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Your thoughts on "In God we trust?"

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First of all, forgive me for the flurry of threads that I'm starting. I just don't know anyone else, in real life, who thinks the way I do and I'm eager to get points of view from other students of Objectivism.

What are your views on the "In God we trust" on our money? Or "under God" in the pledge of allegiance?

Personally, I could go either way. I prefer a secular government, but it seems to me that those phrases are more an expression of our past, than they are an affirmation of belief in God. America's past has many Judeo-Christian elements, though I admit that America was not founded on Christianity. I prefer to leave the money and the pledge the way they are, for the same reason I am against the Declaration of Independence being banned from that school. Yes, it mentions God, but it's a statement of our heritage, not support for religion.

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First of all, forgive me for the flurry of threads that I'm starting.  I just don't know anyone else, in real life, who thinks the way I do and I'm eager to get points of view from other students of Objectivism.

What are your views on the "In God we trust" on our money?  Or "under God" in the pledge of allegiance?

Personally, I could go either way.  I prefer a secular government, but it seems to me that those phrases are more an expression of our past, than they are an affirmation of belief in God.  America's past has many Judeo-Christian elements, though I admit that America was not founded on Christianity.  I prefer to leave the money and the pledge the way they are, for the same reason I am against the Declaration of Independence being banned from that school.  Yes, it mentions God, but it's a statement of our heritage, not support for religion.

The Declaration of Independence is a seperate subject from money and the pledge. The Declaration, while an official (and important) document declaring freedom from England, is not an article of law or policy. The Constituion is the foundation for law, and God is never mentioned in the Constitution.

As for the pledge and money, you have to understand the history of both in order to gain an understanding of it and the history of the phrases "Under God" and "In God We Trust" are not proud ones. In fact, the original pledge did not have the words "Under God" in it. "Under God" was added during the 1950s. During the Communist paranoia, the government added the words to the pledge by official proclamation in an attempt to link Communists and atheists as one and the same (thus, ironically, isolating their greatest supporters against Communism, the new, budding Objectivists). The phrase on money has a similar history.

Based on this, I do not believe the history of the two phrases would be a history I would be proud to share with my children. All of the arguements I have heard for not elminating the phrases have been riddled with historical inaccuracies and irrational sentiments.

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I may be athiest, but I have no problem with either term. It's our heritage. A relic of our fight against communism. Capitalist nation vs. Communist nation. A fight between a nation founded on morals vs. a nation founded on self-destructive immoral whims.

I celebrate the "In God we Trust" in much the same way I celebrate my Southern and my Italian heritages. Slavery was a shameful part of my heritage, but I recognize the values in which my ancestors fought, which was not for the right to maintain slaves. As for my Italian heritage, I celebrate the birthplace of the renaissance and a cultural mecca, all the while acknowledging the more shameful parts of my Italian heritage; papal abuse of power, and fascism.

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It's our heritage. I celebrate the "In God we Trust" in much the same way I celebrate my Southern and my Italian heritages.

No, we CHOOSE our heritage. We don't blindly accept just anything that happened in the past (much less, accept guilt for the wrongdoings of others). I strongly recommend you read George Reisman's article, "Education and the Racist Road to Barbarism" (first appeared in The Intellectual Activist). It doesn't matter who your ancestors were. My own father was a murderer. So what? It's the values you choose, not what's in your genes.

And if you're a rational, freedom-loving American who doesn't have imaginary friends in the sky--if you want to see children grow up with their minds unstunted, in a rational world-- your heritage includes the separation of church and state.

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What are your views on the "In God we trust" on our money?  Or "under God" in the pledge of allegiance?

The name of God must be removed in both cases. Any nation that tries to own God invites death (i.e. Religion A + Religion B = major problem). States love to use God because when He is on your side death becomes ones goal. Even Hitler knew this:

Fuhrer, my Fuhrer, given to me by the Lord, protect and preserve me as long as I live! You have saved Germany from its deepest distress. Today I thank you for my daily bread. Stay with me for a long time, don't leave me. Fuhrer, my Fuhrer, my faith and my light! Hail to you, my Fuhrer!

