Saturday, December 31, 2005

What’s wrong with Socialism?

The following is partly fact and partly my opinion. I will leave it to the reader to determine which is which and if in doubt, please ask.

Our great Country used to have the free enterprise system as a basis for economic freedom, which many including myself believe, is one of the two cornerstones of Liberty. There is good reason that the words “Free Enterprise” have the word “Free” in it. Much to my chagrin, we currently have a combination of Socialism and the Free Enterprise system.

Social Freedom and Economic Freedom are both necessary for true freedom. Socialism, Communism and other Authoritarian forms of economic and political interaction, all deny the freedom for one to choose his vocation based upon his desires and abilities.

A Russian friend of mine back in the late 1970’s once told me, “You Americans don’t really understand freedom. You come to my Country and see us going about our daily lives, people standing on soapboxes, complaining about various things, going to the store to buy things, etc.”

“What you don’t realize is that those on the soapbox will find that tomorrow they have been reassigned to a different factory in a different town and a much worst apartment as a punishment for daring to speak out. Their shoe rations have been cut, and they are on a ‘watch list’ from that day on.”

“This happens in China as well. When we go to the store to by food, we find that we cannot always get what we want because of government interference in our businesses. The social and economic planners and their “5 year plans” can never react quickly enough to the market needs. This causes Black Markets and crime.”

The key to understanding Economics and their theories is the understanding of human nature and not the understanding of mathematical theories of “economic equilibrium and the static state.”

The main failure of Socialism is the elimination of the need for the entrepreneurial function. With Socialism the productive are punished and the non-productive are rewarded. This is the main reason why all Socialism and Communism systems will always fail. It is the worst form of discrimination, it is discrimination based upon productivity. When all are paid whether they work or not, too many will choose to not work. We see it everyday in our welfare system. Why work for ten dollars an hour, when you can stay at home and get by on the sweat of others brows?

The second reason socialism doesn’t work is because of the problem of establishing the value of goods. While the free market system establishes value by way of supply and demand, which can be dealt with using math, i.e., V = D/S, that is to say Value is equal to Demand over Supply. (In other words, we can say the bigger the demand relative to the supply, the more the value.) In Socialism there is no mathematical formula for value because the value of production is based upon some nebulous number based upon wants and needs that either produces shortages or excess of a given product. Ludwig Von Mises calls this “The Impossibility of Economic Calculation Under Socialism.”

In the year 1620 William Bradford and other elders wrote an extraordinary charter called the “Mayflower Compact.” The original contract that the pilgrims who settled in New Plymouth, Virgina, had with their sponsors in London called for everything they produced to go into a common storehouse.

This attempt to practice socialism had very poor results and Bradford wrote in his Journal why it failed, he said, “For this community (so far as it was) was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For young men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men's wives and children without any recompense ... that was thought injustice.”

Of course it was considered unjust! It is a form of economic slavery. Humans all naturally want to find the most pleasurable jobs, that is to say the ones with the most relaxed atmosphere. This means very few want to do the “difficult or more labor intensive” jobs. Who wouldn’t or who hasn’t wished for the job of the supervisor or manager. According to many, most people perceive manual labor as a form of pain. “No pain, no gain” is just as true in economic sense as it is in physical exercise.

So, Bradford assigned each family a plot of land to work and manage for their own benefit. He then wrote, “This had very good success, for it made all hands industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been.”

It is natural for people to hope to “get ahead” or to have a more “pleasurable” life, one of leisure if you will. They do this by working hard to save for their future. When under Socialism they find that any extra work goes to someone else, they tend to do just enough to get by.

The story of the “Little Red Hen” that I grew up with has great moral value and wisdom. It tells of human nature and the problems we as a nation are facing in the years ahead. For as soon as men get a little authority they immediately begin to unjustly dominate others.

Sometimes they believe that by doing what is called “Social Engineering” they can use this power to mold others into better people. This is a form of “forcing others to become what they perceive is best for society.” The problem lies in “who” gets to become the enlightened class or who gets to do the molding or forcing. At the moment that distinction belongs to those in Washington and in the Social Elite. No matter their motives, their methods involve “force.” Socialism can only exist if it is “forced” upon a society either by a tyrant or by a vote of the majority.

Socialized medicine is just around the corner. Our great country was built upon principals of freedom. We cannot really be free under Socialism. Socialism requires people to work for others without just compensation. Some day we will learn the lesson the pilgrims and Russia learned, but we will learn it by even a harder lesson, for we will have lost the most glorious system of government ever devised by human minds.

True freedom requires both social and economic freedom. Socialism is economic force. You are forced to work partly for your neighbor without just or fair compensation. Those that get ahead are punished with a fine or fee we sometimes call a “progressive tax.”

At the moment almost half of the Budget for the U.S.A. goes to three main categories, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. This percentage will only continue to grow as we move toward even more socialism. National Health Care will ruin our economy and our great founding principals of Freedom. (In my humble opinion.)

UPDATE 01-01-06
Since I am very close to being a libertarian in many areas, (use taxes as the fairest tax, and free market), I thought I would add a new piece of infrormation from a site that I visit often called

Here is a link to a very good article on the evils of Socialism, specifically "African Socialism" and it's founder Julius Nyerere from Tanzania. Here is a qouote from the article about the dismal failure of all Socialism projects, "All these different forms of socialism not only implied huge economic waste, inefficiency and poverty but also great centralization of political power. As a consequence, African leaders gave themselves and their parties great influence. "

And finally he says, "To sum up, the rich world exported the ideas of Karl Marx instead of Adam Smith to Africa. The ideas of Marx haven’t worked anywhere and apparently they did not work in Africa either."

"Nyerere left Tanzania as one of the seven poorest countries on earth, despite receiving the highest per capita foreign aid."

Again Socialism brings "great centralization of political power" and it never works.


At 11:17 AM, Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

You wrote:

"Our great Country used to have the free enterprise system as a basis for economic freedom...."

Can you tell me when we had the free enterprise system?

At 12:39 PM, Blogger Reign of Reason said...

I'll answer: never.

