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Everything posted by JJJJ

  1. Because he initiated force against me. Hence, I did not actually "have" that right. Just like the north koreans dont have property rights. They should have, but they dont. Your making it seem like everyone just somehow intrinsically "has" rights. Rights are not metaphysical. The point of rights in Objectivism is not: "We all automatically "have" rights" but instead "in order for men to live free together, these rights should be respected" My rights certainly depends on the fact whether they are upheld or not. The reason not to initiate force against another man is ethical, not political. The reason to advocate punishment of the initiation of force, is political. These are two very different things. The act of me murdering someone belongs in ethics, the act of punishing me for the murder belongs in politics. Hence, why Objectivist support 1) an objective government, 2) a government monopoly on the use of retaliatory force. Not in the same sense. Food is relevant for a man to survive, but not in any way relevant to whether a market is free or not. The enforcement of individual rights is a necessity in order for a market to be called free. If individual rights arent enforced, the market ceases to be free. If food isnt produced/purchased, then food isnt produced/purchased, byt it doesnt have any relevance on whether the market is free or not. You dont seem to understand the distinction, so i'll illustrate it to you: A football is a necessity for the sport football to be football. If no football(the ball) exists, the game football doesnt exist, and whatever those 22 guys running around a grassy field are doing, it is not playing football. The football is a necessity for the game football to be football. This is comparable to individual rights in relation to a free market. Now, the football players also have protective gear, skill, coaches, they exercise etc. but these arent necessities for football to be football. Even if naked, talentless, coachless seriously obese fatties are throwing a football around and adhere to the rules of the game, they are still playing football. It may not be good football, but its football, nevertheless. This is comparable to food/sustinence in relation to a free market. No im not, as there will be no objective arbiter to punish "private law agencies" that stone muslim women or who takes over other peoples "property"(that doesnt even really exist in anarcocapitalism) by force. That is what you are advocating. It did "work" before they were corpses. If everyone stopped eating by choice, it would have no bearing on whether the market is free or not. No, what makes the second market unfree is that the thief isnt punished. The whole point of my argument! Where? Where are the "rights" in North Korea? Find me an Objectivist, from ARI or otherwise, that says rights enforcement is not a necessity for rights to be rights. The reason i do not steal, murder etc. is because it is unethical, making me a second hander. Rights dont exist to "make" people moral, they exist to protect the moral from the initiators of force. --------- i just noticed that he said he was leaving the forum, so i wont adress the rest of his post. I spent some time writing this answer so i'll just post it anyway.
  2. You are mixing up two different things here. If someone murders me, he did not respect my right to life. If the government does not convict him, i did not have the right to life. If my right to life isnt being upheld, that means i do not have that right. I should have it, but i don't. Rights arent some intrinsic things that eveyone just automatically "haves". They have them, if they are upheld. And Objectivism advocates that they should be. Hence why we Objectivists support a system where the violations of these rights are condemned. Yes, everyone can choose to respect or disrespect rights, but in anarchocapitalim, the punishment varies based on whether the person has a huge private army to protect him or not. First of all, stop yelling "Strawman" in cases where it clearly doesnt belong. You have clearly shown that you do not understand that the free market is conceptually reliant on people's individual rights being respected and upheld, and instead propose a system where "individual rights" is whatever a seller and buyer decide it to be in the "free market". This interpretation makes a mockery of both the concept of individual rights, and the free market. The free market is not conceptually reliant on people having food to eat. Most people want to eat, thus they buy it or produce it, but food is not a necessity for a free market to be a free market, in the same sense as rights are. It would be highly immoral to not eat, but a free market could exist even if for some reason no one decided to buy food. They would obviously die pretty soon, but nevertheless, food is not a necessity for a free market. In the case of a free market without objective rights that are upheld, the situation is very different. A free market is not free, when the contracts the individuals make are not upheld. It is not that it is difficult to be in a free market with no individual rights, like in the case with food. It is impossible, as the concept of "free market" holds within it the protection and enforcement of individual rights. But right enforcement is not separate from rights. Rights are irrelevant without right enforcement. You cant say that rights are not part of the free market, but that enforcement