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I may be athiest, but I have no problem with either term. It's our heritage. A relic of our fight against communism. Capitalist nation vs. Communist nation. A fight between a nation founded on morals vs. a nation founded on self-destructive immoral whims.

I celebrate the "In God we Trust" in much the same way I celebrate my Southern and my Italian heritages. Slavery was a shameful part of my heritage, but I recognize the values in which my ancestors fought, which was not for the right to maintain slaves. As for my Italian heritage, I celebrate the birthplace of the renaissance and a cultural mecca, all the while acknowledging the more shameful parts of my Italian heritage; papal abuse of power, and fascism.

Exactly as I said above: all arguements for keeping the terms boil down to either an ignorance of history or irrational sentiment, in this case, the latter. Are you a Communist just because you're an atheist? Is anyone a Communist just because they're an atheist? My point: it was only religious irrationality to begin with that caused the terms to be added to the pledge and to paper money.

My ancestors were German. So what? I don't accept any unearned guilt for their mistakes. I was born in 1980. My life started then and the only things that truly matter are those I have chosen to value.

It sounds like you should really read "Global Balkanization" from Ayn Rand's Return of the Primitive.

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Zoso, it sounds like you're regarding "God" as just a sound implying nothing irrational. But "God" is the capacity of wishing in a man's mind when he regards it as a causal entity in reality and calls it God. If the motto read "In the capacity of wishing we trust" would you want to leave it in because it was "a part of our heritage"?

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... "God" is the capacity of wishing in a man's mind when he regards it as a causal entity in reality and calls it God. 

This may be your definition of "God", but it is not the commonly accepted definition for the word.

As for "in our capacity...etc.", frankly I'd be not too unhappy if "In God we Trust" were to be replaced witha more neutral "In possibility, we trust".

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This may be your definition of "God", but it is not the commonly accepted definition for the word.

As for "in our capacity...etc.", frankly I'd be not too unhappy if "In God we Trust" were to be replaced witha more neutral "In possibility, we trust".

Java drinker, if "trust" here means "rely on", why wouldn't you want to substitute "Reason" for "God" instead of being non-commitaly neutral?

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Java, Furthermore, the common definition of "God" is "the creator and ruler of the universe", which is not a definition. I have not defined "God"; I have identified it. How? I began by asking, "When a believer prays what is he doing? A man, say, wants his son to recover from illness and says, "Please, God, make him well." Since there is not a god "out there", he can be referring only to his consciuousness. He might aver that "God is out there", but that's only arbitrary assertion, just as capitalizing the "g" in "god" is an arbitrary creating of a proper noun (which, when properly formed, implies an existing unique thing---this in itself is an act of the primacy of consciousness relationship to reality). If he were honest he would say, "Please, holy Capacity of Wishing in my mind, be a causal factor in reality." In praying, he is splitting his mind, using his thinking capacity(self) to elevate his wishing capacity(anti-self) above himself, then choosing to regard it as existing "out there". This is what God is. All the elaborate rituals, songs and sermons, processions, crosses, churches and cathedrals, are dedicated to this. Without prayer no religion could exist.

The value of this identification is that knowing_ is a stronger position than not believing_. The next time you hear "You're not an atheist, are you?' You can say "No, I'm not, "God" exists, and I know just what it is: God is the capacity of wishing in your mind when you regard it as a causal entity in reality and call it God. And, as many believers in God there are , that's how many "Gods" there are. "God is one" is one of the biggest evasion-by-misdirection plays in history.

Well, no more. God's days are numbered.

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The government shouldn't be printing anything on my money. It shouldn't be making money. But, if it's going to anyway, it should be imprinted with the weight and fineness of the gold coin, or, if it's paper, how much gold is backing it and where I can go to get it. And other than a pretty picture of an eagle or something that should be about it. Certainly nothing about make believe beings.