The piece in written as if we started with some pure version of capitalism.

Well, regulation of some markets is needed -- unless you want an economic system based on social darwinism.

At 3:52 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

I posted the beginnings of it. The pilgrims practiced it at Plymouth City.

Since that time a true laissez-faire system has not existed anywhere that I know of, this was the foundation of what eventually became the start of what we call Capitalism.

It continued until the Corrupt Congressmen gave monopolies to Railroads and that began the Robber Barons harming our system.

The idea of each person pursuing the economic goals for themselves, makes for the best economic system for all. IMHO.

As Wikipedia says: " In the United States, support for free market economic structures is a key tenet of U.S. conservatism and libertarianism."

Also we read from Wikipedia, "For social philosophy, a free market is a system for allocating goods within a society: supply and demand within the market determine who gets what, and what is produced."

Since the free market economy means no government coercion, we know that since the Robber Barons got their bennies from Congress, it gave the government more and more license to meddle in the free market system.

It has led to the false conclusion that the government "must meddle" in order to prevent Robber Barons and other inequities.

There is a reason that "The Law of Supply and Demand" is indeed a Law, and that Libertarians support the free market as an ultimate ideal for freedom.

But, my post was to talk about the problems with Socialism not the strengths of free market economics.

ROR, in my opinion I believe that we had no government interference in the pilgrim’s version of free market, so yes, I believe we started with a pure version of Capitalism/Free Market economic enterprise.

But again I was looking for any information that shows that Socialism is working in Europe or anywhere else.

Nothing in my opinion regulates an economy better than the Law of Supply and Demand in a Free Market system.

I think there are forces at work that make it easy to defend two positions on almost any subject, so I understand that there are those who can see things differently, and I just think that if you value freedom then you value keeping the government out of our lives as much as possible. Government is "force" not freedom and Socialism by it's nature, discriminates based upon income and in essence forces involuntary servitude to other peoples wives and children, and I believe involuntary servitutde is against the Constitution.

From Wikipedia we read:

Amendment XIII (the Thirteenth Amendment) of the United States Constitution abolished slavery and, with the exception of allowing punishments for crimes, prohibits involuntary servitude. The article states:

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
The thirteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States was proposed to the legislatures of the several states by the Thirty-eighth Congress, on January 31, 1865.



At 4:50 PM, Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...


If government coercion is antitetical to the free market system, I have no idea when America was ever capitalist.
How can a country that had slavery and then legally mandated segregation be called capitalist? ROR is correct - never.

Perhaps there were communities within America that practiced capitalism, but neither the federal not state governments has respected the free market.

At 5:38 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


Just prior to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution we as a nation were capitalist.

As far as Slavery goes, Madison in his writings was very careful to not mention slavery in the Constitution. Persons are mentioned but never the word Slavery. Most founding fathers were against it, but it was legal so they had to wait until the 13th Amendment to make it illegal.

Prior to the Robber Barons the government did not "do" anthing that I can find to hinder Capitalism.

I could be wrong though. I would be most interested if someone can show me where the government interfered in Capitalism before that. I am of course just going by my memory of my Econ 101 textbook and that was quite a few years ago.

We still have a semblance of Capitalism even today, but it is getting more and more entangled with Socialism.

My problem with Socialism is founded in my belief/Religion that makes it clear that Satan is using Socialism to bring about his goals of economic slavery. Socialism is just an intermediary to communism.

All one has to do to see the problems with it is to look to the failure of every Socialized Medicine program in existance.

You are not for Socialism are you?



At 5:44 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


The more I study things like the "Ying and Yang" and the apparant Law of Universial Opposites, the more I am convinced that it is supposed to be that there is opposition in all things, including all positions in Politics, Economics and Religion.

Hence I accept that no matter what you or I will postulate, we will have good presentations of information on the other side.

I can live with that, in fact it keeps me humble and alive and having fun.



At 10:55 PM, Blogger KT4JC said...

FAR, I don't understand. If you are convinced by the "'Ying and Yang' and the apparant Law of Universial Opposites," then why do you believe that there would be "good presentations of information on the other side"? It would seem to me, on issues where two ideas contradict each other, that both could not be equally correct. According to what you have just stated, for there to even be good ideas, there must be bad ones.

At 4:19 AM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

You ask a very good question and I will try to clarify.

When I say "Good presentations of information on the other side", I mean that Satan is very clever and can help others to make good "sounding" points, by mixing truth with lies, but one side of the equation will be the correct one, and necessarily the other side will be the incorrect one as you so correctly pointed out.

Probably "clever" would have been a better choice of words than "good" but I think one side is "good/correct" and the other is "good sounding/incorrect/clever."

A good example is the courtroom. Both the prosecutor and the defense make very good presentations of information, but ultimately a jury will have to sort out the truth. Such is life and the back and forth on a myriad of subjects from Evolution to Socialism.

I am sure that I am wrong on many occasions, but I am also sure that I am presenting good sounding information, or at least to some it will sound good.

The problem for all is to know when the information is true and when it is false. I think often we need spiritual guidance to really know because again of the mixing of truth with lies. Take for example Evolution. It has true information such as Natural Selection and Adaptation, but has lies such as “organic evolution.” And it sure makes for good discussions.

If you tell 5 truths and one lie, blend and stir, you often get difficult to discern information.

If it were easy to convince everyone which side was correct, we would all be of one mind and one worldview.

I hope I have cleared up my statement, as I value your opinion.

Thanks for stopping by.



At 5:01 PM, Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

Here is where the contradiction is your argument lies. You say that a nation that had slavery was capitalist, a point with which I strongly disagree. You then say that your "problem with Socialism is founded in my belief/Religion that makes it clear that Satan is using Socialism to bring about his goals of economic slavery."

You are arguing that Socialism brings about economic slavery but real physical slavery doesn't bring about economic slavery. Massive contradiction in terms FAR.

America was founded on slavery, regardless of whether the founding fathers or the Constitution said a peep about it.

At 9:14 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


You are right that real physical slavery does bring about economic slavery for those who had slaves, but it is a stretch to say that the idea of slavery was a "founding principal." Especially when half the country fought a war to get rid of such an evil practice.

