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If a fascist doesn’t say anything fascist is he still a fascist?

Some time ago a chap called Paul Golding from an organisation called Britain First followed me on Twitter. When people I’ve never heard of follow me my standard procedure is to have a look at their most recent tweets and if they sound interesting I follow them back. If at some later date I find them obnoxious or boring I unfollow them.

This rule is not quite universal. Out of fear of ending up in an echo chamber I follow a small number of communists. Communists, of course, are nothing but obnoxious and boring. But such is the price we have to pay if we want to know what the other half think believe.

Anyway, it would appear that thanks to the wonder of the Donald and the Jack, Mr Golding is now famous and people are saying all sorts of nasty things about him. Which is a surprise to me. I cannot recall him saying anything particularly unreasonable. He certainly doesn’t like Islam. But then again neither do I. But if he’d had a go at the Jews I would have noticed. Similarly, if he’d had a go at a racial minority I would have noticed. But he hasn’t. At least not in the tweets of his I have seen.

Now it may well be the case that Mr Golding harbours all sorts of unpleasant opinions – opinions that I violently disagree with – but if so he doesn’t seem to think they are ready for the ocean. For the time being they will have to remain stuck in port much like the French fleet prior to Trafalgar. Maybe he is biding his time in the hope that if he can lure enough ships into harbour he can then board them but if he is then he is making an appalling strategic mistake. If you want to win the argument first you have to have the argument. He may be a fascist but he might as well not be.

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30 comments to If a fascist doesn’t say anything fascist is he still a fascist?

  • rfichoke

    “In the future everyone will be Hitler for 15 minutes.“

  • bobby b

    It’s a good article (the linked pdf), but I think it gives short shrift to the idea of incrementalism.

    You can view libertarianism as an endpoint goal, or as a trend. Incremental movements towards instituting it as a system of thought – arguing the marijuana harmlessness versus heroin example – may not bring us to the glorious day when libertarianism overcomes all, but do make our system more libertarian.

    We need to decide if the goal is to become libertarian, or to have more liberty. They’re not necessarily the same thing.

  • James Strong

    Very few people know what a fascist is; but there are thousands of people ready to denounce others as fascists.

    I was told recently that ‘Nigel Farage is a fascist’. When I asked for an explanation of that charge, answer came there none.

    Last month I was denounced as a misogynist because I said I read the Telegraph rather than the Guardian.

    ‘Misogynist’ has 4 syllables, ‘fascist’ only. I therefore deduced that my accuser had probably had a more expensive education than the other stupid people of her ilk.

  • Pat

    Re the “Britain First” videos.
    The question should not have involved anyone’s opinion on that organisation. The questions should have been firstly are they accurate (it appears they were), and secondly is the behaviour portrayed typical or not.
    Further verified videos showing, say, Muslims aiding cripples, or participating in gay pride events would demonstrate that the behaviour shown was atypical and would be very easy to procure if the examples shown in the videos were indeed atypical.
    It is seriously unwise to reject evidence simply because you dislike the source, neither is shooting the bearer of bad news a good idea.
    In this case I suspect the source is disliked simply because it bears bad news.

  • Snorri Godhi

    WRT “fascism” the first thing to ask anybody who bandies the word around, is whether they have read Mussolini’s Doctrine of Fascism. If they have, then they at least know something about fascism — or used to know: they might have forgotten it.

    Another question to ask is whether Francisco Franco was a fascist. If their answer is yes, then they know less than nothing about fascism (in my arrogant opinion).

  • Snorri Godhi

    Pat is right: what Theresa May is doing, is blaming the messenger; or perhaps more like the genetic fallacy.

    As for the Micklethwait essay: there is a difference between arguing for principles, and arguing for concrete policies. In principle, i’d argue that the State has no business prohibiting people from using drugs; in practice, i would not recommend the immediate legalization of heroin.

    PS: who is the Jack?

  • bobby b

    “who is the Jack?”

    Jack Dorsey, co-founder and Pres of Twitter.

  • Julie near Chicago

    bobby, above at 4:08 p.m.:

    As yet I have read no further in the comments, because I’m compelled to register immediate and thorough agreement with your point here. :>)

    .