The pledge of allegiance should be eliminated, especially the "under god" part. It was written by a christian socialist named Francis Bellamy (without the god reference, originally)in order to promote Nationalism (not patriotism) - as in National Socialism. He was a big believer in his cousin's book Looking Backward: 2000 - 1887 and he wrote the pledge to bring us closer to it. Truly evil stuff.

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The government shouldn't be printing anything on my money. It shouldn't be making money. But, if it's going to anyway, it should be imprinted with the weight and fineness of the gold coin, or, if it's paper, how much gold is backing it and where I can go to get it. And other than a pretty picture of an eagle or something that should be about it. Certainly nothing about make believe beings.

The pledge of allegiance should be eliminated, especially the "under god" part. It was written by a christian socialist named Francis Bellamy (without the god reference, originally)in order to promote Nationalism (not patriotism) - as in National Socialism. He was a big believer in his cousin's book Looking Backward: 2000 - 1887 and he wrote the pledge to bring us closer to it. Truly evil stuff.

Ah, looking backward, the work that at once introduced a rudimentary credit card and at the same time said that it would effectively be useless, as there would be so much plenty that no one could dream of using all their capitol.

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The government shouldn't be printing anything on my money. It shouldn't be making money. But, if it's going to anyway, it should be imprinted with the weight and fineness of the gold coin, or, if it's paper, how much gold is backing it and where I can go to get it.

Are you suggesting that we go back to countless private banks printing their own currency? How could businesses function globally? While I would rather be back on the Gold Standard, I don’t think it’s possible today. Do you?

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The pledge of allegiance should be eliminated, especially the "under god" part.

I agree that the pledge is often used improperly to promote Nationalism. However, it does serve a function as an oath. I don’t want to see it eliminated, but I do want to see it restored (i.e. remove “under God”). Any state that invokes God flirts with theocracy, which is...

Truly evil stuff.

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Are you suggesting that we go back to countless private banks printing their own currency? How could businesses function globally? While I would rather be back on the Gold Standard, I don’t think it’s possible today. Do you?

Yes, very nicely indeed, and yes.

Seriously, though. A true bank note is nothing more than bearer paper - a check meant to be used more than once. Paper money originally started as warehouse receipts for gold that were eventually used as a currency in place of the actual gold coins, as a convenience. They were much easier to lug around on an everyday basis and could be printed in denominations much smaller than standard sized coins making them easier to spend. As long as the currency is backed 100% by gold, meaning there would be no fractional reserve banking allowed, there wouldn't be a problem with banks printing their own currency.

Given the cost of doing it right, considering the ease of modern counterfeiting techniques, it would probably be standardized and provided by several big suppliers, just the same as gold and silver coins are handled by private mints. Universal acceptance need not be a problem. The market will find a way to facilitate trade.

With modern methods of banking and their private counterparts like ebullion and egold, etc., it wouldn't be necessary to use actual paper or coin currency any more than is done today; it would mostly be done electronically.

Global trade would hardly be affected at all. This is how it was done for thousands of years.

Here is a great economics text (caution it's big ~15 mb) -Capitalism. The discussion of gold starts on pg 1007 of the pdf file or 951 of the text book, if you happen to have a copy. He gets into remonetizing gold and silver at the end of page 1015 of the pdf or 959 of the text (although the whole section is worth reading, in fact the whole book). Murray Rothbard gives a similar way of doing it here. There are many others, but it is definitely possible and worth doing.

All it would take is a monetary crisis with the dollar, which might happen sooner rather than later, and will happen eventually in any case given the nature of fiat currency, and the political will could be found to make it happen. If not, it will happen privately on its own.

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I agree that the pledge is often used improperly to promote Nationalism. However, it does serve a function as an oath. I don’t want to see it eliminated, but I do want to see it restored (i.e. remove “under God”).