People in the U.S. make and made mistakes and did wrong things, but that should never detract from the ideals and principals of freedom that the constitution stands for.

This administration is a good example of this and so was the Clinton administration. Administrations that do bad things should not detract from the principals that this great Constitution stands for....freedom from government interference in our lives and in our businesses.



At 9:45 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

It is a known fact that slavery was introduced nearly 200 years before the founding fathers.

The clear majority of the founders were against slavery.

Benjamin Franklin explained that one of the reasons we wanted to get away from Britain was because every attempt by the Colonies to end slavery had been stopped or reversed by the British Crown.

Many of the founders who had owned slaves released them, Johh Dickerson, Ceasar Rodney, William Livingston, George Washington, Gorge Wythe, John Randolph, just to mention a few.

Even in the South the only founders from the South who favored slavery were from North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

Even before the 13th Amendment, many of the Founders pushed for states such as Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, and New Jersey to get rid of slavery and they did.

Also one of the signers of the Constitution, Rufus King, authored a federal law that outlawed slavery for Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa. This was again all done before the 13th Amendment.

Again the clear majority of the founders were opposed to the evil of slavery and many spoke out against it often and worked hard to abolish it and with much success.

I commend them for opposing slavery and working so hard to get rid of the almost two century old evil practice.

The founders often talked about slavery being against their Christian principals and that they must get rid of such evil.



At 9:57 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


Could you comment on this quote from the Libertarian Q&A page?

from here

"A8. How would libertarians fund vital public services?
By privatizing them. Taxation is theft -- if we must have a government, it should live on user fees, lotteries, and endowments. A government that's too big to function without resorting to extortion is a government that's too big, period. Insurance companies (stripped of the state-conferred immunities that make them arrogant) could use the free market to spread most of the risks we now "socialize" through government, and make a profit doing so."

At 9:35 AM, Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

Actions speak louder than words FAR. The founding fathers said a lot about slavery and still owned them. That is called hypocrisy.

Half of America did not fight to abolish slavery. Half of America fought to keep the agricultural south from seceding. Also, once the 13th Amendment came along, Jim Crowe laws replaced it. How is Plessy v. Ferguson compatible with capitalism? How is segregation compatible with capitalism? It is one thing to make mistakes. You can't call it a mistake when the suffering is intentionally inflicted for over 200 years.

Where does the Constitution say we are free from interference with our businesses?

By the way, in re-reading your post, there is one thing missing. There is no country on earth that has ever been communist. According to Marx's theory, a nation must be capitalist before communist because the technology of capitalism is a necessary prerequisite to sustain communism. Every so-called "communist" nation went from feudalism to communism, skipping the essential capitalist step in between. If Marx's linear view of history is correct, America or England would probably be the prime candidates for socialism according to his philosophies.

What about the libertarian quote? I don't disagree with you about socialism. I disagree with the underlying premise of your argument.

At 1:06 PM, Blogger Bill Lama said...

I agree with your premise and much of what you say about socialism. It never has worked and never will.

The commentary has veered off into side issues like slavery ... but that's behind us now. I'd like to return to your main argument.

The 20th century was the era of failed totaliarian socialism under Stalin, Mao and many others. It's a plain fact that such a system of "economic slavery" robs people of energy and hope. It still raises its ugly head (eg in Venezuela) but reasonable men agree it is evil.

In this century the problem is self imposed socialism. Yes, it can exist even if not "forced upon a society." Toqueville, when he visited America in 1835, recognized a danger that citizens might cede their independence to a benevolent government that labored for their happiness but “chose to be the sole agent and only arbiter of that happiness.” (See palosverdesblog 9/2/05)

Back home Tocqueville wrote “Memoirs on Pauperism” where he attributed the gross pauperism in Britain to the Elizabethan right to public assistance that was unique in Europe at that time.

He realized that humans, as thinking beings, would tend to take advantage of entitlements leading to voluntary idleness. The resulting social pathology destroyed both kindness and gratitude and dissolved the social bonds that protected people from the worst.

But I have hope for America. The wefare reform enacted in the 1990s (thanks to Newt) stemmed the trend toward socialism in the US. The sclerotic economies in Europe (especially Germany, France, Italy) provide a living lesson in the consequences of too much socialism. Americans see this and look at our broken cities (NOLA comes to mind) and rightly lean toward free enterprise.

We must keep up the good fight.

At 1:54 PM, Blogger Stalin the Shark said...

A couple of points, if I may.

First, socialism is defined as public ownership of the means of production. You're using the term in the standard right-wing way of 'anything that benefits someone other than me is socialism'.

Second, I doubt that your assessment of Plymouth as a capitalist paradise is correct. I say this because presumably, as an English colony, the Elizabethan Poor Law, which mandated community care for the poor, would have been in effect. By your definition, of course, that constitutes 'socialism'.

Third, arguably, the regulatory efforts of FDR and the New Deal saved capitalism in this country, by establishing firm ground rules to protect consumers and citizens as well as market efficiency. You seem not to realize that a society rests on its members' belief that they have a stake in outcomes, which is not assured by pure capitalism, due to the power of monopolies, which are the natural fruit of capitalism itself. Pure capitalistic theory always assumes a level playing field and exclusively positive rewards for efforts, which do not occur in the real world.

Fourth, both capitalism and socialism rest on a fallacy about human nature. The former assumes that all humans will act rationally in their best interest, which is untrue; while the latter assumes that the motivational force of personal gain can be ignored or supplanted, which is also untrue.

Fifth, apropos of slavery, take a look at the confederate constitution; it left out the 'socialist' general welfare clause, and required a two-thirds legislative majority to authorize government spending. Property, in slaves and otherwise, was sacrosanct under that document; odd how that mirrors arguments you've made elsewhere. In a sense, the confederacy, by making even humans negotiable instruments for sale to the highest bidder, was the highwater mark of the free market.

