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In a recent speech Obama said "Instead of strategically applying our power and our principles, too often we set those principles aside as luxuries that we could no longer afford".

The phase caught my ear. I had heard Elijah J. Adlow a judge of the Boston Municipal Court say "You are a luxury society can no longer afford" to a bankrobber picked up off the streets of Boston in 1967."

Among the things I have read Republicans using that exact phrase to claim were "luxuries we could no longer afford" are the Bill of Rights, Liberty, Freedom, Education, Healthcare, Democracy, Climate Change Mediation, Food Stamps, Unemployment Insurance, Generosity, Ethics, Liberalism, Foreign Aid and everything good for the American people.

I wondered where that phrase came from originally and why it has found its way to the lips of everyone from Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia: "Religious liberty is a luxury that we can no longer afford." to Ron Paul "Military adventurism is a luxury we can no longer afford"

Turns out its a phrase that has been placed in the mouths of Demosthenes who claimed  "love is a luxury we can no longer afford" and Benjamin Franklin who warned “For surely if we do not hang together, we will most assuredly hang separately.” Hatred is a luxury humanity can no longer afford.

Maybe its time we recognize that Austerity "is a luxury that society can no longer afford.

Poll

What do you consider a luxury society can no longer afford

0%0 votes
6%2 votes
6%2 votes
3%1 votes
3%1 votes
3%1 votes
0%0 votes
21%7 votes
0%0 votes
9%3 votes
12%4 votes
21%7 votes
3%1 votes
3%1 votes
9%3 votes

| 33 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  How odd that just before coming to the home (4+ / 0-)

    page and scrolling down the list of recent diaries, I had responded to one of your comments in another diary; my comment concluded with this:

    My scotch hoard ran dry long ago. It's not a luxury I can any longer justify for myself.
    The difference between afford and justify is not subtle. The former carries no ethical consideration. The latter is fully weighted with ethical consideration.

    It suits the Death Party to pretend that what are actually ethical decisions are instead practical decisions constrained by some sort of fundamental laws of economy.

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Sat Jul 27, 2013 at 07:24:22 AM PDT

    •  Times are desperate indeed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mystique mist

      When one can no longer justify the water of life. I can't afford to buy it, but when I do a favor for a neighbor they are aware while I won't take money I will take a bottle of scotch. That scotch sits where I can keep an eye on it but not drink it until I have reason to celebrate; I'm always planning on having reasons to celebrate but my scotch lasts a good long time.

      Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

      by rktect on Sat Jul 27, 2013 at 07:58:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I vote for missing category of (5+ / 0-)

    planned ignorance.  

    We have laws against our government propagandizing us domestically.   When was the last time it was enforced?

    Defunding universal and truthfull education --- will send us to a horrible age of darkness.    

    De fund + de bunk = de EXIT--->>>>>

    by Neon Mama on Sat Jul 27, 2013 at 08:46:19 AM PDT

    •  I was unaware we had such laws (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Neon Mama, mystique mist

      It seems as though there are many means in which we are routinely propagandized by our government ranging from selected members of the armed forces and elected officials being interviewed by media, to "leaks", the inclusion of footage produced by the military in films, and all of the classified documents about which government officials are routinely expected to lie or mislead by concealment of facts.

      Certainly most of us are ignorant of what our government is doing as regards "covert" actions, classified missions, kidnapping, torture, murder, assassination, indefinite detention, the destabilization of other governments, the surveillance of American citizens and all the information gathering that we don't know enough about even to put a name to.

      Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

      by rktect on Sat Jul 27, 2013 at 09:35:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ended July 2,2013 (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      quill, unfangus, mystique mist
      The amendment from Thornberry and Smith "updates" Smith-Mundt by lifting that ban, and It also clarifies that it never applied to other government agencies, including the Department of Defense. That, according to a concerned anonymous Pentagon official who spoke with Hastings, "removes oversight from the people who want to put out this information." (It's worth noting that Smith also sponsored bipartisan amendments in the defense bill to end indefinite military detention of inmates and address the problem of sexual assault in the service.)
  •  Global hegemony (6+ / 0-)

    is a luxury we never could afford, and now the bills are coming due.  Yet as a nation we still insist on maintaining this impossible luxury, because our national ego will have it no other way.

