Why choose between Left or Right?
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17-04-2014, 10:21 AM
RE: Why choose between Left or Right?
@cjlr

Hi, thanks for taking the time to respond to my post. I don't have much time to work with here so excuse what will inevitably be a rushed reply.

In general, I find that a nitpicking approach to debates can often miss the big picture by focusing on detail too much. However, I will try and address your points individually. First though, let me plant my flag on a few 'bigger picture' points which I hope will underline my original post.

Firstly, what is driving my original post is a desire for global peace, calmness and compassion. We can (I hope) agree so far that this is a worthwhile end-goal. Whether or not global peace is entirely possible is irrelevant here. We should be, at least, driven to this goal.

Following on from the this, my original post essentially makes one point; The Western culture of choosing one side of the political spectrum, either left or right is both silly and dangerous. Silly because it implies there is a "one size fits all" approach to life if only we choose the right one... And dangerous because it is divisive and allows people to stop thinking for themselves by outsourcing their judgement to a predetermined political template.

I singled out the Left Wing because it was the counter-intuitive thing to do. My perception is that the left is very much in fashion in Western countries right now and so putting leftist philosophy on trial might shine a light on some things which people hadn't considered before. Truthfully, both left and right philosophies could be put on trial and shown to have weaknesses... This truth should give us pause before we 'pledge our allegiance' to one side or the other. Hence my reason for taking the Left Wing to trial.

I sense what has happened here (and I stand to be corrected here) is that you identify yourself as "left" and my post has made you defensive. If that is the case, please consider whether there is any value to identifying yourself with a political label. The point of my post is that there really isn't.

Right let's address your points.

(17-04-2014 08:40 AM)cjlr Wrote:  Yes. That whole "invading other countries" and "putting money before people" is a very left-wing mindset. wut?

Also - pseudointellectuals? wut? Like, who?

I think you may have misinterpreted this line. I said that I am not going to use these left-wing arguments to show how Western culture is broken. They are in my opinion overused and do not succeed in prosecuting our culture as we are not the ones invading other countries. We are the ones protesting while our governments do it anyway.

(17-04-2014 08:40 AM)cjlr Wrote:  Yes, that's called having opinions; it's rather common across all ends of the human spectrum.

Having opinions are fine. I'm not saying that the left are not entitled to their opinion, I'm saying that there is an incompatibility between being intellectually-lazy and being a self-appointed judge of someone's moral character.

(17-04-2014 08:40 AM)cjlr Wrote:  Protip: if people interpret what you're saying as racist, you should probably think of a better way to phrase it.

But, I'm still pretty sure it doesn't take extensive fact-checking and background research to make that call.

This point of yours is dismissable I'm afraid. You seem to be assuming that people interpret what I say as racist. At no point in my post did I mention myself. I am not ranting because someone called me racist, I am exercising a bit of social commentary on what I see happening in Western countries.

(17-04-2014 08:40 AM)cjlr Wrote:  "Labels are bad, therefore I will harshly judge anyone who I consider to fall within a certain broad group".

ITT: making ludicrous, sweeping generalisations for fun and profit.

(but no, seriously buddy, citation needed - do you know what irony means?)

I did not say the above quote. Nor did I imply it. What I did do, was shine a light on some aspects of Left philosophy which have (until recently) managed to escape criticism. I am not judging anyone personally, rather I am criticising an ideology and its affects on the people who subscribe to it.



(17-04-2014 08:40 AM)cjlr Wrote:  That kind of sentiment never ends well.

Dismissable.

(17-04-2014 08:40 AM)cjlr Wrote:  Cool story. That's not how it works.

Certain opinions tend to correlate; this is rather inevitable given specific moral and social premises. Those sharing similar premises then exhibit correlation between their views as well... "Left" and "right" are not official terms. They are catch-all generalised categories. It's all well and good to say "label r bad lol" but it turns out that having words to refer to positive correlations is actually pretty handy.

Political parties and other political organisations usually have official stances on some topics. So what? In what fantasyland does every single party member (note: official party members in most developed countries are a tiny percentage of the population) have to - or indeed wish to - adopt every single offical position to the exclusion of all else? Do you seriously think that's common?

I won't be quite so bold as to say that literally never happens, but, seriously now: wut?

Well now we finally have a good talking point. Albeit you have worded this point somewhat authoritatively which doesn't sit well with me. Lines like "that's not how it works" suggest that you somehow have an intellectual monopoly on the nuances of sociology, which no one does. It would be better, I think, if you said something like "In my opinion, that's not how it works..."

Anyway, you have made a good point and I agree with you, however, I sense you have put a full stop after this point and therefore closed the book on this one. I agree that labels are handy (I never said "labels r bad lol" by the way) and I agree that correlation in moral and political world views are what initially draws people together. However, I think you have missed my point. I am talking more about societal culture. How do we (the people) interact with one another, how do we take to government decisions, corporate behaviour etc. My frustration is that by choosing a political side, people often outsource their judgement. When this becomes a habit, people stop thinking for themselves.

(17-04-2014 08:40 AM)cjlr Wrote:  Yeah, that's still not how it works.

Again, you seem to want to have a monopoly on "how things work". Just a suggestion, but if you add "in my opinion" before you make assertions like that, your arguments will be more valid.

(17-04-2014 08:40 AM)cjlr Wrote:  "All too common", eh? "Frequent", eh?

Well, but I guess that might have happened at least once...

Are you asserting that this type of question has only happened once?

(17-04-2014 08:40 AM)cjlr Wrote:  Except going from "abrogation of responsibility is dangerous" to "all political labels are dangerous" to "anyone who self-identifies with any coherent political viewpoint is therefore dangerous" takes a trip across the bridge of insane troll logic. And that's a bridge too far.

I never said any of this. You seem to be putting words in my mouth when it suits you. What I did say is that the general culture of subscribing to a political identity is both silly and dangerous. I have elaborated on this point above.

(17-04-2014 08:40 AM)cjlr Wrote:  Rwanda, mate.

(also, lol Godwin)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burundian_Genocide



(17-04-2014 07:40 AM)Ewok Wrote:  In short, don't be lazy enough to outsource your thinking to a political template. It is unscientific, dangerous and in the greater scheme of things... divisive.

(17-04-2014 08:40 AM)cjlr Wrote:  Indeed.