    Snorri on principles and policies: Unfortunately, you are completely correct. 😥

    Which is why Life requires Judgment, why There are Always Trade-offs™, and more….

  • For those of you who don’t already know it, David Ramsay Steele’s article The Mystery of Fascism (from the libertarian alliance) is a sensible article to offer people who have the rare combination of (1) taking such accusations of fascism seriously, yet (2) being willing to encounter a definition derived from history, not PC. It can also brace you for a discussion with those who only have attribute (1).

  • pollo

    Golding is ex-National Front and was kicked out of the BNP for assaulting their only ethnic councillor. Whether he’s technically a fascist seems a moot point. Surprised you give him your attention.

  • Paul Marks

    Fascism is the doctrine of Mussolini (that he partly took from German War Socialism during the First World War) – of indirect state control of the economy – I would not like to be friends with such a “Social Justice” type. But where is the evidence that Mr whoever-he-is believes in state control of the economy?

    As for racialism – that is more National Socialism than Fascism. And Islam is not a race – it is a religion and political ideology. A follower of Islam can be of any race – and the real Nazis rather admired Islam (certainly the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem was an ally of both Mr Himmler and Mr Hitler – but it was more than an alliance of convenience, the National Socialists admired a warrior religion that taught conquest and was prepared to use any tactic to achieve VICTORY).

    On the general issue of Twitter and Facebook – I do not research the backgrounds of “friends” (odd word for people one has mostly never met) on such social media.

    If the “liberals” (who actually have far more in common with the policies of Mussolini than I do) get upset – let them get upset.

  • Whether he’s technically a fascist seems a moot point.

    No, far from being a moot point, it’s actually the entire point. The fact this delightful person is widely acclaimed to be a weapons-grade shitbag does not in and of itself make him a ‘fascist’, even if he may well be one, given his previous party affiliation.

    Surprised you give him your attention.

    I suspect it’s only tangentially about this Paul Golding chap, but rather more about the wider point of how ‘fascist’ is bandied about

  • Phil B

    “Fascist” is used as the golden bullet to shut down any conversation and as a cover all for not arguing facts or presenting evidence.

    It’s basic Alinsky/Cloward-Piven 101 for leftists.

  • Zerren Yeoville

    One small way to resist is by refusing to use the left’s other favourite word, ‘Nazi’ – it’s what Orwell might have described as a ‘duckspeak’ word that bypasses the thought process.

    Instead, always say ‘National Socialist‘ instead, and place the emphasis on the second word!

  • Shlomo Maistre

    If you want to win the argument first you have to have the argument.

    Eh, I’m not convinced that winning the argument (according to who?) matters all that much. Have people argued about policies from a libertarian point of view? Yes. Have libertarian policies sometimes been enacted as or shortly after these arguments were made? Yes. But correlation isn’t causation.

    Winning arguments is not a major cause of passing the policies those arguments support, historically. And historically most fundamental changes in policy have occurred as a result of either demographic changes (whether peaceful or violent) or changing people’s feelings about each other (see below).

    He may be a fascist but he might as well not be.

    Close your eyes. Imagine the UK as it is today.

    Now imagine that 50% of the UK people become fascists but do not voice their opinions in public.

    Think that this will have consequences? You betcha. Media consumption patterns will change, media output will change as a result, patterns of voting will change, and the types of legislation that will pass will change as a result.

    Yes, it’s true that there would be more of an impact if these 50% did voice their opinions in public. But the point is that their voicing their opinions merely amplifies the consequences of their having fascist thoughts/beliefs.

    So the Left is correct that it matters what people think/believe. And labelling people as fascist/Nazi is an effective tool to manufacture consent (https://www.amazon.com/Manufacturing-Consent-Political-Economy-Media/dp/0375714499) to ever-more-leftwing policies. Whether the accusation is true or not is quite irrelevant to the effectiveness of the tactic.

    Winning arguments rarely moves people’s opinions in their heart of hearts. But making people think they are hated by society if they voice certain opinions is not winning the argument but it does move Overton’s Window. And that’s what the Left has done for centuries and it’s why they win pretty much every single time – eventually.

    According to Overton’s description, his window includes a range of policies considered politically acceptable in the current climate of public opinion, which a politician can recommend without being considered too extreme to gain or keep public office.

