Awhile back, the term “Overton Window” was popular in the comments of the blogs I read. There was a lot of moaning about the fact that conservative or traditional ideas had been moved outside the Overton Window; that they were considered unfit for public discourse. Basically: Saying conservative ideas were outside the Overton Window was another way of saying that conservative ideas weren’t politically correct.
I put it to you: Concern for the Overton Window is itself conservatism. A battle over what is politically correct isn’t a battle between liberals and conservatives, but between two groups of conservatives. If you’ll notice, in the Wikipedia article it lists the outmost points from the Overton Window as “radical”; which is a much better descriptor for the opposite of conservative.
The anti-homosexual marriage crowd lost the war over homosexual marriage licenses because they could not bring themselves to talk about homosexuality in its most flaming form: anal sex. Just as the defining characteristic of marriage is a man and a woman who have license to have sexual intercourse with each other, the defining characteristic of homosexuality is anal sex. Anti-homosexual conservatives (those who rejected the topic as illegitimate) lost the battle against agnostic- homosexual conservatives (those who wanted to license the topic away) because they couldn’t be bothered to confront the true nature of the acts under consideration and then ask poignant questions about it, such as: What good is anal sex? Why should we create a civil ceremony centered on anal sex? What are the advantages of anal sex? What are the disadvantages of anal sex?
I don’t know about how you felt reading those questions, but I didn’t care to even write them.
Meanwhile, the pro-life crowd is just steps from crushing Planned Parenthood because–as the old chestnut informs us–truckloads of dead babies are not funny. How did The Center for Medical Progress shake the foundations of PP? By holding dead babies into the frame of the Overton Window; which is unseemly. It was a radical departure from political correctness, and like a Molotov Cocktail through the pane it set the well-established Planned Parenthood ablaze.
Conservatives usually won’t do that for three reasons:
- They believe it soils them to even discuss it. Essentially, they desire political correctness even if they don’t like the current view out the Overton Window.
- They’ve seen self-identified conservatives take each other down for even small, brief, breaks in political correctness, i.e., not being religiously nice.
- They like to feel righteous. In the meantime, accusations of someone else being un-PC are an easy force multiplier to achieve the sensation.
ASDGamer asked why I even bother writing about conservatism.
And my comment is “Who cares?” I don’t consider myself Progressive or Conservative.
One reason is that I believe that a number of our future fellow travelers will come from those who (at least recently) thought of themselves as conservative, or are sympathetic to what they perceive as conservative. Many Christians are found here; even if slovenly. I think it’s a mistake to harden the hearts of those people by name-calling them; especially if it’s done from a place of misunderstanding. That will beget more apathy. Apathy is bad.
Another reason is that these are fluid and nigh-borderless times. It’s hard to know who to fight and who to defend. Our time and energy are too precious for us to spend it impulsively. If we spend them in attempts of anti-liberal tactics then we’ll most likely fail because what we need are anti-conservative tactics. Their traditions are becoming entrenched! It’s not always going to feel good confronting the truth (and then upholding the truth!) after we’ve spent years conforming to lies. Even if they were “merely” lies of omission, then it’s going to take resolve to see clearly and act appropriately. We cannot afford to be reflexive. Our children almost certainly won’t be able to.
Finally, because it’s my blog. I want to write down my thoughts, and this is the place I do that.