is, as whatever the enforcement will be, that will be the de facto rights. If i set up an "enforcement" agency and sell my services to Ahmed and stone his wife for filing for a divorce, that means that his wife does not actually have a right to life, if I and Ahmed arent punished for our deeds by an objective court of law. She should have the right to life, but if it is not upheld, she does not have it. I was referring to things where two neighbors arbitrate their dispute over dog crap on the others lawn. In that case, both parties had agreed that the arbiters decision is valid, and the validity of this contract is upheld by the government courts if one tries to dispute it. If we "privatize" govenrment however, and allow a private agency to unilaterally go into a thiefs house and seize the stolen property, there is nothing that stops this agency from going into anyones house and steal property. It effectively makes the size of the gun the deciding factor between what goes, and what doesnt. There is no such right. It is anthitetical to objective individual rights, to claim that an individual should have the right to enforce whatever law he himself chooses on other people. Once again, you miss the difference between someone violating your rights(murder), and the government not protecting your rights(the goverment not convicting murderers). It is obvious that you chose murder as the example, as if you had chosen any other rights violation, like theft, your error would have been clear even to you. If someone steals from me, the thief has violated my rights. But the fact that the courts convict him of his crime, means that my rights are enforced. If the government doesnt convict the thief, then i do not have the right to property. I should have, but i dont. Yes it does, as whatever anyone thinks are rights, will be enforced by whomever willing to provide the service. It puts actual individual rights on the same level with whatever mystic pseudo-rights one can think of, as the violator does not get punished by an objective court of law, and instead gets or doesnt get punished by whomever who happens to take up the task. Once again. Rights enforcement precedes the market, as rights are meaningless without right enforcement. The fact that individual rights arent enforced by objective governments. But overall you missed my point: What makes current states different from anarchocapitalistic institutions. If we consider that Finland Inc. owns the land in Finland, with its customers(citizens) being members of Finland Inc., what can this customer do. He has the option of leaving Finland Inc. territory, for let's say Sweden Inc., but Sweden Inc. doesnt want to give the customer full membership(citizenship) until he has vacated 5 years in Sweden Inc. territory. There is no reason to oppose the high progressive taxation in Finland Inc. or Sweden Inc., because that is their right as property owners of Finland Inc. and Sweden Inc. Their customers have the rights that they decide to grant them, and as every dot of the planet is owned by these Inc.'s there is nowhere this disgruntled customer can leave to start his own kind of Inc, because the property owners of the different Inc's wont allow it. So how is this different from anarchocapitalism. What arguments do you have? Perhaps the one that you didnt choose to make a contract with USA Inc. or whatever country you are from, but considering the other Inc's arent allowing you to become a full blooded customer of theirs, this is a moot point.
  3. I thought that was pretty much assumed in this discussion, as the fact that she would have been out of her mind would have made this whole discussion pointless in the first place. Obviously, if we wanted to answer this question, we had to assume that she was, and you thought she was, in her right mind when she said it.
  4. What right would that be, that is not backed by anything, and that whomever can choose to either respect or disrespect with no objective and impartial punishment. You are not understanding where the concepts "rights" and "the free market" lie in the hierarchy, as you have inverted them as all anarchocapitalists do. The free market means nothing without an objective system of law that upholds your right to make contracts, own property, and live without the threat of force. Rights itself cannot be part of the "free market", and that is a contradiction in terms. Who is preventing private arbitrage? If two people both accept the private arbitrator as valid, there is nothing that prevents them from settling their disputes there. If we accept that "minarchy" means an objectivist government, then that is better, as as far as it functions objectively, it will guarantee everyones rights. Your system on the other hand doesnt guarantee anyones rights, and it puts objective rights on the same level as any pseudo-rights anyone can afford to "enforce". Yes, they are all part of the same concept: goods. Also, i wanted to ask you this: What makes the current world differ from anarchocapitalism? Why wouldnt the current state of affairs be consistant with anarchocapitalism?
  5. That doesnt change the fact that you should inform the estate lawyer. And if you happened to know the charity your grandmother wanted the money to go to, you should give them the money after it was given to you.
  6. As a clarification, "any and all force necessary to prevent the taking of your property", just so that it's not mistaken for the right to give "frontier justice" after you have prevented the threat.