Do you have any reason to think that happens much?

Yes.
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17-04-2014, 11:07 AM
RE: Why choose between Left or Right?
(17-04-2014 10:21 AM)Ewok Wrote:  In general, I find that a nitpicking approach to debates can often miss the big picture by focusing on detail too much. However, I will try and address your points individually. First though, let me plant my flag on a few 'bigger picture' points which I hope will underline my original post.

I rather find that if a statement "X, because a, b, and c" depends on dubious a, b, and c - well, the "big picture" X is rather irrelevant...

(17-04-2014 10:21 AM)Ewok Wrote:  Firstly, what is driving my original post is a desire for global peace, calmness and compassion. We can (I hope) agree so far that this is a worthwhile end-goal. Whether or not global peace is entirely possible is irrelevant here. We should be, at least, driven to this goal.

No argument here!

(17-04-2014 10:21 AM)Ewok Wrote:  Following on from the this, my original post essentially makes one point; The Western culture of choosing one side of the political spectrum, either left or right is both silly and dangerous. Silly because it implies there is a "one size fits all" approach to life if only we choose the right one... And dangerous because it is divisive and allows people to stop thinking for themselves by outsourcing their judgement to a predetermined political template.

I agree with the latter - I dispute the former. If it happens at all it's a marginal phenomenon. Prove me wrong!

(17-04-2014 10:21 AM)Ewok Wrote:  I singled out the Left Wing because it was the counter-intuitive thing to do. My perception is that the left is very much in fashion in Western countries right now and so putting leftist philosophy on trial might shine a light on some things which people hadn't considered before. Truthfully, both left and right philosophies could be put on trial and shown to have weaknesses... This truth should give us pause before we 'pledge our allegiance' to one side or the other. Hence my reason for taking the Left Wing to trial.

But also the fact that there's no such thing as "the" left or "the" right.

(17-04-2014 10:21 AM)Ewok Wrote:  I sense what has happened here (and I stand to be corrected here) is that you identify yourself as "left" and my post has made you defensive. If that is the case, please consider whether there is any value to identifying yourself with a political label. The point of my post is that there really isn't.

My political opinions are my own.

I seriously dispute that last point - having words to describe overlapping sets of beliefs is incredibly useful. So there's that.

You're making a kind of slippery slope argument. Which, if not invalid, may be entirely irrelevant.

(17-04-2014 10:21 AM)Ewok Wrote:  Right let's address your points.

(17-04-2014 08:40 AM)cjlr Wrote:  Yes. That whole "invading other countries" and "putting money before people" is a very left-wing mindset. wut?

Also - pseudointellectuals? wut? Like, who?

I think you may have misinterpreted this line. I said that I am not going to use these left-wing arguments to show how Western culture is broken. They are in my opinion overused and do not succeed in prosecuting our culture as we are not the ones invading other countries. We are the ones protesting while our governments do it anyway.

Sure, but "governments" are not a nebulous shadowy hivemind divorced from popular opinion.

(17-04-2014 10:21 AM)Ewok Wrote:  
(17-04-2014 08:40 AM)cjlr Wrote:  Yes, that's called having opinions; it's rather common across all ends of the human spectrum.

Having opinions are fine. I'm not saying that the left are not entitled to their opinion, I'm saying that there is an incompatibility between being intellectually-lazy and being a self-appointed judge of someone's moral character.

Right, but calling racists racist is an entirely justified moral judgement.

I'm very unclear on what your original point with that particular sentiment was.

(17-04-2014 10:21 AM)Ewok Wrote:  
(17-04-2014 08:40 AM)cjlr Wrote:  Protip: if people interpret what you're saying as racist, you should probably think of a better way to phrase it.

But, I'm still pretty sure it doesn't take extensive fact-checking and background research to make that call.

This point of yours is dismissable I'm afraid. You seem to be assuming that people interpret what I say as racist.

No, that was a rhetorical "you". Sorry for the ambiguity!

(17-04-2014 10:21 AM)Ewok Wrote:  At no point in my post did I mention myself. I am not ranting because someone called me racist, I am exercising a bit of social commentary on what I see happening in Western countries.

And the point still stands - being accused of racism (not you, some hypothetical person) doesn't happen for no reason. I think it's perfectly reasonable and indeed a good thing to have a cultural background in which such sentiments are publicly judged unacceptable.

(17-04-2014 10:21 AM)Ewok Wrote:  
(17-04-2014 08:40 AM)cjlr Wrote:  "Labels are bad, therefore I will harshly judge anyone who I consider to fall within a certain broad group".

ITT: making ludicrous, sweeping generalisations for fun and profit.

(but no, seriously buddy, citation needed - do you know what irony means?)

I did not say the above quote. Nor did I imply it.

What you said was that "the left" [who?] do not see the "obvious truth" [say what?] but are "content watching the latest conspiracy theory internet video" [again, who does this?]. Sure sounds like a broad judgement of a broader group to me.

(17-04-2014 10:21 AM)Ewok Wrote:  I am not judging anyone personally, rather I am criticising an ideology and its affects on the people who subscribe to it.

It isn't valid for religious people to say they like gay people but hate gayness; it's not particularly credible to say you dislike "an ideology" (notwithstanding that "left" or "right" is far, far to broad and variable to be much of an ideology) - especially if you call it innately intellectually wanting - but can totally divorce this from any individual who (by your standards) roughly fits the category.

(17-04-2014 10:21 AM)Ewok Wrote:  
(17-04-2014 08:40 AM)cjlr Wrote:  That kind of sentiment never ends well.

Dismissable.

No, appeals to common sense or false authority aren't meaningful.
(ie "smart people would agree with X; do you?")

Everyone thinks that what they think "should" be obvious to other reasonable people.

(17-04-2014 10:21 AM)Ewok Wrote:  
(17-04-2014 08:40 AM)cjlr Wrote:  Cool story. That's not how it works.

Certain opinions tend to correlate; this is rather inevitable given specific moral and social premises. Those sharing similar premises then exhibit correlation between their views as well... "Left" and "right" are not official terms. They are catch-all generalised categories. It's all well and good to say "label r bad lol" but it turns out that having words to refer to positive correlations is actually pretty handy.

