The Overton window of political possibility is the concept that there are a limited range of ideas the public is willing to consider and accept. That politicians can only be effective by advocating policy that fits within the Overton window and that disruptive groups are the ones who can expand or contract the Overton window. In the case of COVID-19, the use of the noble lie has been used by government and world health officials as well as legacy media sycophants to restrict and even close the Overton window regarding issues such as mask use, vaccination strategies, and lockdowns. To be explicitly clear, the Overton Window is a political concept which is being actively manipulated to constrain scientific discourse.
Government officials are intentionally acting as those disruptive groups which limit the window by co-opting media outlets, social media and big tech through NGOs, The Trusted News Initiative and three letter agencies. Through NIH media campaigns, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Francis Collins and many others have acted to limit or close the Overton Window. They have also effectively used smear campaigns both against groups and individuals to limit the Overton Window and keep their policy positions from being questioned by the public and to expand governmental authority. There is now a deep understanding of the political science behind the Overton Window, and the idea is being used to market ideas to the public in ways never thought of before by governmental organizations and agencies.
“The most common misconception is that lawmakers themselves are in the business of shifting the Overton window. That is absolutely false. Lawmakers are actually in the business of detecting where the window is, and then moving to be in accordance with it.”
- Joseph Lehman
So, according to Joseph Lehman, president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, politicians can only detect the Overton window but are not typically effective in directly influencing it. An exception to this rule may be a populist, charismatic and radicalized leader, such as President Trump. In fact, Trump’s expansion of the Overton window was key to his success. Both Trump and his original campaign manager Steve Bannon are a masterful marketers and media manipulators, so their use of the Overton window as a tool in social media marketing campaigns was most likely intentional.
As a general rule, it is believed that think tanks and social movements are the political actors who shift the Overton window one way or another. That it is these groups who act to convince voters and the public that policies outside the window should be included, or to limit what should be allowed to fit within the “approved” Overton window. One can argue that NIH has become one such advocacy group working to benefit the USG pandemic response policies (and the bureaucrat/politician careers of key HHS leaders) -by both limiting and expanding the Overton window as needed.
The Great Barrington Declaration is an example of an “outsider” group of scientists that have managed to expand the COVID-19 Overton window by use of a successful social media campaign. This declaration, now with almost one million signatures, reiterates sound, scientific principles regarding pandemic response policies that basically state the following:
“The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk. We call this Focused Protection. “
On the other side of this issue, The US Government Health and Human Services (HHS) through NIH and legacy media (via the Trusted News Initiative) that have acted as the radical influencers to close the Overton window regarding universal vaccination, mandates and forced vaccination of children. They have sought to limit activist scientist and physicians by libeling and setting up main stream media in opposition. The email below, which was obtained by FOIA, lists Francis Collins, Anthony Fauci, Cliff Lane and Lawrence Tabak as involved in administering the “take down.” and character assassination of the primary authors. These senior USG HHS officials are important names to remember, as they have been leading this and prior pandemic responses. This type of behavior from governmental officials can not be tolerated in a free, open and democratic society.
“These researchers weren’t fringe and neither was their opposition to quarantining society. But in the panic over the virus, these two voices of officialdom used their authority to stigmatize dissenters and crush debate. A week after his email, Dr. Collins spoke to the Washington Post about the Great Barrington Declaration. “This is a fringe component of epidemiology,” he said. “This is not mainstream science. It’s dangerous.” His message spread and the alternative strategy was dismissed in most precincts.
Dr. Fauci replied to Dr. Collins that the takedown was underway. An article in Wired, a tech-news site, denied there was any scientific divide and argued lockdowns were a straw man—they weren’t coming back. If only it were true. The next month cases rose and restrictions returned.
Dr. Fauci also emailed an article from the Nation, a left-wing magazine, and his staff sent him several more.
The emails suggest a feedback loop: The media cited Dr. Fauci as an unquestionable authority, and Dr. Fauci got his talking points from the media. Facebook censored mentions of the Great Barrington Declaration. This is how groupthink works.”
Dr. Fauci has been particularly egregious in his attempts to limit the Overton Window by his repeated use of the “noble lie.” A “Noble Lie” is knowingly propagated by politicians, often to advance an agenda. A Noble Lie is intrinsically paternalistic. The deceiver assumes that lying serves the best interest of society. Fauci’s misinformation and lies have been targeted at influencing behavior of public and government officials, including politicians. He has effectively used the Noble Lie to expand and limit the Overton Window and in effect, control the narrative that politicians can act on and stay within the safety limits of their constituency.