  7. You seem to be one of the people(and there are Objectivists that do this as well) who completely discards psychology and self-esteem. And you commit a very common fallacy in the grandmother example: When deciding what to do to you shouldnt consider what the situation was before the situation changed(when your grandmother told you of her change of heart) when you thought you were getting the 5 mil honestly, and somehow rationalize that nothing has really changed, because that situation isnt available anyomre. What you should do, is consider what decision will be of most value, from here on. Your options being: a ) telling your estate lawyer the truth, or b ) lying/witholding information from your estate lawyer. The value lost in "a" is obviously the 5mil, and the value lost in "b" is your self-esteem and vice versa. It doesnt matter that you had the option of "take the 5 mil and keep your self-esteem" just a few minutes earlier. And how one could get value of unearned money is beyond me, when he for that exact same reason destroys his own self esteem. Living off an inheritance is psychologically tricky even when its earned fairly, and how one could completely discard the psychological effect of being a thief is beyond me. Because a thief you are, if you dont tell the lawyer. You have commited theft against the charity that your grandmother gave her money to. It doesnt matter that it wasnt yet in written form. By taking something that belonged to the charity, you are a thief, and thus a second hander, and no matter how "wisely" you spend your loot makes no difference. You seem to have the view that many "Objectivists" also have, that the reason not to steal is because you may get caught, and the reason not to murder is because you may get caught and others may feel free to murder you as well. These are not the reasons, while the psychological effect being a second hander is. It doesnt even matter whether you hate the charity the money would have gone to. It is not your money. And it doesnt matter one bit that she was about to give the money to you just a few minutes earlier. That situation doesnt exist anymore, and your actions shouldnt be compared against "that reality". Just like in the case of a hiker that cut his arm off after a boulder fell on it, the option of "keeping his arm and living" wasnt available anymore, and he correctly made the decision to give up the arm to gain a higher value, his life. In your grandmother example, the arm represents the 5mil, the hikers life represents your integrity and self-esteem, and the boulder represents the crippling effect on your self-esteem by stealing the 5mil. If we want to get all metaphorical: if you steal the 5mil, you will have a metaphorical boulder on your self-esteem for the rest of your life. Now, you can feel disgusted, disappointed, angry, betrayed etc. all you want about your grandmothers decision, if she just arbitrarily changes the will with no fault of your own, but that doesnt change the situation at all. It is still theft, no matter whether you admit it to yourself or not.
  8. You dont see any value to you that intelligent and moral people live productive lives in a free society instead of as savages in tribal hellholes? And before you answer, please remember that i said "if i had the extra wealth, and the extra time".
  9. The race classification is really different in America than it is here in Europe. I often hear americans talk about "middle-easterners" or "hispanics" as racial groups. Aren't "hispanics", if you mean people from latin America just a mixture of native americans, white people and black people? Thats what i've always thought. Also, it seems like many americans dont really have a good grasp of when and where the different racial groups in America and around the world originate from. A good example was when then-Indians pitcher, now with the Yankees CC Sabathia said in some interview complaining about the lack of black(US-americans) players in the majors: Well, to the non-baseball fans, this is what Jose Reyes looks like: The reason i mention this is not because most forums where this was discussed, people were not saying "what does he mean that Reyes isnt black", and instead "who on earth would assume that Reyes is black, he's hispanic" or something along those lines.
  10. What if Putzville, Alabama, a small town of 200 people, had just one hotel/lodging business. The owners would cut corners on infrastructure, and the quality of the hotel would be really sub-par. The rooms would be full of cockroaches, the building would creek like its about to collapse, the tap water would be full of dangerous bacteria and the toilets dont flush. They would charge 15 dollars a night, and no other business can enter the market because there are no property owners willing to sell. So, we put up with Hotel Putzville because its the only alternative, and Hotel Putzville knows it. That doesnt mean that the hotel completely gouges its customers and blatantly ignores hygiene issues or flaws in the buildings structural designs. It stops short of the point where customers seriously consider alternatives. I guess you can think of many alternatives to staying at Hotel Putzville if you have business to do in Putzville. - Staying at Niceville, Alabama in a nice hotel, located 40 miles from Putzville and making the commute to Putzville in the morning. - Sleep in your car - Staying up all night - considering whether going to Putzville really is worth the trouble etc. etc. Similarly, with your example: - taking the train - taking an airplane, or driving as close to the place you are going and then taking the plane - driving extra slow and carefully - considering whether going to the place you were going to really is worth the trouble etc. etc. Also, i wanted to point out: You have pretty much described any business. The reason a greyhound bus doesnt have airbags and life jackets for its passangers is because the customers are not going to change to a limo service because Greyhound doesnt offer these features. Hence, greyhound stops short of the point where customers seriously considers alternatives. The reason why the average Dodge Avenger isnt fitted with military grade armor, run-flat tires and an air cushion that makes it float on water is because the customers are not going to buy a military tank because the Dodge Avenger doesnt have these features. Hence, Dodge stops short of the point where customers seriously considers alternatives.
