The Overton window and crowdsourced morality

The Overton window is the range of policies politically acceptable to the mainstream population at a given time. This range applies to government policies but also to general public discourse.

And, unsurprisingly, the window moves with time.

When the window moves rapidly people can get caught out; a previously accepted opinion can suddenly become radical or unthinkable. And this can lead to situations which obviously call for schadenfreude but really should worry us.

A good example came up again recently because a famous British biologist, Richard Dawkins, asked a simple question and found out that even asking that was now outside the Overton window. And of course this was related to the woke. What Dawkins asked referred back to the embarrassing story of Rachel Dolezal, which I recently saw paraphrased like this:

Dolezal: I’m black! See my black skin and wiry hair! (virtue climbing)

The Woke: She’s black because she self-identifies as black, don’t question her lived experience. (adheres to Woke dogma)

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP): (elects Dolezal as president of the Spokane chapter)

Dolezal: I’ve been the subject of hate crimes because of my blackness! (virtue climbing via Smolleting)

Media: (investigates the hate crime claims, finds out the hate crimes are bunk and oh by the way also she’s not black)

The Right: HAHA Holy Shit This Lady Isn’t Even Black (trolls the Woke on Twitter)

NAACP: We defend Dolezal’s right to identify as black and think she’s doing a great job (adheres to Woke dogma)

Black Folks: BRO, THE FUCK IS THAT WHITE ASS LADY DOING RUNNING THE NAACP IN WHITE ASS SPOKANE WASHINGTON? (note: there really aren’t very many Woke black folks, especially black men, although the Woke like to claim them so they can virtue climb)

The Woke: …


The Woke: (frantically pushes out an update to Woke Dogma differentiating between racial self-identification and all other forms of self-identification, specifically depreciating racial self-identification as a thing “decent human beings” do while leaving other forms of self-identification intact, which filters through The Woke social media metabrain to plug the exploit)

The Woke: You’re cancelled Rachel.

NAACP: You’re cancelled Rachel.

Dolezal: Wait, what? I was a Woke high priestess and following all the rules! You can’t just change the rules! (writes a book defending the depreciated version of Woke Dogma regarding racial self-identification)

A related example where Denmark is slightly behind so we’ll probably skip a few steps, is the question of genders. Specifically, how many genders are there?

2011: 2 genders

2013: 3 genders

2016: 37 specific genders, each with their own designated pronoun and gender symbol, and not memorizing the pronouns and symbols is an act of transphobia, and Tinder must add them or else be transphobic.

2018: infinite genders, and “his royal majesty” is an acceptable pronoun

2020: “trans women are women,” which is basically just a way to re-adopt the two-gender norm

In the span of a decade the rules of “basic human decency” went from 2 to 3 to 37 to infinite to 2. At any time in this circular evolution path you could be cancelled for disagreeing with the current rule for basic human decency. A strict 37 gender adherent in 2018 was transphobic, even though they were the cutting edge of Woke Cool two years prior.


“Crowdsourced” morality could be better described as “mobsourced,” because any time a mob gets a hold of righteousness and torches, bad things happen. Having morality fixed to a book, any bookeven the Aztec book, is itself a feature because it provides a bedrock for human interaction where everyone knows what will and won’t invoke the wrath of the mob. People outside the Woke sphere of influence can’t even keep track of what the “basic rules of human decency” currently are, because they change so frequently. During the Amy Coney Barrett confirmation hearings, she referred to “sexual preference” instead of “sexual orientation” during a question, and the Wrath of the Mob extended all the way up to congressional representatives, when the only sin she committed was not being up to date with woke lingo. Not even Webster’s was up to date, because they went back and changed the dictionary to Wokeify it after the freakout [my link].
— Handwaving Freakoutery, “A Detailed Look at Woke Update Mechanics















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2 Responses to The Overton window and crowdsourced morality

  1. Pingback: Should people be allowed to say anything? | Henning's blog

  2. Pingback: What’s the opposite of “go woke, go broke”? | Henning's blog

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