Two ideas that collided: the evolutionary basis of cooperation, and common principles of action that characterize successful self-regulating cooperative groups.
This from a discussion of “The Tragedy of the Commons”, the original paper’s origins, how it became part of orthodox social science and responses to it.
Regarding the latter: Tim Harford points out that the idea wasn’t original when Hardin published it, but he gave the phenomenon a catchy name and a simple storyline. I think these are key to having an idea become so universal that it’s somehow beyond considerations of truth or falsehood, it’s just taken as self-evident. This ties into Lakoff’s ideas about persuasion and language.