  • bobby b

    “But making people think they are hated by society if they voice certain opinions is not winning the argument but it does move Overton’s Window.”

    Amen. How else could we arrive at a situation in which 65% of the people believe the their shared beliefs are anathema to society? How else could they be made to forget that they ARE society?

  • Shlomo Maistre

    I personally know 3 people who consider people, in their words, “fascist” if they do not subscribe to the belief that gendered, binary pronouns are discriminatory against transsexual people and that it is therefore imperative (and ought to be legally required) that all people use non-traditional pronouns.

    Some examples from wikipedia, which draws on a number of sources:

    Hou (Gom, 2017) Hou is laughing I called hee Hy eyes gleam That is hine Hou likes hyself
    Hu (Humanist, 1982) Hu is laughing I called hum Hus eyes gleam That is hus Hu likes humself
    Peh (Dicebox, 2012?) Peh is laughing I called pehm Peh’s eyes gleam That is peh’s Peh likes pehself
    Per (Piercy, 1979) Per is laughing I called per Per eyes gleam That is pers Per likes perself
    Thon (Converse, 1884) Thon is laughing I called thon Thons eyes gleam That is thons Thon likes thonself
    Ve (Hulme, c. 1980) Ve is laughing I called ver Vis eyes gleam That is vis Ve likes verself
    Ze, hir (Bornstein, n.d.) Ze (Zie, Sie) is laughing I called hir Hir eyes gleam That is hirs Ze (Zie, Sie) likes hirself
    Ze, mer (Creel, 1997) Ze is laughing I called mer Zer eyes gleam That is zers Ze likes zemself
    Ze, zir (unknown, c. 2013) Ze (Zie, Sie) is laughing I called zir/zem Zir/Zes eyes gleam That is zirs/zes Ze (Zie, Sie) likes zirself/zemself
    Zhe (Foldvary, 2000) Zhe is laughing I called zhim Zher eyes gleam That is zhers Zhe likes zhimself

    There are MANY more. And many advocates of the use of ve instead of he or she believe that there not only should not be any single definitive list, but that there CANNOT be.

    Bill C-16, which as documented by The Daily Caller “criminalizes the use of wrong gender pronouns”, is now the law in Canada.

    As Professor A.W. Peet said to Professor Jordan Peterson (both of the University of Toronto) in a debate on CBC News regarding Bill C-16: “how difficult is it to program into your phone what the gender pronoun someone would prefer is?” This professor says in the interview that whenever he meets someone he asks them what their name is and what their preferred gender pronoun is.

    In the first 10 seconds of their lead-in to the debate CBC News featured video of a student asking Professor Jordan Peterson “Professor Peterson, do you have any comments on the Nazi presence at your protests?”. Although it is false, the implication is clear – and when it’s Nazis, the implication is enough. Enough to move the Overton Window on mandatory transgender “non-traditional” pronouns. Indeed, Bill C-16 is now the law of the land in Canada.

    [Similarly, there were Nazis at the rally held in Virginia against the removal of a Confederate statue and even people here at Samizdata ( https://www.samizdata.net/2017/08/samizdata-quote-of-the-day-907/ ) said of those at the rally who were not Nazis that they should not be at the rally if they didn’t want to be considered Nazis, which is libertarians and polite society doing the work of the Left and is partly why statues of all kinds of evil slaveowners are going to be torn down all over the USA in coming decades.]

    Anyway, back on topic: were there objective truth to non-traditional gender pronouns would language surrounding its use need to be legislated, enforced at the barrel of a gun?

    The 3 Americans I know who support legislation C-16 are also the only 3 people I know who have heard of it as far as I know. Lets leave aside the phenomenal irony of calling people fascists for refusing to support criminalizing free speech. 6 points:

    1. What are pronouns? Linguistically, pronouns are words that grammatically substitute for nouns. He and she substitute for male and female, respectively. Are there individuals born as neither male nor female? Yes. Does this mean that there is no such thing as male or female? No. 99.99% of people are born with XX or XY chromosomes. Bill C-16 in Canada criminalized acknowledgement of this reality.

