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gregory kalian

White Supremacist Protest Violence

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1 hour ago, New Buddha said:

Don,

When Trump was in Poland awhile back he gave a speech about national sovereignty and the importance of Western values - and he was roundly condemned by the Left and the MSM as giving a "racist" speech.

The Left, under Obama, has so thoroughly embraced identity politics that the ideas of Locke, Paine, Jefferson, Rand, etc. are now seen as being "white" ideas.  If you adhere to them, then you are a de facto racist.

I cannot stand the turn the left has taken towards identity politics. It sickens me. Yet Trump is not the answer.

1 hour ago, New Buddha said:

There is nothing that Trump can say that the MSM and the far-Left won't interpret as being racists, Islamaphobic, anti-gay/lesbian/transgender/Mexican, etc., etc., etc.

I'm sure you're right. But drawing the scorn of the left does not mean that Trump is virtuous or praiseworthy. It is not alone because the left calls him names that the alt-right is drawn to him.

54 minutes ago, New Buddha said:

Trump is enforcing the US immigration laws and court orders - nothing more.  This is exactly what the Executive Branch is tasked with doing.  I'm perfectly willing to discuss the value of completely wide-open borders, but until Congress changes the laws, there is nothing wrong with what he is doing.

With all due respect, I think this is a naive view (and perhaps intentionally so). The President absolutely sets the agenda for this kind of enforcement.

So far as I know, marijuana is still illegal federally. It would be within the legal purview of the Executive to order a crackdown against marijuana in those states which have "legalized" it. But to do so would not be some morally neutral (let alone positive) use of his authority; it would be a strike against liberty.

The same is true with immigration enforcement. Trump's prioritizing of this sort of thing speaks to his personal views and his political platform. This is, in part, why it matters who sits in the White House -- they are not simply disinterested executives carrying out the laws. There is justice (and injustice) in the execution of law as well as in its legislation.

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1 hour ago, Grames said:

"But Grames you don't know that they are trespassers and saboteurs".  Yes I do because evading this country's means of lawfully admitting immigrants makes them criminals trespassers and deliberately dodging the naturalization process and the oath of allegiance makes them presumed not-loyal to the present government/the Constitution.   No one knows if they are loyal to any government at all (e.g. MS-13 gang members) but they aren't loyal to this one.

This makes me want to cry. So much for Land of the Free, Home of the Brave. We're talking about hardworking, honest people, more respectable than many Americans, who, with our "lawful" faucet drip of an immigration process, have no better hope of making a better life for themselves than bypassing the "process" altogether.
 

And who the hell cares about country "loyalty"?

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23 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

Not really - depends if you mean progressive liberals, or antifa. Antifa just hates capitalism and about class politics, like Communists. The whiteness doesn't matter a lot. To a progressive liberal, identity politics is primary, so whiteness and all that matters a lot. Anyway, sure, we should condemn those people for their collectivism and those who hate Western values in principle. Don's point, looks to me that Trump is helping neo-Nazis and all the more toxic elements of the alt-right with his weak initial response to the rally. Trump isn't any more blameless than Obama.

What do you think Unite the Right was about? Identity politics revolving around whiteness.

Eioul, please link to text of Trump's initial response and critique it.  Then compare and contrast to Obama's incessant race baiting of every single incident that had a racial angle in his initial responses.  You do the work, don't just parrot back to me what your television or twitter feed has told you to think.

Basically, Trump was tried and convicted as a racist sympathizer of white supremacists in the bubble of leftist media commentary for not agreeing vociferously enough with that media.  Its pure propaganda by the #Resist faction.

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On 8/14/2017 at 0:26 AM, gregory kalian said:

A federal judge ruled the "supremacists" had a right to protest.  It seems the reason violence occurred is because "counter protesters" gathered in an effort to block the lawful expression of free speech. Notwithstanding the murderous act of one individual who drove his vehicle into the crowd, is there a reasonable basis to blame the supremacists for the violence?