As to healthcare, lastly, I would say that by the standard capitalist measure of efficiency in terms of outcomes and costs, other countries with regulated systems do much better. We spend about twice as much per capita as do France, Germany, Swizterland, and others, but have a coverage gap of 20% of the under-65 population, lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, and so on. You're arguably doing capitalism a disservice by making its maintenance contingent on the inefficient and wasteful monstrosity that is the US healthcare system.

:-), Stalin the contrarian shark

At 2:04 PM, Blogger Stalin the Shark said...

Oh, interesting. Lama is a good example of what happens when people know too little history, which is becoming a pet peeve of mine.

The Elizabethan Poor Law was the main reason why England had a much lower poverty rate than the rest of Europe. Further reading is here.

As to the sclerotic economies of Europe, again, I find it of note that France - yes, France - has a higher manhour productivity rate than does this country, while several European countries have a higher standard of living than we do.

:-), StS

At 2:12 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


Lsts try just a few items at a time.

you said: "Pure capitalistic theory always assumes a level playing field and exclusively positive rewards for efforts, which do not occur in the real world."

Could you show me where you get this "level playing field" stuff?



At 2:12 PM, Blogger Little Miss Chatterbox said...

This line says it all: "With Socialism the productive are punished and the non-productive are rewarded. This is the main reason why all Socialism and Communism systems will always fail." It can't be said any better than that.

John Smith learned a difficult lesson at Jamestown when some of the colonists were lazy. He finally had to make a new rule: "He who will not work shall not eat!" It was amazing how productive the lazy men became after that.

At 2:17 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


Also if the government "runs" all businesses, then they escentially own them.

Free ownership is only true if one has "full control" of his property.

If my government tells me who to hire, and who I cannot fire, etc., then in all intents and purposes, I don't own my business, we the people do.

Having said than, then I gusess we could say "Western Socialism" might be a better definition of what we have, since the owners of a business still have some say in it.

So, good point. I will change my semantics to "Western Socialism" as the type that I am referring to.




At 2:21 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


You keep me on my toes and allow me to rethink my reasoning, and I sincerely thank you for that.

One thing in this New Year that I want to resolve is to do better with making my posts clearer and to listen to others more instead of just thinking about what I am going to say next. This is a fault of most people, as in general they are poor listeners.

Now, to your comment that; "Actions speak louder than words FAR. The founding fathers said a lot about slavery and still owned them. That is called hypocrisy."

Yes they still owned them even thou most of them, and I could give you many, many quotes from most of the founding fathers telling how much they abhorred it, they could not set them free by law. The King forbid it.

But suffice it to say that while many of them could not by law set them free, as there were laws that forbid emancipation, read how George Washington pulled an end run on the laws against setting slaves free and it will shed newfound admiration for the founding fathers, at least it did for me.

I gave you deeds that the founders did and not just their words.

To sum it up, the founding fathers inherited a slavery problem, they did not invent it. They abhorred it and fought valiantly against it.

Washington wrote of a huge dilemma, he hated the thought of slavery, but since the only way he could not own them was to sell them he had to figure a legal way to free them. He wrote that he had twice as many as was needed to be able to pay his taxes, and if he sold half of them he could actually be debt free, and then he could sell the rest and live comfortably for the rest of his life. But, he disliked the idea of selling people equally as much as buying them, and so he continued to loose money rather that participating further in such a evil practice. He eventually was able to free them with some ingenuity though and I am so proud of him for his part in emancipation.

The founding fathers actions of working to end slavery is well documented as history is full of examples of their work to free the slaves.

All men are created equal was their goal and they worked tirelessly to accomplish that goal.

Plessy v. Ferguson is bigotry by the SCOTUS as was the Dred Scott v. Sanford decision. People can be bigots even though systems, (free market capitalism,etc.), may not be.

The Declaration of Independence speaks volumes about the ideals of the founding fathers….”All men are created equal” and that principal should have been a guiding thought by both of those SCOTUS courts.

People are not perfect and even though we try to legislate morality, we cannot do it in most cases.

Stealing, murder and other things that 100% of the populations agree on as being immoral can be legislated, but other things like bigotry and other hateful hearts, thoughts and actions cannot. Find the hate for a race, a group, etc, and there is the evil. Hate is wrong, but it is difficult if not impossible to legislate.




At 2:32 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


Christ makes it clear as to being able to work for a living and not being on the dole, he said: "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel." - ( 1 Tim 5:8 )



At 2:44 PM, Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

01 02 06

FAR Great post. I am late so I just wanted to ask II about this quote:
"lies. You say that a nation that had slavery was capitalist, a point with which I strongly disagree. You then say that your "problem with Socialism is founded in my belief/Religion that makes it clear that Satan is using Socialism to bring about his goals of economic slavery."

II: you don't think that CHATTEL slavery is capitalist? I always looked at the transcontinental slave trade as the first MODERN DAY WTO. Now, as much as the institution pissed me off for even existing, the buying and selling of humans and even human body parts is quite capitalist. It is just bereft of ethics. Capitalism magazine even did an article last month about selling body parts, if one has the capacity to do so. Why do you think that slavery isn't capitalistic? Just curious. Glad to see you and FAR posting:)

At 2:47 PM, Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

01 02 06

OK FAR: Now I wanna understand this statement by you:
"To sum it up, the founding fathers inherited a slavery problem, they did not invent it. They abhorred it and fought valiantly against it."

Um FAR, perhaps you should review the history books and NOT MSM books (ha ha ha) but books written by LEGAL scholars about the laws that the founding fathers CREATED to LEGALLY subjugate slaves etc. Leon J. Higginbotham is such an author. I will come back later to this topic. Great post and Happy New Year!

At 2:53 PM, Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...


If you accept the premise that capitalism is based upon freedom (i.e. freedom of choice), then slavery and capitalism are, by definition, inherently incompatible. Once you start defining a group of humans as property to use for another's ends, you are in socialism and communism.

I understand your argument, but to accept slavery as capitalism is to accept that capitalism can be based upon the involuntary participation of some or all people. If that is the case, how is it distinguishable from capitalism or communism?

At 2:56 PM, Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...


If what you say about the founding fathers is correct, I will have a much better opinion of them. I've got some reading to do.

