and expected, while everything outside the window is radical, ridiculous, or unthinkable. And Overton argued that the easiest way to move that window was to force people to consider ideas at the extremes, as far away from the window as possible. Because forcing people to consider an unthinkable idea, even if they rejected it, would make all less extreme ideas seem acceptable by comparison -- it would move the “window” slowly in that direction.