To respond to the OP, the answer is no.  The state of Virginia was derelict in its duty to protect the civil rights of all citizens.  Certain officials may have committed indictable offenses.  Eric Holder is no longer the Attorney General of the United States, so there is a possibility for justice to be done.

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36 minutes ago, Grames said:

Eioul, please link to text of Trump's initial response and critique it.  Then compare and contrast to Obama's incessant race baiting of every single incident that had a racial angle in his initial responses.  You do the work, don't just parrot back to me what your television or twitter feed has told you to think.

I'll do that tomorrow since it's late, I see what you mean though that they aren't equally blameworthy (and I'll see if I agree). But he's still blameworthy as far as being too easy on the alt-right in general, as Don seemed to suggest. I don't think you really answered how anyone said Trump is at fault except for just appearing weak (not the NYT, not even Colbert, both wildly anti-Trump). Trump is far less interesting than the white nationalism I see as a threat anyway, though.

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An aside on Nationalism.

Of course nationalism can be bad, but it doesn't have to be.  What makes nationalism bad is the inclusion of collectivist principles in the concept of the nation, such as altruism and racism.   Absent such poisoning factors nationalism is simply valuing the near and familiar more than the distant and alien.  That is rational and ordinary.  "Value is that which one acts to gain and/or keep", and action is easier or sometimes even only possible toward what is within the range of one's grasp.  Ought implies can, and cannot implies ought not.  What one cannot act toward one ought not value.   (Which is not to assert that every value must be a low hanging fruit, complex chains of means toward further means etc... toward an ultimate end are possible.)  Nationalism can also be based on discriminating between abstract political principles, such as preferring America's constitutional republic over a hereditary monarchy or a dictatorship of the proletariat.

Searching the Ayn Rand CD for the term "nationalism" turned up the usual denunciations of collectivism but it also turned up this acknowledgment of a nationalism as a positive value:

Ayn Rand from The Ayn Rand Column October 21, 1962

For decades, the "liberals" have regarded "nationalism" as an arch-evil of capitalism. They denounced national self-interest—they permitted no distinction between intelligent patriotism and blind, racist chauvinism, deliberately lumping them together—they smeared all opponents of internationalist doctrines as "reactionaries," "fascists" or "isolationists"—and they brought this country to the stage where expressions such as "America First" became terms of opprobrium.

"America First" is one of Trump's slogans.  If you think that automatically damns Trump as a blind, racist chauvinist, then think twice.

Edited by Grames
grammar

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What's the justification for keeping the monuments in question? If former communist and fascist countries can tear down monuments built during the rule of evil regimes then I don't see why the monuments in question can't be removed. Either that or have their values subverted, e.g. the Stalin Monument in Budapest. Why glorify a belligerent, treasonous, and slave-holding power? Commemorate the individuals who suffered under racial-collectivism instead.

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James M, yes.

It's my understanding that most of these statues across the South were built near the end of the nineteenth century, when surviving soldiers of the Confederacy were naturally dying. Support for those memorial projects then as now was in large measure continuing support for the fist of white supremacy.

Edited by Boydstun

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6 hours ago, Grames said:

An aside on Nationalism.

Of course nationalism can be bad, but it doesn't have to be.  What makes nationalism bad is the inclusion of collectivist principles in the concept of the nation, such as altruism and racism.   Absent such poisoning factors nationalism is simply valuing the near and familiar more than the distant and alien.  That is rational and ordinary.  "Value is that which one acts to gain and/or keep", and action is easier or sometimes even only possible toward what is within the range of one's grasp.  Ought implies can, and cannot implies ought not.  What one cannot act toward one ought not value.   (Which is not to assert that every value must be a low hanging fruit, complex chains of means toward further means etc... toward an ultimate end are possible.)  Nationalism can also be based on discriminating between abstract political principles, such as preferring America's constitutional republic over a hereditary monarchy or a dictatorship of the proletariat.

