Saturday, December 12, 2009

Position of Luxury

I will not claim to have invented this phrase, but I had not ever heard it used before it materialized in my head: position of luxury. A position of luxury is a position, typically political or social in nature, but possibly technical as well, that would have significant negative consequences if everybody took that position, but if only a minority take that position then they reap the benefits that accrue from the consequences of the majority taking an opposing position. An example would be an antiwar stance or a conscienscious objector stance which permits the person to gain the benefits of strong national defense and successful prosecution of wars. There is nothing wrong with such a position per se, but it is a weaker position morally since the person is getting benefits for free, or at least without the full costs that persons taking an opposing stance may face.

The core of this concept is that a person can or is depending on others to take action based on an opposing position.

As another example of a position of luxury, a person could safely oppose use of severe or lethal force by law enforcement authorities, knowing that the majority will likely support an appropriate level of force regardless of any opposing positions.

-- Jack Krupansky


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