Political parties and other political organisations usually have official stances on some topics. So what? In what fantasyland does every single party member (note: official party members in most developed countries are a tiny percentage of the population) have to - or indeed wish to - adopt every single offical position to the exclusion of all else? Do you seriously think that's common?

I won't be quite so bold as to say that literally never happens, but, seriously now: wut?

Well now we finally have a good talking point. Albeit you have worded this point somewhat authoritatively which doesn't sit well with me.

Unlike your wording?
Tongue

(17-04-2014 10:21 AM)Ewok Wrote:  Lines like "that's not how it works" suggest that you somehow have an intellectual monopoly on the nuances of sociology, which no one does. It would be better, I think, if you said something like "In my opinion, that's not how it works..."

Anything I say is as implicitly my own opinion as everything of yours I'm responding to is implicitly yours...

Point taken, but it's necessarily reciprocal.

(17-04-2014 10:21 AM)Ewok Wrote:  Anyway, you have made a good point and I agree with you, however, I sense you have put a full stop after this point and therefore closed the book on this one. I agree that labels are handy (I never said "labels r bad lol" by the way) and I agree that correlation in moral and political world views are what initially draws people together. However, I think you have missed my point. I am talking more about societal culture. How do we (the people) interact with one another, how do we take to government decisions, corporate behaviour etc.

Yes. And:
(17-04-2014 10:21 AM)Ewok Wrote:  My frustration is that by choosing a political side, people often outsource their judgement. When this becomes a habit, people stop thinking for themselves.

My trouble with your assertion is that it's just an assertion. Does that actually happen, and if so to what extent?

(17-04-2014 10:21 AM)Ewok Wrote:  
(17-04-2014 08:40 AM)cjlr Wrote:  Yeah, that's still not how it works.

Again, you seem to want to have a monopoly on "how things work". Just a suggestion, but if you add "in my opinion" before you make assertions like that, your arguments will be more valid.

Anything I say is as implicitly my own opinion as everything of yours I'm responding to is implicitly yours.

My trouble with your assertion is that it's so far just an assertion.

(17-04-2014 10:21 AM)Ewok Wrote:  
(17-04-2014 08:40 AM)cjlr Wrote:  "All too common", eh? "Frequent", eh?

Well, but I guess that might have happened at least once...

Are you asserting that this type of question has only happened once?

Fatuity is unbecoming.

Of course that sort of thing isn't unheard of. You're portraying it as problematically endemic. I dispute that assertion.

It's all well and good to say that people abrogating forming their own opinions and seeking conformity with group identity is bad. So?

(17-04-2014 10:21 AM)Ewok Wrote:  
(17-04-2014 08:40 AM)cjlr Wrote:  Except going from "abrogation of responsibility is dangerous" to "all political labels are dangerous" to "anyone who self-identifies with any coherent political viewpoint is therefore dangerous" takes a trip across the bridge of insane troll logic. And that's a bridge too far.

I never said any of this.

Sure you didn't.

You said outsourcing opinions to adopted ideology was bad, and you asserted and implied repeatedly that this was common. You're working from a false premise that all such identification is chosen and conformed to.

My counter-argument was that until you show me otherwise I'm going to carry on interpreting broad identity terms as being no more than useful ways to describe set intersection.

(17-04-2014 10:21 AM)Ewok Wrote:  You seem to be putting words in my mouth when it suits you. What I did say is that the general culture of subscribing to a political identity is both silly and dangerous. I have elaborated on this point above.

Except as alluded to above the fundamental problem with that statement lies in the word "subscribing".

Or:
"Well, I just signed up to [political group A], guess I'd better agree with their official policy on everything".

You can't simply assert that that's an accurate representation of many people's behaviour. Why do so? On what grounds?

(17-04-2014 10:21 AM)Ewok Wrote:  
(17-04-2014 07:40 AM)Ewok Wrote:  In short, don't be lazy enough to outsource your thinking to a political template. It is unscientific, dangerous and in the greater scheme of things... divisive.

(17-04-2014 08:40 AM)cjlr Wrote:  Indeed.

Do you have any reason to think that happens much?

Yes.

...

Such as?

... this is my signature!
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18-04-2014, 06:25 AM
RE: Why choose between Left or Right?
@cjlr

Again, I don't have much time to work with, so accept my apologies for the rushed manner in which this is written.

In general, I enjoyed reading your response and you have made many points which have given me food for thought, however, we still have some points of contention which I will address below.

POINT 1:
First off, it makes sense to me to discuss big picture issues at the beginning of a discussion or debate and only after core disagreements are properly crystallised, then a more zoomed in analysis of the details works. Whilst there is no rule governing the structure of debates, this seems to me to be a generally more efficient method because it; (1) minimises the chance a respondent will dispute a detail which he / she has actually taken out of context; (2) gives the respondent a better understanding of the original poster's paradigm and (3) makes for a friendlier discussion as defences are inevitably lowered when paradigms are better understood by both parties.

You jumped straight in with the microscope and disputed details within my original post before gaining an understanding of my paradigm. I found that this approach led to you misinterpreting the point I was making and you were often left having to caricature my argument by joining the dots with words I never said. It would have been better to ask what I mean by point X and tell me how it is coming across. I would then be able to elaborate and either confirm or disconfirm your understanding of my point.

POINT 2:
I agree that labels can be useful, however, I would hesitate to agree with your absolute assertion that political labels are "incredibly useful". There are many times when they do more harm than good because they bring with them a stigma that has the potential to taint one's judgement. In fact this is not a phenomenon which exclusive to political labels. Any type of social label has the potential to taint one's judgement. Consider whether the label "black male" would help or hinder someone applying for a babysitting job. The point here is there are times when labels do more harm than good, in any sphere, and it seems to me that this should give us pause before we identify as "left" or "right" or any other political label.

POINT 3:
Comparing hypothetical religious people who love gay people but hate "gayness" with my criticism of left wing ideology is fundamentally asymmetrical. "Gayness" is not a set of beliefs, culture or political standings. Criticism of "gayness" is symmetrical with criticism of skin colour, not with criticism of ideology.