Searching the Ayn Rand CD for the term "nationalism" turned up the usual denunciations of collectivism but it also turned up this acknowledgment of a nationalism as a positive value:

Ayn Rand from The Ayn Rand Column October 21, 1962

For decades, the "liberals" have regarded "nationalism" as an arch-evil of capitalism. They denounced national self-interest—they permitted no distinction between intelligent patriotism and blind, racist chauvinism, deliberately lumping them together—they smeared all opponents of internationalist doctrines as "reactionaries," "fascists" or "isolationists"—and they brought this country to the stage where expressions such as "America First" became terms of opprobrium.

"America First" is one of Trump's slogans.  If you think that automatically damns Trump as a blind, racist chauvinist, then think twice.

Nobody said that. Of course "America First" is a great term and a great anti-imperialist political tradition. I was excited by his use of it, at first. But that is decidedly not the tradition Trump is placing himself in. 

Insofar as nationalism goes, if you are reducing it so simple preference of the near over the far, then you've sufficiently defanged it. But that is decidedly not what the Nazis and alt-right mean by it.

Mises often distinguished between more peaceful and liberal types of nationalism aiming at self-determination, localism, and subsidiarity, for example, and nationalism aiming protectionism, aggressive war, bigotry and race struggle, redistribution and socialism, and a new American ceasarism.

In short, the strain of nationalism embraced by the alt-right and neo-Nazis is not exactly the same thing Ayn Rand believed when speaking in support of the America First Comittee pre-WW2.

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5 hours ago, James M said:

What's the justification for keeping the monuments in question? If former communist and fascist countries can tear down monuments built during the rule of evil regimes then I don't see why the monuments in question can't be removed. Either that or have their values subverted, e.g. the Stalin Monument in Budapest. Why glorify a belligerent, treasonous, and slave-holding power? Commemorate the individuals who suffered under racial-collectivism instead.

Exactly, this incident was basically pitting Jim Crow era racist Democrats against Barack Obama era racist Democrats.  Because the Jim Crow era Democrats are no longer welcome in that party they think they must be Republicans but its ridiculous for Jim Crow era Democrats and their monuments to claim a rightful place in the party of Abraham Lincoln.  

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1 hour ago, 2046 said:

But maybe we can keep this thread for Charlottesville and discuss immigration in a different one?

Agreed. For those who do want a forum to talk about all of the things they like and dislike about Trump, maybe this thread would be better? (It also features an extensive discussion about immigration featuring many of the same members and issues as this one threatens to do.)

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6 hours ago, Boydstun said:

It's my understanding that most of these statues across the South were built near the end of the nineteenth century, when surviving soldiers of the Confederacy were naturally dying. Support for those memorial projects then as now was in large measure continuing support for the fist of white supremacy.

My first thought on this was there is nothing wrong with preserving history. You don't have to/shouldn't remove a piece of history just because it has negative connotations associated with it. I'd argue that's a reason to actually leave the statues up, so that history isn't repeated.

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At a monument at a museum downtown here at Lynchburg where we live. And then, if you actually go into the museum, you can actually learn something.

 

J & S.JPG

Edited by Boydstun

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39 minutes ago, EC said:

My first thought on this was there is nothing wrong with preserving history. You don't have to/shouldn't remove a piece of history just because it has negative connotations associated with it. I'd argue that's a reason to actually leave the statues up, so that history isn't repeated.

 

On 8/14/2017 at 0:23 PM, Boydstun said:

.

. . . I live in Lynchburg, about an hour south of Charlottesville. Around here I encourage people to go over to the Museum of the Confederacy just down the road, over at Appomattox. It was completed pretty recently, it is truly informative, and is accessible to folks of all sorts of educational levels or age. The old statues, such as this one of Lee, are unnecessary for historical education and awareness.

.

