• This is a political forum that is non-biased/non-partisan and treats every person's position on topics equally. This debate forum is not aligned to any political party. In today's politics, many ideas are split between and even within all the political parties. Often we find ourselves agreeing on one platform but some topics break our mold. We are here to discuss them in a civil political debate. If this is your first visit to our political forums, be sure to check out the RULES. Registering for debate politics is necessary before posting. Register today to participate - it's free!

Something to think about on how people think about politics


DP Veteran
Apr 22, 2019
Reaction score
Political Leaning
I don't think the *people* change that much in many ways in terms of their attitude about politics. You have the people who 'feel conservative' and the 'bleeding hearts' who are more empathetic and caring, and various things.

The changes are essentially invisible to people, and take place more on issues. So decades ago, the debate, say, on gay people might have been whether to execute them or jail them for long periods, or to more humanely segregate them and pity them, while now, the same type of people will have the same 'approaches', but while previous ideas like gay people teaching children, or marrying, were unthinkable to all sides, now it's jailing gay people that's unthinkable, gay marriage has almost become non-controversial, and the debate on issues has shifted to the right to discriminate by employers and businesses.

Similarly, ideas like, say, social security or public healthcare can go from 'radical' to 'critically important', even while the people debating them have similar approaches that have very different positions.

This sort of change as I understand has been referred to as the 'Overton window', a name I'm not crazy about because it makes it sound like it's some weird thing. But I do find it's pretty important to politics. That people are comfortable feeling they know what is 'right' and what is left' and they are comfortable with whatever, including 'the middle'. But as those definitions change, their policy positions may radically change but they're still in the same 'place' on left-right.

This is important, for one thing, for propagandists. If they can 'set up the boundaries' for an issue of what left and right are, and put another position into the 'crazy' category, they win much better than actually debating and defeating the issue.

For example, it was a lot better for opponents of gay marriage to defeat it when the reaction to it was 'that's asinine', instead of having to actually defend the position why someone should be treated as so second-class.

Another important thing about it is how much it 'breaks' the idea of the public rationally considering issues. They're a lot more limited in options they'll consider and how they'll view anything else than they realize they are.

Scientifically, we even know that brains function differently depending on these definitions - that images have a 'partisan' reaction activate one part of the brain that is not rational, while other things that are not 'partisan' to the person can activate the rational part of the brain.

This is why you'll see some people who seem just hear a word and it's like a trigger - because it is for them. And they're not about to question how the feel about it usually. Political manipulators understand that, and know how to create buttons in people to press to get the reaction they want - while people on this forum sit and comment on observing the results.

This is one more disadvantage when the public is so influenced by messaging they get. That creates more of those non-rational 'buttons' they don't realize they have. Even just what's said by the media as 'conventional wisdom' has a huge effect on what people see as 'legitimate options' and 'radical'. It's able to make really bad things seem normal, and really good things seem radical.

It's remarkable how much of our politics isn't about 'winning a debate' but about what people refuse to consider. It's one of the things that puts democracy on its head.

People notice it less because on things they aren't propagandized on, they're more likely not to see as 'partisan'. Aren't dogs great? Yes, they are. That's how people can 'normally' react.

That's one reason why propaganda can be so hyperbolic - when it's trying to get people to file something in the 'radical' area, not to be thought about.

One thing we've seen is even that things that might seem obvious and simple later, can seem radical earlier and take decades or centuries to change. When our country was founded, you had John Adams' wife saying women should get to vote: “If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice, or representation.” She was rational and saw the merits, while most couldn't consider the idea, it was radical. It took 150 years. Now, of course, very people would oppose women voting, that is what's 'radical'.

It's good to understand how people are on this, why it is so hard for an Abigail Adams to get support. It's not simply 'make a good case for a position'. Things we can do about this include supporting media that tries to avoid manipulating people like this, and reducing the amount of money funding propaganda.
Top Bottom