POINT 4:
Our core disagreement is one of paradigm. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem to feel that people converge over political and moral standings (among other things) and the label comes afterwards. The label is handy way to verbally group likeminded people under a common term... I agree with this, however, I don't think it ends there. This situation may very well be the cause which led to labels like left and right but I don't think this process is a perfect system. There come in to play other factors which lead (in my opinion) to people dropping their thinking rights. Consider 'social pressure' as just one example. The social pressure from other members of the in-group clearly can lead to conformity - especially with more vulnerable people or younger minds... So whilst there may be an organic system which starts with a need for the usefulness of a political label, the process is clearly capable of continuing and deviating from this equilibrium. This, I believe is at the core of our disagreement. You take issue when I use words like "subscribe to a political ideology". I see where you are coming from but I guess from where I'm standing, I see a lot of mindlessness from people in political groups (not all people, but certainly there are enough to warrant a discussion of this nature). My frustration is that there is a loudness to people who identify politically which is not compatible with 'lack of thinking for one's self'. At the very least, just keep your eyes open (ears open) for this in future.

POINT 5:
Also, a small comment to address a point you made about the virtue of calling someone racist. If you're in the business of disagreeing with minor details, I would disagree that calling someONE racist is not actually righteous but rather calling their argument racist is better. The former serves to demonise someone and facilitates a culture of censorship. The latter is calmer and more accurate. Also - what is the definition of "racism" or "racist"? If it has to do with beliefs, then do label someone a "racist" implies you have knowledge of the inner workings of their mind. Clearly this is unscientific. Labelling an argument as racist and then showing how the accused argument meets the definition of racist is (a) more accurate and (b) more condusive to open discussion. I understand that calling someone racist is firmly imprinted in our current culture so my argument on this point might be met with intuitive resistance at first, but I can think of a few times throughout history when popular culture was later reviewed and found to not have been completely right.


I'm out of time, and can't address everything you written this time. But I think point 4 is one of our core disagreements. Would be good to hear your thoughts on that.
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18-04-2014, 07:33 AM
RE: Why choose between Left or Right?
Here in the Australian state of New South Wales, recently a corrupt Labor (Democratic) Govt was voted out and a Liberal (Republican) Govt voted in.

Last week the Liberal Premier resigned in disgrace over corruption allegations proven true.

Two sides of the same coin.

NOTE: Member, Tomasia uses this site to slander other individuals. He then later proclaims it a joke, but not in public.
I will call him a liar and a dog here and now.
Banjo.
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18-04-2014, 09:31 AM
RE: Why choose between Left or Right?
(18-04-2014 06:25 AM)Ewok Wrote:  POINT 1:
First off, it makes sense to me to discuss big picture issues at the beginning of a discussion or debate and only after core disagreements are properly crystallised, then a more zoomed in analysis of the details works. Whilst there is no rule governing the structure of debates, this seems to me to be a generally more efficient method because it; (1) minimises the chance a respondent will dispute a detail which he / she has actually taken out of context; (2) gives the respondent a better understanding of the original poster's paradigm and (3) makes for a friendlier discussion as defences are inevitably lowered when paradigms are better understood by both parties.

You jumped straight in with the microscope and disputed details within my original post before gaining an understanding of my paradigm. I found that this approach led to you misinterpreting the point I was making and you were often left having to caricature my argument by joining the dots with words I never said. It would have been better to ask what I mean by point X and tell me how it is coming across. I would then be able to elaborate and either confirm or disconfirm your understanding of my point.

Your "paradigm" is theoretically sound and I literally acknowledged that. So there's that.

You said all political identifiers were potentially problematic inasmuch as people choose identity over individuality. Indeed, I freely granted that this does happen, and that it can be bad, but I disagreed with your incredibly overstated OP as to the extent that this is either common or always bad.

I caricatured your statements to highlight how silly I thought they were. I was not disputing "microscopic" details. In no way did I misunderstand or misinterpret what you originally said; I just happen to think it quite hyperbolic.

(18-04-2014 06:25 AM)Ewok Wrote:  POINT 2:
I agree that labels can be useful, however, I would hesitate to agree with your absolute assertion that political labels are "incredibly useful". There are many times when they do more harm than good because they bring with them a stigma that has the potential to taint one's judgement.

Yes, some times and to some people. Those associations are social and learned. They are not innate. They are tractable.
(you could be very tedious and pedantic and say that all language is learned, but that's a very useless thing to say in this context)

I call such classification incredibly useful so far as it is inevitable. If a broad group of people is able to be divided into coherent subgroups, well, shucks, but there are going to be words for that.

(18-04-2014 06:25 AM)Ewok Wrote:  In fact this is not a phenomenon which exclusive to political labels. Any type of social label has the potential to taint one's judgement. Consider whether the label "black male" would help or hinder someone applying for a babysitting job. The point here is there are times when labels do more harm than good, in any sphere, and it seems to me that this should give us pause before we identify as "left" or "right" or any other political label.

Referring to a human being who is both A) male and B) dark-skinned as a "black male" is an entirely neutral statement (and, indeed, trivial). Whatever association that might have is incumbent on the listener.

Those times, as you say, are entirely dependent on the audience; it is obviously true that one should not use terminology one's entire audience will find troublesome. But I see no sense in abrogating use of a valid and widely-considered neutral term simply because some (few!) people have relevant prejudices or stigmatic associations. Or is it better to tailor one's language to accommodate the prejudices of others, even to the point of refraining from useful and fundamental terms?

I haven't disagreed with the theoretical basis of what you've said. But to go from something being possible to something being problematically common takes substantiation. You've given none.
(I mean, if it's just your opinion, you could follow your own advice and be very clear as such Big Grin )

(18-04-2014 06:25 AM)Ewok Wrote:  POINT 3:
Comparing hypothetical religious people who love gay people but hate "gayness" with my criticism of left wing ideology is fundamentally asymmetrical. "Gayness" is not a set of beliefs, culture or political standings. Criticism of "gayness" is symmetrical with criticism of skin colour, not with criticism of ideology.

That wasn't the point.

You don't get to slag off on a hypothetical group of people as innately intellectually deficient and then say no, you've got no possible issue with group members (especially when it must be that they've chosen that identity). That's just not consistent.

(18-04-2014 06:25 AM)Ewok Wrote:  POINT 4:
Our core disagreement is one of paradigm. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem to feel that people converge over political and moral standings (among other things) and the label comes afterwards. The label is handy way to verbally group likeminded people under a common term...

