Shlomo Maistre at Samizdata:
What we are witnessing in the United Kingdom’s Labour Party is one of the main ways in which the Overton Window is shifted leftwards, as it has been doing for centuries in the Western world.
According to Overton’s description, his window includes a range of policies considered politically acceptable in the current climate of public opinion, which a politician can recommend without being considered too extreme to gain or keep public office.
Jeremy Corbyn is probably unelectable in today’s United Kingdom, but by controlling a major political party the Corbyn gang are presenting dissenting Labourites with a simple offer they can rarely refuse: get with the (leftwing) program (or face the consequences, which can vary). Ultimately those who do not accept said offer will almost certainly be eventually rendered irrelevant to the Labour Party.
Many (probably most) of President Obama’s policies would be considered politically unacceptable by the climate of public opinion that prevailed in the United States circa 1980, for instance.
Like the leftists who have preceded him, Corbyn will lose the battle but win the war. Time degrades all things, after all.
This is what democracy looks like: the Left is shifted left by leaders and the Right’s politicians compete to acquire the support of those the Left abandoned in the center.
See also Libertarian Alliance Tactical Note 17:
extremism really does shift the middle ground. In the main pamphlet above, I was unable to give examples from my own experience. Since yesterday morning, I can. Someone from a shooting club called in, and said: “I want to take a middle view between the speakers.” He then argued against any change in the gun laws. Without me there, he could never have got away with that. He would have been denounced as a potential Thomas Hamilton, trying to save his penis extension.
I think that perhaps extreme views like those articulated by Sean Gabb are one thing, but there is also a role for slightly-less-extreme views in paving the road in that direction. Either way, libertarians are the group most qualified to move the window back in the other direction. We cannot trust conservatives to do it for us.