Taking an oath to the government raises the government above the individual and implies that the individual's purpose is to serve and obey the government. This is a reversal of the proper relationship. The proper function of government is to serve the individual by protecting his rights, and if it doesn't it should be removed and replaced with one that will. Any proper oath would be to uphold and defend the principles of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, not the government as such. Of course, everybody elected to public office takes that oath and ignores it completely.

Besides, have you seen the pictures of the original salute? It will send shivers down your spine.

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perhaps I should have specified what "heritage" is, because some people here associate it as binding myself to the past, which couldn't be farther from the truth. Heritage is a apreciation and celebration of the values of my ancestors, along with an understanding of their faults and an effort to improve upon them. It is not a bounding to the past nor is it any sort of hangup or desire to return to the past.

For example, being part Italian, I have an apreciation for Italian art, science, and history, but acknowledge the fact that Italy has had a streak of collectivism, the Roman empire, the Catholic church, and Mussolini's Fascism. I want to instill the good Italian values on my children, while warning them about the mistakes of the past, thus preventing them from being repeated.

anyone who celebrates Thanksgiving or Independence day is celebrating their american heritage

In the end though, "under god" and "in god we trust" is one of those superficial issues that are a small part of a larger problem. I don't lose sleep because "under God" in the pledge and "in God we trust" is on the money. I do lose sleep (metaphorically speaking of course) on how the dollar is rapidly inflating.

Seeing as how I think of Objectivism as a personal philosophy more so than a political movement, I tend not to think of how things ought to be, I just go about my daily life improving that which I can. When I say the pledge, it's as easy as me saying "one nation, ... , indivisible"

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I took the Old San Francisco Mint tour when I was about eight years old; I understand what a bank note is and the history of currency. My concern is exclusively in regards to counterfeiting.

With modern methods of banking and their private counterparts like ebullion and egold, etc., it wouldn't be necessary to use actual paper or coin currency any more than is done today; it would mostly be done electronically.

I use paper money all the time (now). I once had my regular bank accounts frozen in error. Being a millionaire didn’t make any difference when I tried to use my Visa. Until I could resolve the matter, I had no choice but to use cash. My father, a multi-millionaire, had his identity stolen several years ago. It took him almost two years to straighten everything out. I am not about to blindly trust electronic funds.

The same holds true in business. I prefer customers who pay in cash. I’ve had the experience of credit card companies not paying up. When a customer hands me cash, the deal is closed.

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You don't have to blindly trust anything. I said paper money wouldn't be used more than it is now, which, for most people, is almost never. You can still use it, or the actual gold or silver; nothing will change.

But, unless every dollar you own is in your closet or under the mattress, you're trusting electronic funds. Once you deposit it, it's electronic, and whether you go to the teller or the ATM to get it out you're trusting electronic funds to work in order to be able to get it. I understand what you're saying, though. Cash is king. It's accepted everywhere.

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Heritage is a apreciation and celebration of the values of my ancestors, along with an understanding of their faults and an effort to improve upon them.

I stopped thinking that way a long time ago.

For example, being part Italian, I have an apreciation for Italian art, science, and history...

My great-grandparents are from Italy and Ireland. My parents are both from San Francisco. When I was a child there was some Italian and Irish influence on my life. But why should I have more appreciation for their art, science, or history as an adult? I didn't get to pick my parents.

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perhaps I should have specified what "heritage" is, because some people here associate it as binding myself to the past, which couldn't be farther from the truth. Heritage is a apreciation and celebration of the values of my ancestors, along with an understanding of their faults and an effort to improve upon them. It is not a bounding to the past nor is it any sort of hangup or desire to return to the past.

For example, being part Italian, I have an apreciation for Italian art, science, and history, but acknowledge the fact that Italy has had a streak of collectivism, the Roman empire, the Catholic church, and Mussolini's Fascism. I want to instill the good Italian values on my children, while warning them about the mistakes of the past, thus preventing them from being repeated.

