This is a concept I have written about previously. It’s a fascinating concept in that it relates how policies on various issues can change, particularly with the introduction of new ideas.
This concept also frees one from a logical fail known as “the fallacy of the disappearing middle” where we are only “offered” a pair of widely divergent solutions with no centrist options.
It is sensible to consider that there are a wide range of viewpoints on ANY subject. There are 7 billion people on earth, and each has their own unique viewpoint on a diverse number of topics. With that said, the Overton concept is generally related with a half a dozen viewpoints across the spectrum of ideas generally described as:
Introduction of new “unthinkable” ideas into political discourse can shift the policy position in various directions.
So, how does this relate to the subject matter of this blog? What does it mean to various players on all sides of animal control issues?
What I’m going to do is, take a crack at relating Overton to the animal control (primarily dog) public policy viewpoints.
1) Unthinkable. Complete ban within the jurisdiction. No dogs anywhere.
2) Radical. Dog ownership technically allowed but severely penalized via high taxes, fines, and unlimited civil liability. Dog breeding completely controlled by the State.
3) Acceptable. Dog ownership tolerated, but discouraged by the community and the State. High taxes, fines, civil and criminal liability. Dog breeding heavily taxed and regulated.
4) Sensible. Privilege freely granted, similar to automobile driver’s licenses. Owner licensing required; Animal registration mandatory; liability insurance mandatory; ownership privileges maintained via a “point” system. Breeding moderately regulated.
5) Popular. Ownership a protected civil right. Marginal infringement in very severe cases only.
6) Policy. Dog owners are a legally protected class. Empowered to remove the rights of others at whim with the backing of the State.
I can say, definitively, that the “policy” in my jurisdiction is clearly what is indicated above. The orbit of Pluto is smaller than the legal loopholes granted dog owners in my county. The same is true in a lot of places.
Its noteworthy that things can change, and when they do they can do so fairly quickly. Think United States in 1776, Confederate States 1865, Soviet Union 1917, Germany 1933, Cuba 1959. In those examples, the existing status quo’s were turned upside down and the disenfranchised took control. And, not always for the betterment of all. Cuba is nothing more than a large slave plantation where all are forced to work for the state, by the state, and none can leave. Germany…. Well, I think we know how THAT came out.
Its worth saying at this point that, anyone enjoying unfair advantages would be advised to moderate their behavior and that of their colleagues before the radicals are provoked and enraged any further.
The next neck in the noose could be yours.