Bigotry by the Supreme Court is bigotry by the government. Indeed, it is bigotry of the worst kind since they are entrusted to interpret the Constitution. By the way, separate-but-equal does not necessarily run afoul of the Constitution. Read Brown v. Board and you will see that the Supreme Court did serious gymnastics to reach its conclusion. Segregation is antithetical to a free market, but not necessarily to Americanism.

At 3:14 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


One of my sources is one of the great professors of our time (IMHO), and he is African-American professor Walter Williams.

Here is a quote by him about how the MSM lies about our founding fathers to discredit the Constitution and the fathers themselves.

""Politicians, news media, college professors and leftists of other stripes are selling us lies and propaganda. To lay the groundwork for their increasingly successful attack on our Constitution, they must demean and criticize its authors."

I'll take his understanding and views on the history of slaves in America before any MSM.



At 3:25 PM, Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...


If this quote is attributable to that professor, he has little credibility. "Politicians, news media, college professors and leftists of other stripes are selling us lies and propaganda. To lay the groundwork for their increasingly successful attack on our Constitution, they must demean and criticize its authors."

This is empty rhetoric.

First, I have yet to see an "increasingly successful attack on our Constitution" that tops anything from the so-called right and the Bush worshippers.

Second, he accepts the assumption that we have to revere the founding fathers as holy prophets in order to respect the Constitution, but we do not. Even if the founding fathers wore pink underwear, worshipped Satan and ate puppies and kittens for dinner, the Constitution says what it says.

He has accepted the assumptions made by his opponents and that is why his statement is invalid. Doesn't sound like a very bright professor to me regardless of his race.

At 3:29 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

More about Professor Williams:

The records of the Constitutional Convention make clear that the three-fifths clause was actually an antislavery provision. As Professor Walter Williams explains:

"It was slavery's opponents who succeeded in restricting the political power of the South by allowing them to count only three-fifths of their slave population in determining the number of congressional representatives. The three-fifths of a vote provision applied only to slaves, not to free blacks in either the North or South." (emphasis added)

The three-fifths clause was not a measurement of human worth; it was an attempt to reduce the number of pro-slavery proponents in Congress. By including only three-fifths of the total numbers of slaves into the congressional calculations, Southern states were actually being denied additional pro-slavery representatives in Congress.

While there were a few Founding Fathers who were pro-slavery, the truth is that it was the Founders who were responsible for planting and nurturing the first seeds for the recognition of black equality and for the eventual end of slavery. This is a fact made clear by Richard Allen.

Allen had been a slave in Pennsylvania, but was freed after he converted his master to Christianity. A close friend of Benjamin Rush and several other Founding Fathers, he went on to become the founder of the A.M.E. Church in America. In an early address entitled "To the People of Color," Allen reminded them:

"Many of the white people [who] have been instruments in the hands of God for our good, even such as have held us in captivity, are now pleading our cause with earnestness and zeal."
-Richard Allen

Facts are facts, and there are lots of history that can be quoted here to back up the fact that most founders were against slavery and made it clear they were.

I am sure that there are those who have a agenda that can find other quotes to show the opposite.

Spin, is spin, and maybe others are spinning it the way I am presenting it. But, if that is true, then the reverse is also true.

It's kind of like going to the doctor to get an "expert" opinion, only to find that the doctor you just saw said just the opposite and with equal sounding evidence.

We all have our worldview and find things that support it.

Which worldview is true if we have two sides to every position that sound good to each side? And both are of equal passion that they are right?

It is not "who" is right that matters, it is "what" is right that matters.

Perhaps only with spiritual guidance can we really discern the truth.



At 3:39 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


I love this comment by you:

"Even if the founding fathers wore pink underwear, worshipped Satan and ate puppies and kittens for dinner, the Constitution says what it says."

I feel exactly the same way, but I have heard others try the ploy of "if Joe Stalin makes what appears to be a great moral point, then perhaps we should rethink it as he was not a moral man."

Professor Williams futher said: "As Senator Joe Biden demonstrated during the Clarence Thomas hearings, the framers' ideas about natural law must be trivialized or they must be seen as racists."

He is a very good professor, I have heard him speak and he was wonderful. IMHO.



At 3:46 PM, Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

The notion of attacking the author, not the argument, is a ploy by half-whits to detract from facts and truth. Your Stalin point goes precisely to your sentiment that "it is not "who" is right that matters, it is "what" is right that matters." Can you imagine if this sentiment were not true? An evil leader could negate the wisdom of a message by the mere act of uttering it. That is an absurdity.

There are plenty of people whose actions and philosophies I do not like, but when they say something correct, I have to give credit where credit is due. Even Bush and I think he is scum.

At 3:51 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


Yes, I agree with this statement: "the Elizabethan Poor Law, which mandated community care for the poor, would have been in effect. By your definition, of course, that constitutes 'socialism'.

My understanding was that the Mayflower Compact was done the way it was "because" of the Elizabethan Poor law and that is why they put all in a common storehouse.

When this method failed he found that by using Capitalism, there was enough left over for the charitable folks to provide for the poor and so the Poor law as upheld in a new way. A way that produced far more food.

Make sense?



At 3:54 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


Great point. :)

I couldn't agree more that it is the message that counts not the messenger.

But, some people will still fall for their scam of personality attacks.

I am glad we are on the same page that the Constitution is a wonderful document no matter if those that penned it were not perfect.



At 3:58 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


" Even Bush and I think he is scum."

Pronouns are sometimes ambigous...who is the "he"?



At 4:57 PM, Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

I left a comment on someone's blog the other day that I think that Bush would sell his mother for $1 is Halliburton wanted her. What I forgot to add was that he would also agree to repurchase her with taxpayers' money at an inflated mark-up price so that Halliburton could make a profit. That is the Bush definition of capitalism.

At 5:28 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


While I like everyone, yes even Clinton and Kerry, (I don't like their politics, but I am sure that they would be interesting folks to get to know), I find yours and sharky's wit and humor fun and funny. (Bush is not my father or relative, so I don't take offense.)



