On the acceptance of ideas over time

“Many who before regarded legislation on the subject as chimerical, will now fancy that it is only dangerous, or perhaps not more than difficult.

And so in time it will come to be looked on as among the things possible, then among the things probable;–and so at last it will be ranged in the list of those few measures which the country requires as being absolutely needed.

That is the way in which public opinion is made.”

This quote, from Anthony Trollope‘s 1868 novel Phineas Finnfeatures in the Wikipedia entry on the Overton window.

The Overton window “is an approach to identifying which ideas define the domain of acceptability within a democracy’s possible governmental policies. Proponents of policies outside the window seek to persuade or educate the public in order to move and/or expand the window. Proponents of current policies, or similar ones, within the window seek to convince people that policies outside it should be deemed unacceptable.”