    "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel" ~Dr. Samuel Johnson

    by ActivistGuy on Sat Jul 27, 2013 at 09:04:07 AM PDT

    •  I thought we proclaimed it as our manifest destiny (3+ / 0-)

      and then like our forever war on terror we just continued expanding it until it became clear to most of us that resistance was futile, and the rest of us were put on no fly lists or targeted for assassination or indefinite detention, and had their passports cancelled to make finding political sanctuary more difficult.

      Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

      by rktect on Sat Jul 27, 2013 at 09:40:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I am currently reading (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        unfangus, mystique mist, nchristine

        a book of essays by Gore Vidal. He traces our current Empire back to McKinley, Roosevelt and the Philippines. Its modern form he attributes to the National Defense Act of 1947 in which we established a perpetual war machine, primarily to maintain profits for the corporate community. Think about it for a minute; we are currently in desperate combat with a shadowy force that may not exceed 10,000 effectives . For most of my youth , we were in desperate combat against a former ally who never actually threatened us  directly.

        Another thought experiment, why are Social Security, medicare and medicaid, mostly self financing, always in the pie chart with military and domestic tax spending? Could it be that we would not put up with spending more than 80% of all taxes on the military and intelligence services in peace time?

        "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

        by johnmorris on Sat Jul 27, 2013 at 10:28:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Social Security is a luxury Obama can't afford (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rktect, shaharazade

    Oops, I'm sorry, he does support the BASIC benefit as opposed to the one with all those luxurious COLA frills attached, but not for you FUTURE retirees, you don't even get the BASIC benefit.  

    So as a practical matter, not only can we not afford luxuries, Obama doesn't even believe our future includes the basics.

    •  Obama supported Social Security increases. (0+ / 0-)

      COLA with a change from 2012 to 2013 of plus 1.7%. One proposed change in calculations was to change the basket from a working index C-CPI-W to an elderly basket C-CPI-E and this was incorporated under C-CPI-U which Obama supports.

      His cuts were to the increase in tax exemptions for the wealthy, and due to that making for higher revenues, the cost of interest on the debt which got plowed back into Social Security and Medicare. He also made cuts to the cap which prior to his proposal allowed people with higher incomes not to be taxed on all of their income like the rest of us were.

      Depending on how old you are and where you live you may find a COLA that measures cost of living for urban workers more or less effective for you than one that adds in more medical expense for the elderly, or is based on a more rural basket that includes your being a seasonal worker in an underserved rural area.

      Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

      by rktect on Sat Jul 27, 2013 at 10:14:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm surprised to see in the polling (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mystique mist

    That Racism, Indefinite Detention, Gun Violence and Voter Suppression are the last things we consider our society can no longer afford.

    Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

    by rktect on Sat Jul 27, 2013 at 09:43:41 AM PDT

    •  It was a hard (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      unfangus, mystique mist, nchristine

      choice as I thought all of the above and then some. You left out human and civil rights which would cover most of the 'luxuries' we are losing. We can also no longer afford a government that refuses to uphold the law, and values/principles of a democratic society and the common good of it's people.  Racism, voter suppression, gun violence, indefinite detention are things our society can no longer afford so I voted for what I thought would cover as many of your choices as possible.    

  •  systemic oligopoly (4+ / 0-)

    All of those items in your poll are merely symptoms of an intractable root cause: the upward redistribution of wealth and power to the wealthy few and the corporations they own.

    Nearly every problem we talk about on Dkos is a symptom of that, and yet we never get the clue: this isn't some kind of team sport, "Good Democrats vs Bad Republicans" where if only we had more wins we could get more nice things.

    The real problem is that we have an entire society and political system infected with rules and laws designed to make everyone conform to the goal of corporatocracy no matter what they think or want. Even the best Democrats and Progressives work towards that goal, unwittingly or not, because everything we and they do is pre-compromised due to the framework they have to work within. It's the old "one step forward, two steps back" scenario, on a global, top-to-bottom scale.