    2. I program the names of individuals into my phone (Jill, Billy, James, Rebecca, etc). Pronouns are not names. Pronouns are words that we use in society to communicate information succinctly and clearly. Are there individuals who were born as neither male nor female? Yes. Does this happen frequently enough to render the use of traditional male/female pronouns ineffective? No. Bill C-16 in Canada criminalized the use of speech that is effective.

    3. What are transsexuals? Transsexuals are people who claim to believe that they are not their assigned sex, they want to match their sex to their gender. Are there individuals born as neither male nor female? Yes. Can a biological male become a transsexual? Yes. Are many transsexuals biologically men and women who are sufficiently confused or unhappy or bored or mentally ill or depressed to try and change their assigned sex? Possibly.

    4. Transsexuals want to match their sex to their gender. If there is any truth to the idea of transsexuality it is that one can be born as the correct sex or incorrect sex, based on the gender one attaches to in society. But if one can be born as the wrong sex biologically, then that means there is a connection between gender and sex (since there is a sex that objectively accords with a gender in society). In other words, if I was born a girl and feel that I’m a boy in my physical mannerisms, hobbies, interests, mindset, fashion, etc then that means that AT LEAST PART of the expression of gender in society is fundamentally driven by nature not nurture.

    5. Tucker Carlson recently interviewed Stephen LeDrew, the former President of the Liberal Party of Canada, on his highly-rated Fox News program who regarding the mandatory sensitivity training of teachers in Canada regarding the “LGGBDTTTIQQAAPP” community. Tucker’s first question was “what does this acronym mean?” and his response is literally “what does it matter if it makes people feel better?” He later admitted he did not know the specific meaning of each of the 16 categories. The people of Canada are expected to comply with these categories not because they know what they mean but based on the simple promulgation of such a list by a university. Mencius Moldbug didn’t call universities the modern Cathedral for nothing.

    6. How quickly LGBT became LGGBDTTTIQQAAPP. The people I know who support bill C-16 believe that any list of pronouns, even one that is thousands long instead of just two long, is bound to eventually be insufficient to encompass the gender expressions of some individuals eventually. In other words, the list ought to be in their words “infinite”. The non-traditional pronoun movement is leveling society, forcing us all to be special little snowflakes whether we want to be or not, eradicating the distinctions that objectively differentiate people in society in favor of a system by which people can choose a pronoun as if they are choosing their own name. This movement is the demonic intellectual descendent of the levelers. “My name is Legion, for we are many [infinitely unique special snowflakes]”.

  • Roué le Jour

    I don’t agree communist party members are the “other half”. They seem to be harmless Fred Kite types for the most part. Our enemies are totalitarian statists masquerading as liberals.

  • John Galt III

    Fascist is what the Communists called anyone that Stalin didn’t like. That included Trotsky. The Hard Left picked up on this in the !930’s and it has stuck ever since at least in the US.
    The American Left has gone Fascist. Now you can call the American Left “Liberal Fascists.” Read Jonah Goldberg’s “Liberal Fascism.” It’s an eye opener

    I am currently reading this below- written in 1947 (reprinted in 2012) by The US library of Congress in the Truman Administration. It compares Italy, Germany and Spain and is very, very detailed.

    Fascism in Action: A Documented Study and Analysis of Fascism in Europe, House Document No. 401 Paperback – September 30, 2012
    by Ernest S. Griffith (Compiler),‎ Wright Patman (Introduction)
    4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

  • Runcie Balspune

    Think that this will have consequences? You betcha. Media consumption patterns will change, media output will change as a result, patterns of voting will change, and the types of legislation that will pass will change as a result.

    I doubt it.

    The EU referendum showed a clear 50% in favour of leaving, but prior to that you’d have never thought this was the case looking at the mainstream media (and still would not), and voting patterns did not reflect it as no party apart from the minuscule UKIP actually supported it? There was certainly not any anti-EU legislation passed, far from it.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    The most remarkable thing about non-traditional gender pronouns is that, as far as I know, they correspond to no nouns whatsoever. He corresponds to male. She corresponds to female. Ve, hu, per, ze, zhe, etc correspond to nothing.

    In the philosophy of linguistics there is a famous distinction between analytic propositions and synthetic propositions. Analytic propositions are propositions whose predicate concept is contained in its subject concept, while synthetic propositions are propositions whose predicate concept is not contained in its subject concept.