Yes. I figured that was simple enough as a default.

(18-04-2014 06:25 AM)Ewok Wrote:  I agree with this...

Well, but your OP disagrees.

(18-04-2014 06:25 AM)Ewok Wrote:  ... however, I don't think it ends there. This situation may very well be the cause which led to labels like left and right but I don't think this process is a perfect system.

And, indeed, I never said it was a perfect system.

(18-04-2014 06:25 AM)Ewok Wrote:  There come in to play other factors which lead (in my opinion) to people dropping their thinking rights. Consider 'social pressure' as just one example. The social pressure from other members of the in-group clearly can lead to conformity - especially with more vulnerable people or younger minds... So whilst there may be an organic system which starts with a need for the usefulness of a political label, the process is clearly capable of continuing and deviating from this equilibrium.

Remember the part where I literally and explicitly acknowledged that?

(18-04-2014 06:25 AM)Ewok Wrote:  This, I believe is at the core of our disagreement. You take issue when I use words like "subscribe to a political ideology". I see where you are coming from but I guess from where I'm standing, I see a lot of mindlessness from people in political groups (not all people, but certainly there are enough to warrant a discussion of this nature). My frustration is that there is a loudness to people who identify politically which is not compatible with 'lack of thinking for one's self'. At the very least, just keep your eyes open (ears open) for this in future.

No, it's a fair enough point, but I granted that.

Your OP and follow-up carried the impression that you think this is far more common than I do.

Once again: why? Why do you think so?

Because that is the part I don't buy.

(18-04-2014 06:25 AM)Ewok Wrote:  POINT 5:
Also, a small comment to address a point you made about the virtue of calling someone racist. If you're in the business of disagreeing with minor details...

That remains only your odd interpretation...

(18-04-2014 06:25 AM)Ewok Wrote:  ... I would disagree that calling someONE racist is not actually righteous...

I did not say it was righteous. What I actually, literally said was that public nonacceptance of such sentiments was good.

(your points on tone are well made regardless, but once again we see you doing exactly the same things you accuse me of doing Wink )

(18-04-2014 06:25 AM)Ewok Wrote:  ... but rather calling their argument racist is better. The former serves to demonise someone and facilitates a culture of censorship.

Yeah, you can't just assert that.

How does that facilitate a culture of censorship? Why? How does that serve to demonise someone? Why?

Or perhaps the social label merely has the potential to taint your judgement, as it were?

The difference between "it is bad to say such bad things" and "it is bad of you to say such bad things" is, I think, highly irrelevant in such a context.

(18-04-2014 06:25 AM)Ewok Wrote:  The latter is calmer and more accurate. Also - what is the definition of "racism" or "racist"? If it has to do with beliefs, then do label someone a "racist" implies you have knowledge of the inner workings of their mind. Clearly this is unscientific.

Uh... huh.

You will literally never have knowledge of the inner workings of someone else's mind.

You will only ever be able to form a judgement based on their actions.

Have you ever heard the expression,
"If it walks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck..."
Shy

(18-04-2014 06:25 AM)Ewok Wrote:  Labelling an argument as racist and then showing how the accused argument meets the definition of racist is (a) more accurate and (b) more condusive to open discussion.

Please let me know where I said otherwise.

You've invented a distinction I didn't make to argue against.

(18-04-2014 06:25 AM)Ewok Wrote:  I understand that calling someone racist is firmly imprinted in our current culture so my argument on this point might be met with intuitive resistance at first, but I can think of a few times throughout history when popular culture was later reviewed and found to not have been completely right.

Assuming resistance to your own claims is "intuitive" is just a dressed up way of repeated the ol' "smart people would agree; do you?"

Also, no shit culture evolves.
Tongue

(18-04-2014 06:25 AM)Ewok Wrote:  I'm out of time, and can't address everything you written this time. But I think point 4 is one of our core disagreements. Would be good to hear your thoughts on that.

'member that such as? I left you with last time?

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18-04-2014, 02:19 PM
RE: Why choose between Left or Right?
Our key point of difference seems to be that you don't feel that the pitfalls of political labels is common or worth discussion and I do.

(18-04-2014 09:31 AM)cjlr Wrote:  I call such classification incredibly useful so far as it is inevitable. If a broad group of people is able to be divided into coherent subgroups, well, shucks, but there are going to be words for that.

The inevitability of labels is not an argument against their potential stumbling blocks. A political label may come about out of necessity but this doesn't mean it doesn't come with baggage that we should be aware of. In the context of political labels, the danger I describe is its affects on homogenising its members. From your point of view, this is not so common. From my point of view, it is. Consider Nazi Germany. Was it just coincidence that a large number of anti-Semitics happened to converge at the same time in the same country? I am not suggesting that the label "Nazi" was solely responsible for this result, but clearly it facilitated a platform for propaganda to be spread in the given context Germany found itself in after WW1.

(18-04-2014 09:31 AM)cjlr Wrote:  Referring to a human being who is both A) male and B) dark-skinned as a "black male" is an entirely neutral statement (and, indeed, trivial). Whatever association that might have is incumbent on the listener.

Those times, as you say, are entirely dependent on the audience; it is obviously true that one should not use terminology one's entire audience will find troublesome. But I see no sense in abrogating use of a valid and widely-considered neutral term simply because some (few!) people have relevant prejudices or stigmatic associations. Or is it better to tailor one's language to accommodate the prejudices of others, even to the point of refraining from useful and fundamental terms?

My point in using the "black male" example was simply to counter your assertion that labels are incredibly useful by highlighting an example when they demonstrate they are not a perfect system. One kink in the armour should be enough for us to be wary of labels of any kind.

(18-04-2014 09:31 AM)cjlr Wrote:  I haven't disagreed with the theoretical basis of what you've said. But to go from something being possible to something being problematically common takes substantiation. You've given none.
(I mean, if it's just your opinion, you could follow your own advice and be very clear as such Big Grin )

Surely you are not asking me to quantify social commentary on something as conceptual and subtle as the pitfalls of political labels? Like I said, our disagreement is one of paradigm. From where I'm standing, this phenomenon is common enough to warrant discussion. From where you're standing, you have made it clear that it is not. Point taken. If you are feeding back that it is not too common from your point of view, I will consider that potentially i am overplaying the problem in my mind, however, I must caveat that by reminding you of the all too common problems we have had throughout history of united political groups whose intellectual property becomes seemingly homogenous.