    The reason we can't afford it is that our current 0.1% oriented system runs on a growth based model that depends on access to unlimited resources. It is now unsustainable, especially with climate change, and unless things change, the outlook is not good for civilization. One thing is for sure though: as long as we continue to attack the symptoms (bad Republicans, climate deniers, etc) as if they are the problem, with "solutions" that don't address the real problem ("more Democrats!"), then we will never be satisfied with the outcome...

    History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce - Karl Marx

    by quill on Sat Jul 27, 2013 at 09:55:10 AM PDT

  •  Oh (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaharazade, rktect, mystique mist

    and I would have picked 'all of the above'.

    "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

    by johnmorris on Sat Jul 27, 2013 at 10:30:10 AM PDT

    •  Me too. (4+ / 0-)

      I am currently dating an economist and learning quite a bit.

      We had a discussion last night in which I commented that one of the useful things I had gotten from engaging in BDSM was the ability to spot power plays and dominance displays very early in daily life, and how to deliberately signal dominance or submission to make things easier. That, for example, when one is on food stamps and must go in for review, one must show submission and appropriate contrition. "The lie you must appear to believe," he said, "is that your poverty is entirely your fault. But the system requires that you apologize for existing as a poor person and do the appropriate dance in order to get your benefits."

      We also agreed that some aspects of moral codes are a luxury for the more financially secure.

      When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

      by Alexandra Lynch on Sat Jul 27, 2013 at 11:07:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  How can I obtain this BDSM power over agencies (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mystique mist

        so as to make absolute power the ability to do nothing and have the nothing nothing reliably every month?

        It seems like the way it is now every time you go to an agency your purpose is to fill out some paperwork so they can get the big bucks and you can get some Ramen Noodles. Then they want you to come back so they can charge the government more money.

        Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

        by rktect on Sat Jul 27, 2013 at 11:29:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't worry about the paperwork so much (2+ / 0-)

          as I do dealing with people, who want to see an appropriate attitude on the part of us petitioning poor souls.

          When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

          by Alexandra Lynch on Sat Jul 27, 2013 at 12:03:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  ran out of lines but didn't want all of the above (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mystique mist

      cause everybody always chooses that, so I put in the "other (address in comments)" line. Most of the comments turned out to be really good.  What I'm really going after is where we get the idea of what is "a luxury that society can no longer afford".

      Both political extremes share the idea that something has changed that makes some aspect of our norms and mores expendable, starting with tolerating eachothers ideas. Everything on my list is something a conservative would probably support until you pried it out of their cold dead hands.

      Things they want to get rid of include the Bill of Rights, Liberty, Freedom, Education, Healthcare, Democracy, Climate Change Mediation, Food Stamps, Unemployment Insurance, Generosity, Ethics, Liberalism, Foreign Aid and everything good for the American people.

      Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

      by rktect on Sat Jul 27, 2013 at 11:14:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Scalia actually said (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mystique mist, rktect

    religious liberty is a luxury that we can no longer afford?

    Good grief. What on earth did he mean by that? What is the cost of religious liberty?

    We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

    by denise b on Sat Jul 27, 2013 at 01:17:44 PM PDT

    •  Employment Division of Oregon v. Smith (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      denise b
      In 1990 the United States Supreme Court made "what some consider the most infamous ruling in its history" in the case of Employment Division of Oregon v. Smith. Alfred Leo Smith, a Klamath member of the Native American Church, had been fired from his job for ingesting peyote-the sacramental substance at the core of his religious faith, but a controlled substance in the eyes of drug prevention officials. The Supreme Court upheld the State's right to interfere with peyotists' freedom of religion even without proving a "compelling state interest" to do so. Justice Antonin Scalia's majority opinion called individual religious liberty a "luxury" the US could no longer "afford," and if "minority" faiths were to suffer from his ruling, so be it.

      Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

      by rktect on Sat Jul 27, 2013 at 03:53:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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