    The classic example of an analytic proposition from Kant is “all bodies are extended” – i.e., all bodies occupy space. This is true by definition – i.e., it is inherently true. Thus, when I say that all truth is inherently true, and I do say this all the time ‘round these parts, I’m saying that there is no such thing as synthetic truth.
    “All triangles have 3 sides.” – another classic analytic statement.

    The classic example of a synthetic proposition from Kant is: “all bodies are heavy”. Bodies does not contain the predicate concept “heavy” by definition. Thus it may be true but it may not be true.

    Ditto “all creatures with a heart have kidneys”

    Even if every creature with a heart also has kidneys, the concept “creature with a heart” does not contain “has kidneys” in its definition.

    The truth of synthetic propositions may be subjective or may be considered true by insufficient experience or knowledge. The truth of analytic propositions, though, are inherently true. Always. Regardless of experience or knowledge.

    In the very first Samizdata thread I posted in I said that I believe that all truth is inherently analytic.

    “All males have penises.”

    This is an analytic proposition because the predicate is contained in the subject by definition.

    “All humans who have penises are males”.

    I would argue that this is a true analytic proposition because all humans who have penises contains all of and only males, in my opinion. This would be considered a false proposition by someone who believes that zheles (the theoretical noun for people who prefer the zhe pronoun) also have penises.

    So lets try it their way.

    “All males and zheles (the theoretical noun for the pronoun “zhe”) have penises.”

    This is an analytic proposition because the predicate is contained in the subject. And if the proponents of the “zhe” gender identity were correct – that there is a “zhele” gender identity – then this would be a true statement.

    “All humans who have penises are males or zheles.”

    If the proponents of the “zhe” gender identity were the only proponents of non-traditional gender identities to be correct – that there is a “zhele” gender identity – then this would be a true statement. But a fundamental aspect of the argument in favor of the “zhe” gender identity is that the having or not having of penises does not determine gender identity, so if this statement were true it would only be a miraculous coincidence, since there certainly could be other gender identities of humans who possess penises besides males or zheles according to the proponents of the zhele gender identity. In fact, according to this line of reasoning any list of predicate nouns contained by the subject “humans who have penises” must necessarily be incomplete because not only can there be no definitive list of gender identities but because gender identity does not by definition correspond to the having or not having of a penis.

    In other words, even if there were in theory a definitive list of gender identities it would be inaccurate to say that the subject “humans who have penises” contains BY DEFINITION the predicate concepts of gender identities because those gender identities are specifically defined by their proponents as not being related to the having of a penis. Remember, even if all creatures who have hearts have kidneys, “creatures who have hearts” does not contain “have kidneys” in its definition, and yet it is an allegedly true synthetic statement.

    Likewise, even if it were true that “all humans who have penises are males or zheles or huls or vels”, that could only be true as a synthetic proposition (i.e. it could only be true at the time based on our subjective and limited knowledge, but it could be true in this way!); such a statement cannot ever be true as an analytic proposition, according to the logic of those who believe in the “zhe” and “per” gender identity.

    But there is no such thing as a zhele. Or huls. Or vels.

    Which is why we know that ALL truth is INHERENTLY analytic and not synthetic.

    Because if we know now that Z is false, but that in a theoretical culture in which we all felt that Z were true Z would pass by undetected by the method of formulating truth known as synthetic reasoning, then we know that the synthetic formulation of truth is not a reliable way to determine truth.

    A world with gendered pronouns but without gendered nouns would work according to the twisted logic of synthetic truth, even if we had an exhaustive list of all non-traditional gender pronouns. After all, “all humans who have penises” does not contain by definition a “zhele” any more than it contains an apple or a chair.

    Imagine a world in which everyone of their own free volition agreed that it makes sense for us all to choose our own non-traditional gender pronouns and we all decided to use gender pronouns that are unique and nobody chose “he” or “she”. Even in such an extraordinary case this would not change the realities that humans are born with either XX chromosomes or XY chromosomes and that in the English language pronouns are substitutes for nouns. But the only noun that would work in such a scenario is “individual” or the person’s actual name “Shlomo Maistre”.

    We are all individual humans, it must be admitted.

    But what is the point of these non-traditional pronouns exactly if the only noun they refer to is either “individual” or the person’s actual, ya know, name?