  11. Every time I read articles like this, I think of a reality show format I have myself thought would be enjoyable. It would go like this: Divide the people into two groups. Both groups, 50 people each, would move into different houses surrounded by 100 acres of land, and live there for a year. The one group would consist of gangbangers, people living on welfare and other types of "unprivileged" folk. The other group would consist of 50 Fortune 500 CEO's. The unprivileged group would move into a huge mansion with big screen tv's, jacuzzis etc, butlers, housekeepers, economic advisors, lawyers etc. while the CEO's would move into ten small deteriorating trailers without any help. The goal of the show whould be to accumulate the most wealth during the year, and the teams would every week go to a market where they would sell things they have created. The surrounding area would be rich with trees, plants, wildlife etc. and the shows organizers would every now and then leave "hidden treasures" to be found, that the teams could use. The "unprivileged" group couldnt use the "help" to actually create the wealth for them, but both teams could use outside help(carpenters, plumbers, butchers etc.) with the money they have made every week. Now i can guarantee you, that the CEO group would have 10000x times more wealth created during the year, while the "unprivileged" group would just stay in the mansion watching movies and trashing the place up. Because i hate it when people make such a big deal about what family someone was born into, or how "unprivileged" some people are and how the CEO's dont actually deserve their huge salaries. Too bad were never going to see this show on the air
  12. If i had the extra wealth needed, and had some extra time, a charity involving Africa I would endorse would be one that helps young, moral africans get scholarships into universities in the west, or helps them get visas and workpermits in the west or something like that. But all charities that involve you actually going into the countries feeding the poor randomly is immoral in my book, as it just legitimizes the dictators, as they dont have to ever bear the effects of their opressive rule.
  13. The thing you quoted was not in reference to him being a slave, an issue brought up after my post, but with the fact that it doesnt matter whether Jose has the right to sell cigars abroad in his own country. It was about your right to do business with whomever you please, and not about whether the one your doing business with has the right to do business with you in his own country.
  14. There is a difference between having a pre-written speech off the teleprompter, having gone over your speech beforehand and winging it. Also, there is a difference between "sounding rehearsed" and "having rehearsed". Yaron Brook didnt sound all that "regular" when he spoke, hence it sounding like he was selling something. Graphic tricks, unnatural choice of words, "sounding rehearsed" etc.
  15. Nice false dichotomy. I already gave you the alternative, and that wasnt "winging it": No, he isnt conning me, or trying to sell anything, hence my questioning why the format of the video was similar to that if he actually was. Once again, way besides the point. He wasnt trying to indoctrinate people, hence my questioning why the format of the video was similar to that if he actually was. But the cult thing wasnt my main beef with the video, it was just something that i thought instantly when i first saw the bright white background. There are a lot of people who have never heard anything but second-hand information about O'ism, therefore videos like these, that are clearly aimed to people who arent Objectivists, should ideally be of a different format. This may just be a personal pet peeve of mine, but i dislike it when videos that discuss really important topics are riddled with all kinds of "suggestive" graphical tricks and phrases like, "sound familiar?" and "everyone knows that...". Thank goodness that there wasnt any background music, that would have been the final straw. I dont know what last year has to do with anything, as the older of the two videos of the new style i complained about is just over 2 weeks old. ARI is great, and doing a great job. That is exactly why i brought this up, as i dont think this new video style is the way to build on that.