One of Fauci’s first Noble Lies in this pandemic were in regard to mask use. First his comments were that masks are not effective prevention against COVID-19. This was stated as fact, rather than admit that the USA had a mask shortage. After which he recommended people wear one or even two masks. The CDC backed up this mandate - long after data showed that the effectiveness of most masks was limited to 10% effectiveness, at best. Dr. Fauci then stated the spread of the virus was unlike anything he’s seen before. While data showed that the severity of the illness are much like the flu virus, except in the elderly and high-risk populations.
Another example of Fauci’s Noble Lies are his public statements regarding gain of function research. The change in Fauci’s position over gain-of-function research in the last 18 months went from “it never happened” to “it would have been negligent not to fund the lab.” Of course, as this lie happened to be about protecting himself, it actually doesn’t fit into the category of a noble lie - but just a lie to cover-up his own involvement.
Fauci began the vaccine campaign stating that it would require 60% of the population to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity. He consistently nudged up the percentage of people required to be vaccinated to achieve what he calls herd immunity. He started at 60%, then went to 70%, 85% , 90% and finally over 100% vaccinated with boosters. Long after it was clear that the virus would be endemic, he was still advocating for herd immunity to push for vaccines, vaccines for children and vaccines mandates.
As the concept of the Overton Window has become embedded in our political sphere and public discourse, the ability of governments to manipulate the Overton window has become normalized. The use of big tech, social media and MSM by governments to control the Overton window is now a standard pattern of behavior. The Trusted News Initiative is just one example of this. The use of the social media, MSM, government officials and think tanks by NIH to smear epidemiologists who do not share the same set of public policy viewpoints is another.
By use of limiting what is acceptable speech on COVID-19, authoritarianism in the form of vaccine mandates, lock-downs and mask use have come to dominate governmental responses throughout the world. And the USG public health has normalized propaganda as a tool for enforcing their policy decisions on American and the world.
Omicron is the disruptive event that has expanded the Overton window
The new variant of COVID-19, Omicron, has exploded onto the scene. This variant is different in five essential ways:
More infectious and will soon be the dominant variant in the USA
Poorly matched to currently available vaccines
Natural immunity is providing good protection against Omicron
Disease symptoms are more similar to the common cold
As some governments are now touting a 3rd, 4th or even 5th booster as mandatory, various groups, influencers and even the WHO to some extent – including main stream media outlets- are beginning to question the whole public policy response in the face of the emerging data about Omicron.
Suddenly, some of the data exposing that these vaccines are not as safe and effective as once thought are showing up on places like twitter and linked-in and the posts aren’t being removed (ergo, overtly censored). The WHO is questioning the need for universal vaccination and boosters, even suggesting the boosters may “prolong” COVID. Even some main stream media outlets, such as Real Clear Politics are promoting articles that are outside of the BBC-led “Trusted News Initiative” narrative.
In the meantime, President Biden is working hard to limit the what the public believes by promoting the meme that the unvaccinated will face a “winter of severe illness and death.” Unfortunately for him, he forgot to follow the “Overton Golden Rule” – politicians can only detect the Overton window, and cannot act to contract or expand it. So in this case, public response to his pronouncement about a winter of severe illness and death was met with derision by many.
Last week, the Israeli Ministry of Health has overtly tried to limit the Overton window regarding their childhood vaccine mandates by running a smear campaign against me. My sin is that I question the use of these vaccines for children and being against the mandates. Unfortunately for them, they also forgot the “Overton Golden Rule” - that politicians can only act within the confines of the Overton window and that window has now been expanded due to Omicron. The majority of parents were already against vaccinating children in the USA and that point of view is expanding, due to what we know know about mild symptoms of Omicron.
Of course, for those caught in the mass formation psychosis (hypnosis), Omicron still has not been enough to shake their obsession with the vaccines and mandates. However, for the persuadable third – there is a shifting of perspective. With this shift, this expansion of the Overton window, politicians will be able to expand what is politically acceptable speech and maybe will bring some sanity back into this pandemic response by the US Government and the world.