    If gender expression and identity are not connected to whether a person has a penis or a vagina then how can one be born as the wrong sex?

    What words can we use to communicate whether someone is born with XY chromosomes or XX chromosomes if not male and female?

    Should the English language not be used to communicate scientific truth that hurts individuals’ feelings?

    Should language that perpetuates cultural conceptions that happen to have basis in science (XY and XX chromosomes, the having or not having or penises) be discouraged if there is a chance that the feelings of some will be hurt by such language?

    These are all serious questions we may have. But there are things we know for sure. One is that eliminating words does not eliminate reality.

    Eliminating the supposed need for the nouns male and female does not change the fact that humans are born with either XX or XY chromosomes, and this is one way we can come to realize that all truth must be inherently analytic and not synthetic.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    The EU referendum showed a clear 50% in favour of leaving, but prior to that you’d have never thought this was the case looking at the mainstream media (and still would not), and voting patterns did not reflect it as no party apart from the minuscule UKIP actually supported it? There was certainly not any anti-EU legislation passed, far from it.

    False equivalency.

    The EU referendum revealed the political preferences of the British people, but it didn’t change the political preferences of the British people. In my example the political ideologies of 50% of the British people were not revealed, they were changed. If 50% of the British people’s politics became fascist, this would impact their media consumption and voting patterns, which would respectively change output of the media and what legislation is passed.

  • Runcie Balspune

    The EU referendum revealed the political preferences of the British people, but it didn’t change the political preferences of the British people.

    That was my point, prior to the referendum, clearly 50% of people already thought we’d be better off out of Europe, yet also prior to the referendum that same political opinion, which had probably been on the rise, was not made clear in either the mainstream media, the political parties (apart from UKIP) and in any parliamentary legislation, in fact one could say it was the complete opposite and blatantly pro-Europe, your view that any political undercurrent would be represented somewhere in the establishment is not demonstrated in that example.

    There was no method apart from a referendum to make that political voice heard, and the same would probably be true if fascism was a latent political opinion if it did exist in the same manner, it just would be silenced until something like a referendum ignited it, and only then would it start taking effect.

    The bottom line is that British politics is a slow dinosaur, it only moves quickly when it gets a big kick, and that is very much in the order of “squeaky wheel gets the grease”, something that minority left-wing politics is exploiting to the full right now using the bogey man of “encroaching fascism” and the fantasy that most people want to live in a proto-communist utopia.

    The only fascism in this country that is expanding is the sort peddled by hard-line foreign-controlled religious theocrats, but because they are in bed with the left they don’t qualify.

  • Gallooff

    Perry I’ve been meaning to ask you. Your profile pic about the hippos– St Lucia South Africa nie waar nie?

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    I suppose you could attend fascist rallies without saying anything, even as you attack selected minorities. The main difference between Fascism and Socialism is that Fascists let you keep your own name on factories, and Socialists put ‘Peoples’ in front of it.

  • Snorri Godhi

    The main difference between Fascism and Socialism is that Fascists let you keep your own name on factories, and Socialists put ‘Peoples’ in front of it.

    Apart from the fact that i do not have my name on any factory, there are in any case 2 much more substantive differences:
    1st, there has never been a famine in a fascist country;
    2nd, no communist country has ever been overrun and occupied, except by another communist country.

    By contrast, every truly fascist regime was terminated by foreign occupation: it’s almost part of the definition of fascism, or should be.

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    3rd, trains always run on time in fascist countries.
    Is this true or false?

  • Alisa

    By contrast, every truly fascist regime was terminated by foreign occupation

    Maybe that was why none of those regimes existed long enough to reach the famine stage?

  • Snorri Godhi

    Maybe that was why none of those [fascist] regimes existed long enough to reach the famine stage?

    Yes, that is quite possible. The State, left to itself, has a tendency to grow (see Ibn Khaldun’s Muqaddimah); first, it grows to the point where “democracy” becomes unfeasible (see Road to Serfdom); then, left to itself, it presumably keeps growing until there are famines (see Venezuela today).

    The *true* fascists (Mussolini and Hitler; and, i would argue, Napoleon and Saddam) tried to find a way out of this impasse by gaining Lebensraum; but it always backfires.

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