Neo-Obscurantism Unmasked

Two steps forward, one step backwards

When the establishment wishes to change politics, economics or society towards a certain direction that would be deemed unacceptable by the current cultural standards, they often start by making a deliberately extreme and outrageous proposal that's almost guaranteed to meet wide popular opposition (this move can also serve as a way to "test the waters" and study the people's reactions in order to come up with appropriate response); then withdraw the proposal and replace it with a less extreme version: even if the new version would've still be deemed unacceptable by the old standards, the comparison with the previous one will now make it look way more acceptable; in this way, the establishment can even try to pass itself as merciful and respectful of the popular will, while the ones who are still opposed can be depicted as radicals who are incapable to come to a compromise. With time, the new accepted proposal will slowly come to be seen as the new "normal", and the trick can be repeated again to steer society even more towards the desired direction, until what was once deemed "extreme" will eventually be considered normal, while what was once normal will be seen as the opposite extreme.