 

We should not erect statues of Andrew Jackson all along the Trail of Tears to ensure that his Indian Removal of the Five Civilized Tribes is not repeated. "Preserving history and not ignoring history" is the chant, but not the heart of the chanters and their forebears defending these public statues to leaders as leaders of the Confederacy---clinging to the old white supremacy is the core.

Edited by Boydstun

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54 minutes ago, EC said:

My first thought on this was there is nothing wrong with preserving history. You don't have to/shouldn't remove a piece of history just because it has negative connotations associated with it. I'd argue that's a reason to actually leave the statues up, so that history isn't repeated.

I agree that there is nothing wrong with preserving history, as such. We can have -- and ought to have -- appropriate museums and memorials to slavery and the Civil War so that, as you say, this kind of history is never repeated.

But we can recognize that there is a difference between "preserving history" (including via statues) for this valid purpose versus erecting such monuments to pay tribute to the Confederacy, or to lionize their leaders, or to continue to wage these old battles.

With respect to the statue which sparked the Charlottesville protest, I suppose you'll have to decide for yourself as to which category it belongs to:

Lee_Park,_Charlottesville,_VA.jpg

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1 hour ago, EC said:

My first thought on this was there is nothing wrong with preserving history. You don't have to/shouldn't remove a piece of history just because it has negative connotations associated with it. I'd argue that's a reason to actually leave the statues up, so that history isn't repeated.

As suggested in the Yaron Brook video that 2046 linked, the monuments are artwork, not just artifacts of history like finding Machu Pichu or Auschwitz. Even more, since the 1920s (when the Robert E. Lee statue was built) aren't so long ago, we know why these monuments were built: to glorify or celebrate Confederate soldiers (who fought in large part for the "right" to own slaves). They are not built to be reminders of history. They are not Civil War era artifacts even. Rather, they are state-sanctioned pieces of artwork that are intended to honor Confederates and to intimidate those who see Confederate soldiers as evil or unAmerican.

Don't forget that the most prominent defenders are literal Nazis and white supremacists. That they are the MOST worried is a sign of what these statues mean. The Unite the Right rally was using a symbol for racist ends to support a racist agenda. Those who attended, given that unification was the intent, endorsed or apologized for the supremacists who went. If there were those who attended and rejected, explicitly, the supremacists, I'd like to see it.

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Yes let's debate about the statue. I kinda don't get all this "let's dismantle all statues that represent bad things" mentality. The cultural left is making a concerted effort recently to attack all Confederate symbols, the flags and parks and monuments, and have them removed from public places. I am completely unsympathetic to the Confederacy and consider myself a left-libertarian, I was originally sympathetic to the Antifa side and got involved with them until I learned they were violent and hated free speech. 

But I still don't get it. I don't feel a huge need to take down Confederate monuments. I feel like that's their (southern whites?) history. I don't know, doesn't bother me, but I can't explain it. RE Lee doesn't even seem like all that bad of a guy to me. Maybe it's all the problems in American inner cities. Educational system is a failure and everyone knows it. Black illegitimacy and the black family is in shambles. Welfarism is rampant and black on black crime is shockingly high. Baltimore can't even get no one to murder during "nobody murder anyone" weekend. The drug war, welfare state, socialized housing, gentrification, is wrecking the inner city, but hey let's go tear down a statue.

If anything, I feel like the one semi-legitimate grievance the Nazis had was protesting "they're erasing our culture and heritage!" If they could've stuck to that instead of the whole killing all Jews thing, might've been better for them.

I get the argument that it represents bad things, but as many have pointed out, most historical statues do. I guess we have to pave over the Spanish steps because Roman culture was oppressive? We should dismantle the Parthenon and "put it in a musem"? We must destroy Native American artifacts too, Chinese, Muslim (good luck!) and generally side with ISIS in wiping out all historical culture that doesn't conform to current PC beliefs? Whose beliefs? Who decides? What about the statue of Lenin in Seattle? Who decides and on what basis? It's impossible.