(18-04-2014 09:31 AM)cjlr Wrote:  That wasn't the point.

You don't get to slag off on a hypothetical group of people as innately intellectually deficient and then say no, you've got no possible issue with group members (especially when it must be that they've chosen that identity). That's just not consistent.

1) I didn't say anyone was innately intellectually deficient
2) I was personifying left wing philosophy with a caricature which reflects my experience with it. However, your point is taken. I should have made that much more clear in my OP.


(18-04-2014 06:25 AM)Ewok Wrote:  ... but rather calling their argument racist is better. The former serves to demonise someone and facilitates a culture of censorship.
(18-04-2014 09:31 AM)cjlr Wrote:  Yeah, you can't just assert that.

How does that facilitate a culture of censorship? Why? How does that serve to demonise someone? Why?

Or perhaps the social label merely has the potential to taint your judgement, as it were?

The difference between "it is bad to say such bad things" and "it is bad of you to say such bad things" is, I think, highly irrelevant in such a context.

Calling someONE racist after they've made an argument which YOU* deem to be racist is to demonise that person. It assumes you have the authority on who is and who isn't racist and will immediately put defenses up. Worse still, if it becomes a cultural habit (which indeed it seems to have become), then some people will actually become scared to voice a point (even a potentially valuable point). This is how it can create a culture of censorship. It seems to me to be calmer and more accurate to tell someone you find their argument racist and then show how it meets the definition of racsim. To call someone a racist implies that they embody the DNA of a racist based on one argument.

* The "You" quoted above does not refer to you. It refers to anyone.

(18-04-2014 09:31 AM)cjlr Wrote:  'member that such as? I left you with last time?

Answered above.
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18-04-2014, 10:48 PM
RE: Why choose between Left or Right?
(18-04-2014 02:19 PM)Ewok Wrote:  Our key point of difference seems to be that you don't feel that the pitfalls of political labels is common or worth discussion and I do.

No, the problem is you asserting the existence of a phantasmal "problem" and not substantiating it...

Because the part where you said "choosing conformity over self-reflection is bad" is the part I wholeheartedly agreed with. The part where you said that was endemic, not so much.

(18-04-2014 02:19 PM)Ewok Wrote:  The inevitability of labels is not an argument against their potential stumbling blocks.

Indeed, and I didn't use it as such.

(18-04-2014 02:19 PM)Ewok Wrote:  A political label may come about out of necessity but this doesn't mean it doesn't come with baggage that we should be aware of. In the context of political labels, the danger I describe is its affects on homogenising its members. From your point of view, this is not so common. From my point of view, it is. Consider Nazi Germany.

Yes. One example from 80 years ago makes it "common".

(18-04-2014 02:19 PM)Ewok Wrote:  Was it just coincidence that a large number of anti-Semitics happened to converge at the same time in the same country?

Uh, they didn't "converge", they already existed.

That certain of them eventually managed to seize control of state organs has pretty much nothing to do with that.

(18-04-2014 02:19 PM)Ewok Wrote:  I am not suggesting that the label "Nazi" was solely responsible for this result...

Good, because that would be insane!

(18-04-2014 02:19 PM)Ewok Wrote:  ... but clearly it facilitated a platform for propaganda to be spread in the given context Germany found itself in after WW1.

I can't tell what point, if any, you're trying to make here.

(18-04-2014 02:19 PM)Ewok Wrote:  My point in using the "black male" example was simply to counter your assertion that labels are incredibly useful by highlighting an example when they demonstrate they are not a perfect system.

But that's staggeringly irrelevant. Who ever claimed "perfection" was necessary or possible? Certainly not me.

Nothing is perfect. So there's that.

(18-04-2014 02:19 PM)Ewok Wrote:  One kink in the armour should be enough for us to be wary of labels of any kind.

Yeah, I'm going to go ahead and say that the fact that words like "black" or "blond" exist is not a problem.

But I'd be fascinated to know what your alternative would be.

(18-04-2014 02:19 PM)Ewok Wrote:  
(18-04-2014 09:31 AM)cjlr Wrote:  I haven't disagreed with the theoretical basis of what you've said. But to go from something being possible to something being problematically common takes substantiation. You've given none.
(I mean, if it's just your opinion, you could follow your own advice and be very clear as such Big Grin )

Surely you are not asking me to quantify social commentary on something as conceptual and subtle as the pitfalls of political labels? Like I said, our disagreement is one of paradigm.

That wasn't true last time you said it, and it hasn't become true in the meantime.
(is it just more convenient to say?)

(18-04-2014 02:19 PM)Ewok Wrote:  From where I'm standing, this phenomenon is common enough to warrant discussion. From where you're standing, you have made it clear that it is not. Point taken. If you are feeding back that it is not too common from your point of view, I will consider that potentially i am overplaying the problem in my mind, however, I must caveat that by reminding you of the all too common problems we have had throughout history of united political groups whose intellectual property becomes seemingly homogenous.

Uh, no.

It's the part where you stuck in weasel words like "all-too-common" and "frequent" that made me take pause. That's what I'm asking you to justify.

(18-04-2014 02:19 PM)Ewok Wrote:  1) I didn't say anyone was innately intellectually deficient

Dodgy
(17-04-2014 07:40 AM)Ewok Wrote:  the intellectual-laziness inherent in the Left-wing's DNA...

(18-04-2014 02:19 PM)Ewok Wrote:  2) I was personifying left wing philosophy with a caricature which reflects my experience with it. However, your point is taken. I should have made that much more clear in my OP.

Okay.

(18-04-2014 02:19 PM)Ewok Wrote:  
(18-04-2014 06:25 AM)Ewok Wrote:  ... but rather calling their argument racist is better. The former serves to demonise someone and facilitates a culture of censorship.
(18-04-2014 09:31 AM)cjlr Wrote:  Yeah, you can't just assert that.

How does that facilitate a culture of censorship? Why? How does that serve to demonise someone? Why?

Or perhaps the social label merely has the potential to taint your judgement, as it were?

The difference between "it is bad to say such bad things" and "it is bad of you to say such bad things" is, I think, highly irrelevant in such a context.