Why do you want to instill Italian values in your children. Why don't you just teach them to value themselves as independent, unique individuals, not as Italian-American individuals. It is purely by accident and inconsequential that they are of Italian heritage. They didn't choose you as their father and they didn't choose the land their ancestors came from. You should teach them to value what really matters: the values they create.

Once again, I implore you to read Ayn Rand's essay "Global Balkanization" in The Voice of Reason.

anyone who celebrates Thanksgiving or Independence day is celebrating their american heritage
True, but I actually am American and those days signify more to me than simply a blind obediance to my American heritage. Thanksgiving signifies the ultimate producers holiday, how some of the first settlers in this country were able to survive by the fruits of their own labor. Independence Day signifies to me the fight against tyranny. My ancestors were German, though, and I would no more expect a German to celebrate either of these holidays than I would celebrate Oktoberfest. (Were I living in Germany, I may choose to celebrate Oktoberfest, but that would be a completely different situation.)

Notice I don't choose to celebrate many holidays which are recognized in the United States. I don't celebrate Easter because I'm not a Christian. I don't celebrate Christmas for a similar reason (although I do celebrate Solstice as a recogniztion of the changing of the seasons). I don't celebrate Haunakkah because I'm not Jewish. I don't celebrate Arbor Day and Earth Day because they're ridiculous environmentalist holidays.

In the end though, "under god" and "in god we trust" is one of those superficial issues that are a small part of a larger problem. I don't lose sleep because "under God" in the pledge and "in God we trust" is on the money. I do lose sleep (metaphorically speaking of course) on how the dollar is rapidly inflating.

Did you ever stop to think that maybe the two are related? It's the flaws in people's philosophies which contribute to problems such as inflation. To say that "under God" and "in God we trust" doesn't matter sends a message that it doesn't matter whether the theists are right or not. It certainly does matter as, if the theists win by default, we can see a preview of the civil rights violations to come in the speeches of such men as Pat Robertson and Jerry Fallwell.

(Notice I use the term civil rights here to refer to the rights of man as properly defined by ethics, not the common usage in which minorities demand preferential treatment.)

Seeing as how I think of Objectivism as a personal philosophy more so than a political movement, I tend not to think of how things ought to be, I just go about my daily life improving that which I can. When I say the pledge, it's as easy as me saying "one nation, ...  , indivisible"

The ultimate goal of any philosophy should be to mould the world into the way it should properly be. Objectivism is a political movement in the sense it seeks to shape our government into the way it should be: Capitalism. This is the way our founding fathers envisioned it and this is how it should be.

If you think your philosophy has no effect on anyone other than yourself, I suggest you stop and reread Ayn Rand's works, starting with Atlas Shrugged.

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Why do you want to instill Italian values in your children. Why don't you just teach them to value themselves as independent, unique individuals, not as Italian-American individuals. It is purely by accident and inconsequential that they are of Italian heritage. They didn't choose you as their father and they didn't choose the land their ancestors came from. You should teach them to value what really matters: the values they create.

Once again, I implore you to read Ayn Rand's essay "Global Balkanization" in The Voice of Reason.

Oddly enough, thats pretty close to what I do. Trust me, its not some sort of liberal garbage about multiculturalism and distancing oneself from others, its actually just how you describe it. I merely choose to acknowledge where those values come from. You're right, I didn't pick my father or my father's land. But they choose values to instill on their child, who choose to instill those values on their child, who choose to instill those values on me, who will one day add some, subtract some, add my own little touch, and then pass it on to my child.

And seeing as how I am out of Ayn Rand stuff ATM, I may pick up The Voice of Reason. Thanks for the suggestion

True, but I actually am American and those days signify more to me than simply a blind obediance to my American heritage.