At 5:52 PM, Blogger Stalin the Shark said...

Interesting discussion.

As regards the question of the founders and their views of slavery, I suggest to all a book I just finished: Wilentz, Sean, "The Rise of American Democracy", Norton, New York, 2005. Long slog, but worth it.

As far as the founders are concerned, especially in their views of slavery, it's safe to say that neither hagiography or demonization fit. They were pragmatists, and kicked the slavery problem down the road - witness the 20-year window for importation and the fact that slavery isn't even named in the constitution. Jefferson especially wrestled with the issue, and the consensus at the time seems to have been that slavery would simply wither away. If the question is whether the framers believed in full, color-blind equality and just didn't get around to establishing it, that's simply false. That doesn't make the founders bad people, but it does make them men of their times. I think it's a mistake to make them retroactively live up to the norms we've reached, as a society, with much turmoil, anguish and war, two centuries later.

As to the question of an implied level playing field, I think it's safe to say that the apostles of capitalism, when they gush about invisible hands and rising tides, present a best-case scenario, and that implies said level field.

What I find is absent from these more ethereal discussions about the virtues of capitalism is any discussion of society and the greater good. It's clear, arguably, that the central metric of capitalism is profit. The problem is that there are social goods - health, education, defense come to mind - that need to be measured by other metrics. Or where exactly, just to name one example, should the proper value of a public library be: in profit, or community service?

Discussions of pure theory and ideal outcomes are all very well and good, but frankly, you're missing a central question: what best serves all of us as individuals and as members of a society? Our systems exist to serve us, and not the other way around; that was the larger point of my recent post about Milton Friedman's lab rats.

:-), StS

At 7:21 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


Your motives are good and I appreciate that. You honestly belive in the line from Star Track where Spock sacrifices himself for the "greater good."

We both are eager to solve the problems of helping those less fortunate, the difference being the "best" method to do this.

I will outline my views more on this in my next post which will be "Part Two" on Socialism, although the Title will not seem to be connected.

Libertairians and Free Market Conservatives, and those in between like me, believe that People acting in their own self interest can best serve society as happend in the Pilgrims experiment in Capaitalism.

When people are guarenteed a "free lunch" they loose their drive to provide for themselves. It is the nature of man to do as little work as possible if he sees a lack of hope to ever become rich. Of course I am generalizing, but we need to do that at times to proclaim trends that help us understand human psychology.

Sometimes only those who are willing to risk much can ever expect to make giant strides in their upward mobility.

Here is the key, "without the right to fail, we loose the right to succeed."

As Winston Churchill said, "Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery."

You probably wont agree with me about Churchill, but I believe he was one of the 10 greatest men to ever live on this planet.

He wrote 50 books, all but one of his own speeches, held all but one position in the British Parliment, if my memory serves me.



At 9:58 PM, Blogger Stalin the Shark said...


Churchill also said that the best investment a nation can make is to put milk into babies, and he's right.

The problem with your quote is that you have a wholly different understanding of socialism than did Churchill. You define any kind of collective action as socialism, he (and I) do not.

When you speak of failure as the price for the chance at success, then where are the limits to that failure? How much of this failure can we as a society tolerate before we lose our cohesion? What are the incentives for the failed to remain law-abiding members of society, other than brute force? By contrast, is there any limit to the rewards of success, or is a scenario as in pre-revolutionary France, where the royal court consumed a quarter of GDP, tolerable?

I do believe in the idea of a greater good, and that our society has common goals that we can only achieve together. I don't think you disagree with that. The difference is in how those goals are defined.

I'll restate my earlier criticism: your view has no room for community and collective action, no matter how desirable that may be for society. We know, from the first third of the last century, that capitalism without safeguards and some kind of stake for everyone in it is unhealthy for our society.

Or, to state it otherwise, this kind of communitarian action and a basic floor below which no one can fall is, in a very real sense, the price of your freedom and mine. Are you willing to pay it? or not?

:-), StS

At 10:25 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


Your points are well taken and will require some thought.

I think that communities that were organized by volunteer workers like the salvation army or the red cross could be utilized to help those in need if the padagim were changed, but we probably will never know because of being so entrenched in the current process.

I do see where you are coming from and I respect the concern.

I also agree that we both want a solution and we both see different methods as being the best way.



At 12:47 PM, Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

01 04 06

Hey FAR and II: Good conversation. II this is where we disagree:
"MSR -

If you accept the premise that capitalism is based upon freedom (i.e. freedom of choice), then slavery and capitalism are, by definition, inherently incompatible. Once you start defining a group of humans as property to use for another's ends, you are in socialism and communism."

I don't believe that capitalism is based on freedom. That is AynRandian. I think of capitalism as an economic system where things are bought and sold. There have been many examples of capitalism even in theocratic and monarchia societies, neither of which are rooted in individual liberties. In fact, I think that any economic system doesn't have an inherent moral backbone and is subject to the morals of the society that adopts such systems. YES SLAVERY is capitalistic, simply capitalism acting without a moral backbone. I have never asserted that capitalism is based upon individual freedoms, although I WISH it was. That is not the case. I can buy and sell anything and not give a darn about where the goods come from, nor who I am selling them to. I think the term "Black Market" denotes an economic system that isn't subject to regulation and indeed social morals. Like selling crack cocaine to a crackhead; that is a transaction where money and or goods are exchanged but there is nothing moral about it!

FAR: Walter Williams is intelligent but NOT an authority on colonial law. He has a PhD in economics and although I respect his opinion am often at odds with him. I will comment on your current post now to explain. Good thread.

At 8:20 PM, Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...


If capitalism can involve involuntary servitude, then how do you distinguish it from communism? Particularly since you would most likely need the power of the state to convince the slave he is not a human, but a piece of property.

At 7:24 AM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

Under our form of governmnet that our founders envisioned, all "persons" are "free", which means that there is no "legal" possibility of involunatary servitude and if it is applied correcty, there should not be any control of property, (business), by the government either. The only allowed control is when someone is infringing upon someone else's rights.