Calling someONE racist after they've made an argument which YOU* deem to be racist is to demonise that person.

No, that's a hilariously unjustifiable claim. That's pretending you can read someone else's mind.

(18-04-2014 02:19 PM)Ewok Wrote:  It assumes you have the authority on who is and who isn't racist...

Um, yes. We all have that authority. It's called judging their actions so far as we are aware of them. That's all we ever have.

(18-04-2014 02:19 PM)Ewok Wrote:  ... and will immediately put defenses up.

Because the prevailing cultural backdrop is one in which racism is bad.

I'd at least assume you agree that that's a good attitude, right?

(18-04-2014 02:19 PM)Ewok Wrote:  Worse still, if it becomes a cultural habit (which indeed it seems to have become), then some people will actually become scared to voice a point (even a potentially valuable point). This is how it can create a culture of censorship. It seems to me to be calmer and more accurate to tell someone you find their argument racist and then show how it meets the definition of racism.

Oh, you mean, like I literally said?
(17-04-2014 08:40 AM)cjlr Wrote:  f people interpret what [[i]one is] saying as racist, [one] should probably think of a better way to phrase it.

Quote:To call someone a racist implies that they embody the DNA of a racist based on one argument.

You might assume as much, but that doesn't mean that's actually what other people mean.

(18-04-2014 02:19 PM)Ewok Wrote:  
(18-04-2014 09:31 AM)cjlr Wrote:  'member that such as? I left you with last time?

Answered above.

Yeah. You actually didn't. At all. Do you have any reason to think this happens much?

So far you've not provided any such justification. Which leads me, very naturally, to question the soundness of such a claim...

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19-04-2014, 03:49 AM
RE: Why choose between Left or Right?
You seem to have backslid into an unnecessarily defensive mode and your post has come across as quite aggressive. You have again put words in my mouth which I didn't use and again even gone to the extent of accessorising them with quotation marks.

(18-04-2014 10:48 PM)cjlr Wrote:  
(18-04-2014 02:19 PM)Ewok Wrote:  Our key point of difference seems to be that you don't feel that the pitfalls of political labels is common or worth discussion and I do.

No, the problem is you asserting the existence of a phantasmal "problem" and not substantiating it...

Because the part where you said "choosing conformity over self-reflection is bad" is the part I wholeheartedly agreed with. The part where you said that was endemic, not so much.

Seems to be an unnecessarily aggressive response to me. You seem to have missed the several parts of my previous response where I wrote that we differ on point of view. From my point of view, this problem seems to me to be quite common. I even went as far as saying I have acknowledged your point of view that it is not so common from where you're standing. However, on a subject as niche and conceptual as this, I do hope you are not asking me to provide you with quantitative data or a study of some sort. How else can I substantiate it, other than telling you that it reflects my experience? My post is merely an opinion piece, hence the repeated use of terms like "it seems to me".

Also - you have left your neck on the chopping block by quoting me with words I simply never used: "Choosing conformity over self-reflection is bad"... The part where I said that? Where? Whether or not that roughly reflects my point, it is still very bad practice to quote someone with words they didn't use. To do so, is to give the devil, the details in which he can hide. You must surely know this much?


(18-04-2014 10:48 PM)cjlr Wrote:  Yes. One example from 80 years ago makes it "common".

This is just a clear-as-day strawman. I gave one example and you have now created a strawman that this one example is the basis of my belief that the problem is common. How many historical examples must I provide you with then? Surely you must know that examples are used in discussion to illustrate a principle or point?


(18-04-2014 10:48 PM)cjlr Wrote:  Uh, they didn't "converge", they already existed.

"they already existed" did they? That's quite an assertion and this is not a "point of view" type claim. Do you care to justify how you know this?


(18-04-2014 02:19 PM)Ewok Wrote:  ... but clearly it facilitated a platform for propaganda to be spread in the given context Germany found itself in after WW1.
(18-04-2014 10:48 PM)cjlr Wrote:  I can't tell what point, if any, you're trying to make here.

My point is that the label couldn't have come after the fact in this case.

(18-04-2014 02:19 PM)Ewok Wrote:  My point in using the "black male" example was simply to counter your assertion that labels are incredibly useful by highlighting an example when they demonstrate they are not a perfect system.

(18-04-2014 10:48 PM)cjlr Wrote:  But that's staggeringly irrelevant. Who ever claimed "perfection" was necessary or possible? Certainly not me.

Nothing is perfect. So there's that.

Again, your response is emotional and aggressive. Why use the word "staggeringly"?

(18-04-2014 02:19 PM)Ewok Wrote:  One kink in the armour should be enough for us to be wary of labels of any kind.

Yeah, I'm going to go ahead and say that the fact that words like "black" or "blond" exist is not a problem.

But I'd be fascinated to know what your alternative would be.
[/quote]

You have, again, missed the point. Labels like "black" or "blonde" exist and are necessarily useful... but any label can carry with it a potential stumbling block in a given context. Whether that stumbling block is incumbent on the audience or members of the in-group is not the issue. My point is that the observer should simply be aware of their potential pitfalls. I made this point, don't forget, in counter to your absolute assert that political labels are "incredibly useful" full stop. It seems to me better to caveat such an assertion with a disclaimer along the lines of "although they can be potentially stigmatic etc".


(18-04-2014 02:19 PM)Ewok Wrote:  Surely you are not asking me to quantify social commentary on something as conceptual and subtle as the pitfalls of political labels? Like I said, our disagreement is one of paradigm.

(18-04-2014 10:48 PM)cjlr Wrote:  That wasn't true last time you said it, and it hasn't become true in the meantime.
(is it just more convenient to say?)

Well it simply is. Can you describe to me the studies, data or analyses I must provide you with? What we have been discussing is clearly nuanced and conceptual. The best we can do in this situation is substantiate our assertions with our own experience. All I can do is tell you that from my point of view the problem seems to be common. Not only that, but I acknowledged that you don't agree and have taken that feedback into account. It is, of course, very possible that I have overplayed the problem in my mind and I am intellectually honest enough to grant this much. However, it is also possible that the problem is more common than you think and you simply haven't noticed it.

(18-04-2014 10:48 PM)cjlr Wrote:  Uh, no.