  16. ARI has posted these two videos on YouTube recently, with a new style: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6ilV2J8XnI...re=channel_page I dont really think that ideas as important as the ones being discussed, should be presented in a cheesy ad-like form like that. I dont know if this is just a personal opinion, but I usually get turned off really fast if i see "slick salesmen" type ads with shiny lights and rehearsed speeches because that gives the impression that what is being said isnt that important. I personally like better the style of sitting in a chair in front of the bookshelf, talking in a regular, but professional manner. Also, if there are people who have gotten second-hand information that O'ism is a cult, and those two videos are the first time he has heard/seen actual Objectivists talk, I dont think he's going to be that interested in finding out more. Im halfexpecting Yaron to invite everyone to the launching pad on top of the ARI building, preparing for our trip to planet Randia at the end of the first video . Obviously us who understand O'ism can get the actual message behind the presentation, but i dont think anyone else can
  17. Start a travel agency and start selling vacations to Cuba, or make a contract with Jose from Havana that you want to import his hand rolled cigars, and find out for yourself. It doesnt matter if Jose doesnt have rights in his own country, because you (should) have in yours.
  18. I was reading a free finnish daily newspaper that you get at the subway, and it had a short mention about something Obama had said in a speech that was directed to Arab leaders. I dont remember if the speech was in Turkey, or somewhere else. Anyway, translated from finnish, the article said, that Obama had said to Arab leaders that "...the situation in the Middle East is not entirely/completely Israel's fault". For the sake of everyone, i hope that something got lost in translation, because if he actually said that(implying that most or at least a whole lot of the situation in the Middle East is Israels fault), it must be one of the most f-ed up things any US president has ever said.
  19. Here he makes a common mistake, that i see many critics make. He is confusing "destructive action" with something that will result in instant destruction. The fact that i rob the occasional Mars-bar from the store is not going to kill me instantly on the spot, but that action is still destructive, as if humans "lived" that way consistantly, life would not be possible. Its like not understanding that hitting the ball wide on purpose in Tennis is detrimental to winning the game, just because you dont lose the game immediately after your first wide-on-purpose shot. Also, the psychological factors have to be remembered. I mean, your not going to find any happy massmurderers out there, no matter if they have been caught or are walking free.
  20. Also, one thing that sometimes gets forgotten, is that among all the countries in the world, the nordic countries, especially Denmark and Finland, have one of the freest economies in the world. The taxes and government spending of countries like Sweden always gets touted around in the US media, while never failing to mention that the actual difference with the US is not that big. Sure, if we compare modern Scandinavia vs. 19th century USA, the difference is startling, but the key difference with the late 20th century USA and modern Sweden is just the rhetoric politicians use, and with the Obama administration even that difference doesnt exist anymore. When looking at the Heritage foundations country rankings of economic freedom(that has its faults), you can find that Finland is ranked no.17 in the world, as one of the most free European countries. Their report echoes pretty much what i said in my earlier post. Finland's government is very good at the things it does well, respecting propert rights, avoiding corruption, respecting contracts and not making arbitrary incursions into the individuals lives. Here is the short report: Here is the full list: http://www.heritage.org/Index/Ranking.aspx
  21. As im from Finland i feel fairly confident about answering to this question. 1) Taxes, as for some reason many O'ists make it out to be, are not the holy grail of a capitalist country. There are many things that are far more important than whether a government taxes 10, 15 or 50 %. 2) Those things are: - Even though Finland has very many regulations, they are upheld consistantly. That means, if you have a contract in your hand, that says something, you can be assured that it will hold. Sure, there are many kinds of contracts you cant legally make, but the ones you can do, will be upheld. - Property rights. Even though property is taxed heavily, property rights are widely respected, by both the government and by private citizens. Just like in my last point: Once you have something written on paper, it will stand, and the courts, the police etc. wont arbitrarily just dismiss it. - Very, very, very, very low levels of corruption. Consistantly ranked no.1 in the world. This is pretty much the same thing as the last two, but you can rely on the government to do the things they "promise", even though the things they promise arent always perfect. 3) Free trade and open borders. One thing Finland has always welcomed. Finland rarely turns into protectionism, or closing borders. .....however, the things that make Finland even worse than the taxes, is the downright horrible labour laws. The main workers union, SAK, is as close to a government institution as it gets, and there is nothing a politician can do without the sanction of SAK. There is almost no freedom at the workplace, as you cant make individual contracts with employers, without following the gruesomely in-detail regulations on what you should get paid, how many hours you should work, how much the government collects in mandatory social security and retirement payments. No surprise, the salaries are always way above market levels, leading to the ones that get work, getting overworked, and the rest being unemployed. Finland has always had high unemployment, and if the government didnt cheat on the unemployment rates by leaving out clearly unemployed people that take part in all kinds of unefficient government work plans, our unemployment level would be constantly around 20%. The ones that have a job, are overworked and fear for their lives that they will lose their job, as getting a new one is really difficult. And then when they do lose their job, they blame capitalism But, to sum things up. Objectivists, should perhaps stop worrying about the taxes, and instead focusing one the rule of law, property rights and the absence of corruption when comparing different countries. It is of no use that you have low taxes, if you cant trust that the contracts you make are upheld. Sure, ceteris paribus, lower taxes are better than higher ones, obviously, but i always get a little annoyed when i see people praising some developing countries who simply lower taxes or tariffs, without focusing on bettering the rule of law in their country. edit: I wouldnt call Finland succesful, though, as this is not even close to being the best country to live in, if you want to make a happy, succesful life for yourself. The people in general are very melancholic, envious, un-social and pessimistic, and succesful people are really frowned upon here. Its not a place to be, if you want to be happy, and live around happy people.