Under "Authoritarian" forms of government, there is little freedom and people under socialism and communism are not "free" because of the control of the state over both the individual and the economy.

The problem with big business is that it is amoral, it would sell it's morals to make a profit, but that is a price of freedom, it allows people to be stupid as long as it doesn't infringe upon others freedom.



At 1:21 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


In other words, I do think that there is a connection between the "Free Market" aspect of capitalism in that it implies that in a "free" country where there is supposed to be freedom of interference from the government, there is an implied freedom for "a business transaction between any two consenting adults" to be free from interference of the "force" of our government.

And yes, this means that I have inclinations toward "legalization" of drugs "in private."

If Alcohol is legal, why isn't marijuana?



At 1:57 PM, Blogger Stalin the Shark said...

"[T]here is an implied freedom for "a business transaction between any two consenting adults" to be free from interference of the "force" of our government"

But you have a problem with gay marriage.

At 4:16 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


Yep, I know this one seems conflicting, so let me explain.

I have no problem with gay people doing whatever in private, what I object to is the government sactioning things that are non-traditional.

Here is the thing about "rules and regulations" when it comes to "licenses."

Blind people are excluded from driving as are people who cannot read road signs.

In marriage, no one should be able to marry a person that is already married. So, having said that we all can agree that all marriages should have restrictions, including a person below a certian age, say a 7 year old.

So that means that according to the 14th Amendment as long as the law is applied equally, then there is no problem.

A hetrosexual male cannot marry a man, and a homosexual male cannot marry a man, so the law is applied equally.

All men must marry a women, and all women must marry a man. Again equally applied.

So, no interference in two consenting adults in having unnatrual sex or drafting their own contract. No one will stop them.



At 8:49 PM, Blogger Stalin the Shark said...


I'm sorry, but you're right: your position is contradictory, and your reasoning to explain away the discrepancy is not satisfactory.

The reason is this: heterosexuals are permitted to enter into the conract of their choice. Homosexuals are not. Contrary to what you say, that is an arbitrary distinction that will probably not survive its first 14th amendment challenge; hence all the talk about constitutional amendments.

Think it through.

:-), StS

At 8:00 AM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


"heterosexuals are permitted to enter into the conract of their choice."

No there not. I am a hetrosexual and I have exactly the same restrictions as a homosexual.

I cannot marry a man, I cannot mary a married female, I cannot marry an underaged person.

Of the above restrictions, which one do you claim I am able to skirt around?

Please be specific and don't just say that I have more rights, I cannot marry the person of my choice either if I choose one of the restrictions above for me.

If your trying to say that I can marry a man and a homosexual cannot, that is not true.

Just answer this one question.

Can I, a hetrosexual, marry a man?



At 1:38 PM, Blogger Stalin the Shark said...

No, FAR, you can't. Presumably, however, you also have no desire to do so. If someone has that desire, that changes things, no?

We don't allow adults to marry children for reasons that have to do with the child, not the adult. A child can't give informed consent. You're not allowed to marry a close relative because that would increase the likelihood of birth defects in offspring. A good reason to prohibit bigamy is contractual surety, since spouses acquire property rights.

The long and the short of it is that your stance is informed by anti-gay bias. There's no rational basis underlying the gender-combination restriction, and it goes against the 14th amendment's equal protection clause.

If you were truly a libertarian, you'd understand that instinctively.

:-), StS

At 2:36 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


A woman just yesterday married a dauphin, and I have known "best friends" who were not gay but wanted to share things and so wanted to get married. They were hetrosexual and had girlfriends.

As far as the 14th goes, the question I posed is the only basis to say the 14th applies.

It applies to sex, race, and sexual preference. In all three areas the rule applies. A hetrosexual male cannot marry a male.

My reasons have nothing to do with ant-gay bias. I think they should be able to do anything in private, but just as I don't think people should be able to have sex on every street corner where children could see and therefore because of the impact on society, I am therefore a little to the left of libertarian.

Your statement "We don't allow adults to marry children for reasons that have to do with the child, not the adult." Is the same reason I am against gay marriage.

I believe it is important for every child to have a mother and a father. To deny that right is to take away the unique perspective that only a mother and a father can bring to a child. Please try to remove yourself from your perspective and try to see that one just for a moment, as I try to put myself in your shoes to see your point, always.

My belief in natural child rearing is based upon the fact that nature made it so only a man and a woman could procreate.

Ever heard the saying "Only a Mothers love could...?"

Mothers then to be more compassionate because of their nature. People can try to tell us that there is no difference, but we all know that is a lie. Only a fool would try to say that the sexes are the same.

80% of criminals in prison have the link of "no father" in the home. It is THE most common thread.

But anyway, my point is that it is all about the unique traits that each sex brings to the upbringing of a child. Are there exceptions? I am sure that there are.

But what is best for the children in the Social sense? A Mother and a Father are.



At 2:49 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

"A good reason to prohibit bigamy is contractual surety, since spouses acquire property rights."

I hesitated to post this one just yet for fear you would skip over my last one, but I must go for a couple of hours, so I thought I would also say that the above point about contractual surety, is also a concern for many against gay marriage.

Example: Two gay males marry and a week later adopt. The very next week they get divorced. Who gets the child? And what happens if they both remarry but one marries a female? Should the mother/father relationship take precedence? If I were the judge it would. Judges have way too much subjective power.
Witness the guy who raped a 7 year old girl for four years and the judge gives him 60 days in jail?



At 10:18 PM, Blogger Stalin the Shark said...


here's a thought: here you are constructing elaborate, somewhat tortured encyclopedias about why gay marriage should not be allowed under your 'libertarian' framework, when you could do the opposite just by pointing to the full body of your beliefs and saying "Gay marriage is consistent with what I otherwise believe about the rights of individuals".

I think you realize that, which is why your arguments are getting ever more elaborate.

:-), StS

At 6:22 AM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


"constructing elaborate"

Not really. I think that the opposite point of view is "victum" driven" and not libertarian driven.
And my view is three simple main points. And I could just limit it to the first point only.

Let me explain.

It should be about three things, and three things only. First the 14th Amdendment, second what is good for society, and third States Rights.

