Thursday, April 14, 2011

Scientology & Objectivism Are 2 Equally Crazy Cults!

There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs ~ John Rogers, a screenwriter who resides in Los Angeles CA.

For many, Rand's Objectivism was a way station between L Ron Hubbard's Dianetics and Werner Erhard's est... not only has the Objectivist movement been a classic cult as defined in the dictionary, it may arguably be viewed as a destructive psychotherapeutic-religious cult ~ Jeff Walker, author of "The Ayn Rand Cult" (a quote from his book; published 1998).

If you know anything about Scientology it's probably something regarding how nutty it is. This is the religion founded by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. Scientology postulates that all of humanities' problems are the result of an extraterrestrial ghost infestation. These ET specters, which Hubbard calls "body thetans" parasitically latch on to nearby humans, feeding them bad vibes. Only followers of Mr. Hubbard know how to exorcise the otherworldly spirits through a process called auditing, which is provided by the church for a fee. In other words it's a money making scam designed to separate fools from their money.

Another crazy cult you may or may not have heard of is Objectivism. Whereas Scientology appeals to those who are mentally ill, Objectivism appeals to sociopaths of the Gordon Gekko variety who believe greed is virtuous. Politically these rational-self-interest types are Libertarian or Republican. The leader of the Objectivist cult was a Russian immigrant and atheist who was born Alisa Rosenbaum but changed her name to Ayn Rand. Oddly enough many right-wing Christians have succumbed to her free market fantasies. They must believe that they can worship two gods.

While I'm sure that Objectivists would take exception to being classified as crazy cultists similar in any way to the loons that practice Scientology, I'm not going to make any significant additional comparisons between the two. I'm only going to make one additional minor comparison. They both have big budget films based on fictional (and incredibly long) novels written by their respective luminaries.

Randians had The Fountainhead, which was a 1949 film starring Gary Cooper (not too shabby). But now they a second film. A brand new cinematic version of Rand's 1957 magnum opus Atlas Shrugged. This gives them the opportunity to be as embarrassed as Scientologists are in regards to the Razzie award-winning John-Travolta-starring Battlefield Earth.

Well, perhaps not THAT embarrassed, but the reviews I've read indicate that it won't end up being "the greatest film the first half of this century". The description I just related to you was a pre-review authored by the blogger Rational Nation USA. He dropped this "momentary infomercial break [slash] non-paid advertising" nugget here (on this blog) in response to my one of my previous posts (which didn't have diddly to do with Rand or Objectivism). After checking around the interwebs I discovered he had shat the same comment on a quite a few of the Left-leaning blogs I frequent.

Obviously he's quite excited. "You got to check it out", he insisted, and so I did. The last time I heard of this movie it was a big budget Hollywood endeavor with Angelina Jolie attached. As far as I know, Angelina Jolie isn't a Right-winger (or at least she has done a lot of work with the UN, which Right-wingers hate), so I was never entirely sure why she wanted to have anything to do with bringing Ayn Rand's delusions to the silver screen. Now it's starring a bunch of unknowns, although it does have a 20 million dollar budget.

Libertarian PJ O'Rourke says, "Atlas Shrugged. And So Did I". The reason PJ shrugs is because the film is more than a little boring. Brian Calle of the Right-wing rag The Daily Caller thinks Atlas Shrugged "could become a cult classic". A CULT classic isn't the same as a genuine classic. Sometimes cult films are revered by a select group because the film is hilariously bad. In this instance, however, I think the word CULT is used because that is the only group of people who will be interested in this; people who are already members in the cult of Rand. But it could be hilariously bad too.

This film has a PART 1 attached to it, although the planned parts 2 and 3 aren't currently in production. I'd guess the reason is because the financers of this film didn't want to commit to making any sequels until the box office receipts are tallied for this installment. My prediction is that the free market will speak and it will soon become apparent that there isn't a large market for films promoting the "greed is good" mantra. Gordon Gekko was the villain in "Wall Street". Most people believe avarice is a sin, not something to be proud of. What I'm saying is I hope this film does poorly.