Ah but intent. Most people want to draw a line and say historical representations are okay, but if the government intends it as honor, then we have to remove it. But I haven't seen anyone argue for that from foundational principles. I don't get it either.

Who can make an argument?

I'll try to start out with something like this:

1. From a strict libertarian point of view the problem would be solved by private property. All statues would be privately owned and displayed on private property and thus avoid conflicts over their use.

2. Since the above isn't going to happen and governments insist on funding public statues with public money, we can at least say that decisions over which statues should be displayed should be the decisions of local communities and councils, not outsiders. Non residents should get no say in the matter.

3. The city council of Charlottesville had voted to remove the statue. The vast majority of the protestors and counter protestors were outsiders.

4. Since the statue is public property and on a public park, the city council was wrong to deny a permit to protest the removal. Another issue private property would have solved. 

5. The park and the statue could have been placed on the market for an open bid. The proceeds then donated to a scholarship fund for promising young black students or entrepreneurs, for example. Or the city taxpayers could have been given direct ownership shares in the park as a publicly held corporation. The new owners as shareholders could then decide internally on what to do with it and would not be required to issue a permit or accommodate Nazis.

There were so many more creative ways of dealing with this. The market is capable of finding so many other mutually beneficial solutions, to demand one single government monopoly solution in every government statue case, as if the authoritarian left is going to go around and purge all the statues, a la ISIS, is stunting creativity and an intellectually lazy response.

 

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1 hour ago, 2046 said:

The cultural left is making a concerted effort recently to attack all Confederate symbols, the flags and parks and monuments, and have them removed from public places.

Insofar as those flags, parks and monuments are sympathetic to the Confederacy, and by extension to what the Confederacy stood for, I think in this case the "cultural left" has a point.

1 hour ago, 2046 said:

I am completely unsympathetic to the Confederacy and consider myself a left-libertarian, I was originally sympathetic to the Antifa side and got involved with them until I learned they were violent and hated free speech. 

But I still don't get it. I don't feel a huge need to take down Confederate monuments. I feel like that's their (southern whites?) history. I don't know, doesn't bother me, but I can't explain it.

All right. I think it's fine that monuments to the Confederacy don't bother you; but can you understand why they might bother others?

As to the idea that this is "southern whites' history," well, in a sense it is all of our history, is it not? I don't know that the Civil War belongs exclusively to the south, or more to southern whites than to southern blacks, for instance. I'm a west coaster, but I still consider the Civil War part of my heritage as an American. (But then, I consider all of history part of my heritage as a human being, so... I guess I'm suspect of one group "owning" some particular history, just as I am suspect of ideas of cultural appropriation, etc. Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto.)

Besides, if we were discussing, oh, erecting laudatory statues to Hitler, Goering, et al., in modern-day Germany, do you think it would excuse the project to say, "well, it's their history"?

We have lots of awful things in our (i.e. the world's) history. Lots of great things, too. But it says something about us which parts of our history we admire and aspire to (commemorating with a flag, park or monument, for instance) and which we condemn and repudiate.

1 hour ago, 2046 said:

RE Lee doesn't even seem like all that bad of a guy to me.

Let's say he wasn't. Regardless, that's not why that statue was erected. He stands as a representative of the Confederacy, which was a country created specifically to preserve the institution of actual human slavery (and for which Lee, "not that bad a guy," served). Statues like these went up in the 1920s, as Eiuol noted, as part of a rising tide of racism, which coincided with a resurgence in the KKK and etc. The timing (and intention) was not accidental.

And the majority of the people defending these statues and symbols today -- though they might sometimes claim otherwise -- do not do so out of some pure historical interest. If the Spanish Steps were, today, an ongoing source of inspiration for modern Romans seeking to oppress the Gauls and Moors and so forth, then I'd entertain an argument that they ought to be paved over. I wasn't there at the time, but I imagine that the Romans themselves would have been on board, in a sense; when Caligula was (rightly) assassinated, how many of his statues do you suppose survived the week? They understood the importance of symbolism.