First point, the 14th.
- Both homosexual and hetrosexual males cannot marry a male. This point really says it all. The only comeback is emotional and is irrelevant. This is the strongest point against changing marriage. Your point that " you also have no desire to do so. If someone has that desire, that changes things, no?" No! It disconnects subject from object. Meaning what if I wanted to marry two single women if I "desire" to and a homosexual doesn't, does that change anything? - No! - same logic, and same problem. Desire has nothing to do with equal application of the law. If it gets overturned on this point, it will strictly be Agenda driven and not facts.

Second point it is not good for society because of the children who will be denied the right to have a mother and a father.

Third point it should be left up to the states to decide because there is no violation of the 14th.

That sums up my points. Please concentrate on the first point.

How is the 14th being misapplied if the only argument against it is "desire?" If a hetro desires to marry 50 woment "should" that change anything? You can't logically say yes! Only emotionally.



At 12:04 PM, Blogger Stalin the Shark said...


if you really want to go that route, I would have to point out that the Civil Rights Act, which is based on the 14th amendment, expressly forbids making gender the basis of laws. So your application of gender exclusion in marriage laws seems legally unsound. There's a reason for all this talk about constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage, because equal protection for gay individuals can only be achieved by allowing it. Your argument that heterosexual and gay men both can't marry men is facile.

My intent here isn't to go into the arcana of equal protection, but to point out to you that you make major exceptions from your claimed basic libertarian framework. I say this without rancor, but it appears from my perspective that your logic contains several deep fissures you can't quite bridge without doing some serious acrobatics. For example, in our discussion some weeks ago about your claimed right to not have to pay taxes if you don't like their destination (to simplify somewhat), you were advocating a position that essentially demanded that legal frameworks or social outcomes have no bearing on your rights. Now, you're advancing legalistic parsing to defend a position that is at odds with the libertarian view.

:-), StS

At 9:41 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


First let me clarify a point.

You said that I said: "your claimed right to not have to pay taxes if you don't like their destination."

Not a good sumation of my point. I believe that I owe all taxes that the government says I owe. I might think that some taxes are immoral or not constitutional, but until someone challenges them in court to be so, I do not claim the right to not have to pay them.

Next. I admit that I am not a "full-fledged Libertiarian" so I have no problem saying that I have some beliefs that allow moderation of some rights, just as I am sure you are not the Left wingnut that Michael Moore is and that you are slightly to the right of him, YES?



At 9:49 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


I am sure that even a Libertarian will admit that they should not be able to scream "Fire" in a movie theater, and thus there are restrictions on all rights.

The key belief is that we should all be free to do whatever we want as long as we do not infringe on the rights of others.

Now, my contention with gay marriage is that it is not a "right" but a license, just as driving is not a right but a "license."

You do not think that driving is a right do you?

And what about marriage? Is Marriage in the Constitution? How about driving?

I think that children are "harmed" by not allowing a mother and a father, whereas you will claim that the rights of gays are violated.

I will calim that the rights of a baby are violated by partial birth abortion, while you will claim the right of the mother is paramount.

We both have good points or else there would not be two sides with so many on them. Neither side are idiots.



At 3:42 PM, Blogger Stalin the Shark said...

What policy examples can you name that would put Michael Moore on the 'far left'?

I ask because it seems to me that 'far-left', coming from the right, usually describes any vigorous critic of the reich wing, no matter their actual policy views. I mean, Howard Dean is a small-town doctor and NRA member, but to hear some in the reichwing noise machine tell it, he's Trotsky without the latter's redeeming qualities.

:-), StS

At 4:59 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


Michael Moore is to the left what the John Birch Society is to the right. Both sides believe there is a conspiracy under every rock.

There is plenty more that I could say about his views. But, even though I'm sure he is nice in person, his views on things are radically wierd.

Sufice it to say, I have heard most people on the left that I know who are rational, reasonable people, distance themselves as fast as possible from his views.



At 11:06 AM, Blogger Christopher J. Colna said...

Is the US a Democracy?

No. It is an aristocracy.

A government of the wealthy, by the wealthy, and for the wealthy.

The rich billionaire coporations donate money to campaigns and "put" politicians in office to service their own greedy capitalistic nature.

We live in an aristocracy where 10% of the wealth is controlled by the great majority (90%) and the 90% of the wealth is controlled or owned by only a small minority 10%. No once can dispute this at it is proven. It is well known to the educated citizen and can be found in many economic textbooks.

So, just focus on the above paragraph and tell me if America is not an aristocracy.

When debating with my friend about whether it is good for the government to come in and set prices, he said, "yes, I think I would like that". More regulation is needed and the minimum wage must be raised to a living wage.

It has been calculated that just the amount of money Americans spend on cosmetics could be used to cure world starvation.

Wake up people. 2/3 of the world IS STARVING. Kids.

Right here right now, Sept. 2007.

Anthony Demello wrote about this in his book and 'suddenly died'.

Whats wrong with capitalism with the current regulations is that those who work the hardest earn peanuts and those who work little earn millions. Is this just and moral?

yeah, I think I would like the government to come in and set some prices for SOME commodities like food, clothing, and shelter. Maybe even gas too.

But who am I?

I am reluctant to attach my name, becuase I dont want to go to jail.

I will anyway.

Christopher J. Colna

At 12:49 AM, Blogger Eugene O'Brien said...

Your comments were quite interesting, but perhaps you should have re-thought the statement "for we will have lost the most glorious system of government ever devised by human minds". It really lowers the intelectual level of the article considerably to jingoistic bombastic, nationalism. This statement also assumes you have detailed knowledge of every system of government ever devised by human minds, which is of course absurd. Also how exactly do you rate the 'gloriousness' of a system of government, happiness of the people, social stability, international co-operation, or simply GDP. I'm assuming you simply mean the latter, as in most other ways the American capitalist system is failing dismally.

Also as with all capitalist systems, America's relies heavily on cheap imports from 3rd world countries. I have as yet to see an example anywhere in the world of a capitalist economy which does not exploit cheap 3rd world labour.


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