It's the part where you stuck in weasel words like "all-too-common" and "frequent" that made me take pause. That's what I'm asking you to justify.

Aggressive terms like "weasel words" don't do you any favours if I'm honest. There simply isn't any need to try and belittle the other argument. It seems to me better to try and understand where the other person is coming from.

(18-04-2014 02:19 PM)Ewok Wrote:  1) I didn't say anyone was innately intellectually deficient
Dodgy
(17-04-2014 07:40 AM)Ewok Wrote:  the intellectual-laziness inherent in the Left-wing's DNA...

Well you've made this one too easy... "Intellectual laziness" (my words) is distinct from "Innately intellectually deficient" (your words). The former says more about someone's reluctance to expend intellectual energy, whereas the latter says that someone has been born with limitations to what they are intellectually capable of... This is another example of where you have tried to strawman my arguments.



(18-04-2014 02:19 PM)Ewok Wrote:  Calling someONE racist after they've made an argument which YOU* deem to be racist is to demonise that person.
(18-04-2014 10:48 PM)cjlr Wrote:  No, that's a hilariously unjustifiable claim. That's pretending you can read someone else's mind.

How is that pretending you can read someone else's mind? In fact, the opposite is true - the person who is pretending they can read someone else's mind is the person who goes around accusing others of being racists. How can the accuser possibly know what beliefs others hold?


(18-04-2014 02:19 PM)Ewok Wrote:  It assumes you have the authority on who is and who isn't racist...
(18-04-2014 10:48 PM)cjlr Wrote:  Um, yes. We all have that authority. It's called judging their actions so far as we are aware of them. That's all we ever have.

Exactly. And I am flagging this as an aspect of our culture I'm not overly keen on. Pointing a finger at someONE and saying "You are a racist" is (I find) aggressive and inaccurate. If someone has made a racist argument or come to a conclusion on the back of a racist premise, it would be better to show them how their argument is racist and encourage to recalibrate their thought process. A culture of guiding people out of racism through open and honest discussion seems to me better than the finger pointing, demonising culture we have created for ourselves currently.

To better illustrate where I'm coming from, here is an example of what I have personally observed; I have seen (on numerous occasions) someone criticise Islam only to be met with angry audiences yelling and chanting the word "Racist" in response. Clearly, this is wrong. What race is Islam? The audience feels morally justified in demonising someone when actually he / she was criticising an ideology, not a race of people. If it were culturally frowned upon to demonise someone instead of accusing their argument of being racist and thereby facilitating a response, we would have a more open and honest discourse.

(18-04-2014 02:19 PM)Ewok Wrote:  ... and will immediately put defenses up.

(18-04-2014 10:48 PM)cjlr Wrote:  Because the prevailing cultural backdrop is one in which racism is bad.

I'd at least assume you agree that that's a good attitude, right?

You have missed the point. When I said it will put defenses up, I was referring to the person who is being demonised. Caslling somONE "racist" will put their defenses up rather than facilitate an open discussion.

Also - you would be right to assume that I agree that racism is bad. I sincerely hope you are not trying to raise the question of whether I think racism is good. That would be unnecessary. We should surely be able to discuss issues of this nature without having to resort to even subtle smear campaigns.


(18-04-2014 02:19 PM)Ewok Wrote:  Worse still, if it becomes a cultural habit (which indeed it seems to have become), then some people will actually become scared to voice a point (even a potentially valuable point). This is how it can create a culture of censorship. It seems to me to be calmer and more accurate to tell someone you find their argument racist and then show how it meets the definition of racism.

Oh, you mean, like I literally said?
(17-04-2014 08:40 AM)cjlr Wrote:  f people interpret what [[i]one is] saying as racist, [one] should probably think of a better way to phrase it.

Except that isn't what you "literally" said is it? Not only have you changed words is your quote but your quote simply isn't consistent with mine. Let me remind you of the order of play here:

1) I assert that the current culture of demonising people by calling them racist (rather than their arguments) can lead to a culture of censorship.

2) You respond by telling me I can't simply assert that and I need to substantiate it.

3) I elaborate with the above argument.

4) You respond with "Oh, you mean, like I literally said?"



(18-04-2014 02:19 PM)Ewok Wrote:  Answered above.
(18-04-2014 10:48 PM)cjlr Wrote:  Yeah. You actually didn't. At all. Do you have any reason to think this happens much?

So far you've not provided any such justification. Which leads me, very naturally, to question the soundness of such a claim...

Yeah I actually did. You either didn't read my answer or weren't happy with it. Either way, you are incorrect in saying "You actually didn't. At all.".

One more time... My justification on something as nuanced and conceptual as the frequency of the pitfalls of political labels is my own experience. Hence I have written many times that our disagreement is one of paradigm. From my point of view this is common. From your point of view, it is not. I have acknowledged your feedback and will even go as far as considering it. perhaps you could go as far as considering someone else's point of view too? Note, the incorrect use of question mark in that last sentence was intentional.
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19-04-2014, 09:00 AM (This post was last modified: 19-04-2014 09:18 AM by Mat0816.)
RE: Why choose between Left or Right?
Most people choose between "left" and "right" because they are the candidate/party that most closely fits their ideological beliefs about what's best for society. I know because that's how I tend to vote. When I see more commonalities between the "left" candidate and the "right" candidate, I go looking for the third party candidate I more closely align with. But when I see extreme differences, and cannot personaly abide the possibility of a specific candidate, then I'll come back to whichever of the 2 parties I have the least problem with. I research the issues closely, but I do tend to agree that voter apathy and disinterest in knowing the issues is a huge problem. But you can't make people want to learn. You can only offer them the opportunity.

ETA: I'm guessing that in the US, not a lot of voters know that any 3rd party exists, based on the number of people who ask "who's that" when I tell them that a candidate from a 3rd party more closely aligns with what they've just expressed to me is their problem with either the D or R party. I find that many republicans, for instance, are unaware that there are more "traditionally" republican candidates than those promoted by the RNC, and some don't give a hoot about social issues. Conversely, there are candidates so far left that conservatives who call Obama a progressive would have their minds blown if they knew these guys/gals existed.
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19-04-2014, 09:59 AM
RE: Why choose between Left or Right?
This thread = tl;dr

But I'm just gonna assume cjlr is right on this one, he often is.
So, what cjlr said.

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