  22. I actually "love" Peikoff, and reading and listening to him has been the biggest key in me understanding Objectivism. I havent read his book, and its on my reading list, but i'd still appreciate it if you would give a short breakdown of the parallels he identifies. It shouldnt be that hard, if you claim to support his view. And to Thales, about enviromentalism. Yes, consistant enviromentalism is heinous, but at least over here in Finland i dont see really anyone of importance advocating anything close to that, and dont see any major support for those ideas. We have a guy named Pentti Linkola that has spouted his crap for decades here, and he has remained on the absolute fringe, as an intellectual.
  23. Im sorry, but where is the contradiction? The first quote is part of a segment where Rand talks about why values can never be understood separately from the facts of reality, and that the entities life is its ultimate value, as it sets the standard by which all other values are evaluated . The second quote actually precedes the first one, and is about the physical nature of living organisms, and how the lifesustaining actions are generated by the organism itself for the sake of maintaining the entitys life, thus making it a living entity. Its existence is sustained by itself. It is about automatic actions, like the examples Rand gives. I dont know if you are confusing "actions generated by the organism itself" with "volitional actions", but that is the only contradiction i could see if that is what you think. Because the third one is part of a segment where Rand talks about the role of emotions: So if you could tell me exactly where you think the contradiction lies, i can give a further answer. If you thought the contradiction was in the fact that you thought Rand on the other hand said that all of mans actions are always directed at the maintenance of its own life, and that on the other hand she said that man can choose irrational self-destructive values then i understand what you mean. But you have to remember that the second quote pertains to automatic actions like blood circulation and regrowth of bone etc. and not to volitional actions. She was simply giving a definition on what makes something living vs. non-living: the fact that the lifesustaining actions are generated by the organism itself.
  24. No, we are being born with a capability to understand math, physics, color and shape. But before we encounter physical things, that move, that have different colors and look different from eachother, we have no knowledge of math, physics, color and shape. A blind person has no intuitive understanding of color(just like we seeing people dont either), and can grasp the notion of color only once someone explains it in terms the blind person can understand, in other words, referring to things the blind person has experienced and can experience. He can understand that seeing people can sense the different wavelenghts of visible light, and we can make him feel the thermal energy that visible light has, so he can verify that visible light actually exists. But without this explanation he would never have even thought about colors, and even with the explanation i doubt the blind can really understand color. Even with just one of the senses working, a person can probably understand math, and have some understanding of physics even though with just smell and taste it will be pretty impossible. A person cannot understand shape if he doesnt have sight or touch, and possibly hearing, even though he would have to pretty much have sonar radar type ears
  25. I think it will be resisted(and not even thought about) because unlike in the 1920's, fascism and communism hadnt yet been tested in reality. Even though people lack the philosophical understanding of why communist and fascist states fail to deliver what they promise, they at least know that they do[fail] simply by looking at what happened before. Sadly, these same people also think that capitalism has been shown to fail, hence why all this middle-of-the-road and "the truth lies somewhere in between" crap. But the people that denounce that principles matter, arent suddenly going to choose principles, not the bad, and sadly not the good.
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