Nazis and Confederates today (or however we want to term these groups, "neo-" whatevers, "alt-right," white nationalists, etc.) want to preserve these sorts of monuments because they have not given up the essential fight of the Confederacy. They are, as they always were, enemies of liberty and of the republic.

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2 hours ago, 2046 said:

 I was originally sympathetic to the Antifa side and got involved with them until I learned they were violent and hated free speech.

It's interesting you say that, I was originally sympathetic too. I thought it was more like being vocally militant against any fascistic inclination, Nazis especially. Then I learned that their self-defense was that the mere hateful statements was actual violence. It does have its appeal in the face of actually violent Nazis and fascists, but antifa gets wrong the function of free speech (in other words, they're anarcho-Communists). Although it 's also true no one I've seen does any good at defending free speech. White nationalists only defend it as a means to preserve "white culture", instead of arguing that its merit is that it hinders and combats those irrational voices.

I feel similar about the monuments. I don't feel like it is a pressing need to fix it. Even strategically, it fuels white nationalism. I'd opt to make philosophical cases against all of that nationalism. My case only extends to how this monument is government property. There is good reason to de-legitimize the statue.

The difference with Roman statues is one, the government that built them don't exist. Two, Roman statues were not erected for historical revisionism. People built them to somehow legitimize Confederate grievances, not really to say "hey, Robert E. Lee did some cool things". More like "Lee fought for us, may the south rise again". Often, things like the Partenon are so old we don't know why they were made. The symbolism is different. The institution to decide is the federal government, which can define whether its own monuments and states' monuments that represent that federal government's mission. Symbolism, here, is about the Confederacy. Local councils do not deserve a say, so any lawful measure is fine; these are not local symbols.

I do not want public monuments, so I can't offer a foundational principle. There is no legitimate principle for the government to establish official symbols. So, I like your market solution.

 

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On 8/16/2017 at 5:55 AM, New Buddha said:

Trump is enforcing the US immigration laws and court orders - nothing more.  This is exactly what the Executive Branch is tasked with doing.  I'm perfectly willing to discuss the value of completely wide-open borders, but until Congress changes the laws, there is nothing wrong with what he is doing.

I won't waste my time challenging this statement. It should be clear to every Objectivist why it's monstrous in its dogmatic dismissal of rationality and individual moral responsibility.

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It's been argued that Trump had much to do with this White Supremacist rally.  Well, he did not.  However, the fact that Trump has attracted lots of them leads me to believe that these demonstrators were empowered by Trump and what he represents.  And Trump shamefull did not openly denounce these hateful demonstrators and the hate message they openly communicate.

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One other thing- it is sad that Charlottesville, a city rich in American history and home to some of Thomas Jefferson's most significant achievements, was the target of this shameful demonstration.

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7 hours ago, Yes said:

It's been argued that Trump had much to do with this White Supremacist rally.  Well, he did not.  However, the fact that Trump has attracted lots of them leads me to believe that these demonstrators were empowered by Trump and what he represents.  And Trump shamefull did not openly denounce these hateful demonstrators and the hate message they openly communicate.

But he did.  The "problem" was that he did not take sides on this essentially leftist vs. leftist battle because he condemned both sides equally.

I suspect that merely because Trump is not black and not communist that some racists and fascists think that is inherently advantageous to them.  Trump can't do anything about that, nor should he be expected to apologize for being white and against communism.

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In a related incident Arrests Begin Following Durham Confederate Statue Toppling.

Taqiyah Thompson, the arrestee, is a member of the Workers World Party, a communist party faction.   This is all street theater.  There is no genuine groundswell to remove the statues that no one cares about, its fomented bullshit.

Edited by Grames
link fixed

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