Blind obedience would be saying "America has never done wrong" or "Italians are always right." the celebration of my heritage is neither blind (because I know where my predecessors went wrong) nor obedience (because I choose to uphold the values of my people)

Thanksgiving signifies the ultimate producers holiday, how some of the first settlers in this country were able to survive by the fruits of their own labor. Independence Day signifies to me the fight against tyranny.
right, and where do think those holidays originated from? the founders of this country. You recognize their fight, if it were not for them, then why has that day been set aside as Independence day? Shouldn't every day be Independence day then?

Notice I don't choose to celebrate many holidays which are recognized in the United States. I don't celebrate Easter because I'm not a Christian. I don't celebrate Christmas for a similar reason (although I do celebrate Solstice as a recogniztion of the changing of the seasons).

I celebrate Easter and Christmas as producers holidays, similar to Thanksgiving. Their religious backrounds mean nothing to me, because a fat man delivering presents and a Bunny rabbit delivering hard boiled eggs really do not have much to do with Christianity. I celebrate them because I celebrate the fact that, on any day we choose, we can drop everything and blow money on decorations and presents for no other reason than because we simply can.

I don't celebrate Arbor Day and Earth Day because they're ridiculous environmentalist holidays.
Hey, a day off is a day off. I suppose you could by a stretch of the term call them producers holidays (look at what our manipulation of Earth's resources has given us!) but for now, that makes two of us. :)

Did you ever stop to think that maybe the two are related? It's the flaws in people's philosophies which contribute to problems such as inflation. To say that "under God" and "in God we trust" doesn't matter sends a message that it doesn't matter whether the theists are right or not. It certainly does matter as, if the theists win by default, we can see a preview of the civil rights violations to come in the speeches of such men as Pat Robertson and Jerry Fallwell.

(Notice I use the term civil rights here to refer to the rights of man as properly defined by ethics, not the common usage in which minorities demand preferential treatment.)

Those phrases are products of a flawed philosophy, not the cause. It's hacking at one of the branches of the tree of evil. We need to be striking the root, which is the metaphysical connotation that God exists and deserves our sacrifice. Once that changes, phrases like "In God we trust" become quaint little historical references.

The ultimate goal of any philosophy should be to mould the world into the way it should properly be. Objectivism is a political movement in the sense it seeks to shape our government into the way it should be: Capitalism. This is the way our founding fathers envisioned it and this is how it should be.

If you think your philosophy has no effect on anyone other than yourself, I suggest you stop and reread Ayn Rand's works, starting with Atlas Shrugged.

It's not that I don't think it has an effect on anyone else, I choose to see it as a way to live my own life, rather than "hey, come join the Objectivist party, for some free soda!" I live my life Like Howard Roark and Hank Rearden. Neither figures were active politically, nor did they ever get on soapboxes or spend their time trying to convince others that they were in the right, they lived their lives the way they saw fit. If others had similar values, thats great, he may be my friend some day. If he doesn't share those values... well, it's his destruction. I guess you can say it's the selfish way of looking at things :D

I didn't get to pick my parents.

you also didn't pick your talents. Does that stop you from celebrating the fact that you are a producer by manipulation of those talents?

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I agree, god should be ommited from the pledge and the money. One comment though; you are not forced to say the pledge or even that line.

Also, if anybody is thinking about making a big argument about this (like that one guy a while ago who claimed it made his daughter very uncomfortable or something), I think we should focus on advacating Capitalism first. Once we get a rational system in place, we can focus on the little things.

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I agree, god should be ommited from the pledge and the money. One comment though; you are not forced to say the pledge or even that line.

Also, if anybody is thinking about making a big argument about this (like that one guy a while ago who claimed it made his daughter very uncomfortable or something), I think we should focus on advacating Capitalism first. Once we get a rational system in place, we can focus on the little things.

I quite agree. It isn't on the top of my priorities list to strike down those phrases. It needs to be done sometime after we've successfully got rid of income taxes. :D

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