Unpopular law that becomes indispensible?
November 19, 2014 3:52 PM   Subscribe

I've been searching but my searching has been for naught. Is there a term for a law or laws that are passed that are originally unpopular but then becomes indispensable or even popular? Like affirmative action or income tax or the 19th amendment?

I'm also curious if there's a study or article or anything that once an unpopular law is passed, that after it's been in effect for a while, it just ceases to be an issue? I'm sorry for the vague question in advance - it's just been on my mind for a while lately.
posted by lasamana to Law & Government (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
[Couple comments removed; question is about terms and related analysis, not general examples of laws themselves.]
posted by cortex at 4:21 PM on November 19, 2014

Laws aren't generally unpopular when passed, because congress isn't really in the business of passing unpopular laws.

The sixteenth amendment was popular, for example, because the income tax was going to replace tariffs which were seen as regressive.
posted by empath at 4:31 PM on November 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

Maybe something like "normalization"? What was once controversial now seems normal. This is mentioned in behavioral economics, I believe.
posted by amtho at 5:14 PM on November 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

I can see "progressive" being able to fit that bill, but it would be muddy because the word has other more established meanings.
posted by anonymisc at 5:40 PM on November 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

You may want to read about the Overton Window, which is a term that describes the range of ideas the public will accept, ranging from ideas that are barely tolerated, to ideas that are considered uncontroversial, to ideas that are considered bedrock principles on which society is built. The theory describes how ideas and policies come to move in and out of the Overton Window over time, and how interest groups try to "shift the window" to make their ideas more palatable or favored by the public. But the theory helps to explain how the debate can shift an idea very rapidly from unacceptable to indispensible.
posted by decathecting at 7:13 PM on November 19, 2014 [7 favorites]

There's always "Making Tough Decisions(tm)".
posted by Huffy Puffy at 6:39 AM on November 20, 2014

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