In an email I received today FreedomWorks' Matt Kibbe says "[this movie] has the opportunity to introduce millions more around the world to the philosophy of freedom". Instead of "introduce" I think the word he's looking for is "indoctrinate". Imagine a film that touted the virtues of a society where the contributions of everyone (not just the wealthy) were valued. A film in which the growing disparity between the rich and the poor was viewed as a problem and not simply the MORE VALUABLE citizens claiming their just reward. Would the Right not call such a film Socialist propaganda?

BTW, I'm not saying I'm opposed to products produced for a niche market, as I have my own niche market interests. My niche market interest is orchestral film music. Which is why I checked out who wrote the score for Atlas Shrugged. Turns out another thing Atlas Shrugged has in common with Battlefield Earth is that the background music in both was written by Czechoslovakia composer Elia Cmiral. I know this because I own a copy of the Battlefield Earth soundtrack CD. This made me wonder, is Elia Cmiral the go-to composer for films based on the books of crazy cult leaders?

I'd rather rewatch my Lord of the Rings director's cut DVDs instead of a film based on Ayn Rand's garbage, although I actually might be interested in purchasing a CD of the Atlas Shrugged film score if one is released. I listened to the "John Galt theme" YouTube on the official website, and I liked it. I was disappointed with the last CD of Mr. Cimiral's I purchased, which I would describe as "atmospheric synth droning". I've passed on several of Mr. Cimiral's CDs lately as I've grown tired of boring synth drones, but this theme is performed on a piano. There probably won't be a soundtrack CD, however. Many big budget Hollywood films don't get one, and this film already has very limited appeal.

Even if a CD is released I think I'll wait and try to pick it up second-hand. I'd prefer that NONE of my money ended up in the hands of anyone involved in producing Ayn Rand's propaganda as a rich-leeches-as-the-heroes fantasy flick. Republicans may fear a dystopian future where all citizens have access to health care and the wealthy pay a slightly higher tax rate, but my fear is of a present in which Paul Ryan's laughable "Path to Prosperity" is considered a STARTING POINT for budget negotiations.

Representative Paul Ryan's budget encapsulates the Republican dream of an America in which the wealthy pay a smaller percentage of their income in taxes than does everyone else. And all the money the government does spend for social programs is funneled though private businesses who first take their cut. Yesterday President Obama said he wouldn't allow that to happen while he was president, but that doesn't mean Republicans are ever going to stop trying to bring their vision of a dystopian society to fruition. Clearly we have a hell of a lot more to fear from Republican fascists than Democratic socialists.

Further Reading
[1] Ayn Rand's Philosophy by Gore Vidal. Esquire 7/1961.
[2] Atlas Shrugged is Absurd but Strangely Compelling by Sam Jordison. Books Blog 3/27/2009.
[3] How Ayn Rand ruined my childhood by By Alyssa Bereznak. Salon 4/4/2011.
[4] Atlas Shrugged. And So Did I. A review of the film by P.J. O'Rourke. The Wall Street Journal 4/6/2011.
[5] Growing Up Objectivist by Andrew Sullivan. The Daily Beast 4/11/2011.
[6] The Reviews Are In: Atlas Shrugged is Really, Really Awful! by Shaw Kenawe. Progressive Eruptions 4/20/2011.
[7] Rational Nation USA & The Atlas Shrugged Part 1 Movie, A Flop From 2011 That Lost Over $15 Million. DSD #34 9/23/2016.

SWTD #73


  1. A well written post. However, there is much to question.

    You know, I have always wondered myself why liberal hate Rand and right wingers seem to love her.

    Rand herself, as well as her "Intellectual heir" Leonard Peikoff PHD Philosophy, viewed Ronald Reagan in very unfavorable light, and both felt this nation was trending towards fascism rather than socialism. A belief I believe is a staple of progressives.

    Rand viewed conservatives in as unfavorable a light as do most progressives today. She also did not see Libertarianism in a favorable light.

    And her atheism was based on what she considered objective reality. Religion and a belief in a supreme being to her was nothing more than mysticism.

    Rand believed that a true laissez faire capitalism, where government keeps hands off business and individuals do not have the fruits of their labor confiscated from them to support others was Superior to other systems.

    Objectivist philosophy is no more kooky than say Marx or Engels. What is kooky is the number of people who hold strong views about Rand without ever having delved deeply enough into her philosophy to make an independent judgement. I have done so.

    I am an independent thinking conservative, call me a classical liberal if you like, that has indeed read most of what Rand produced, some more than once. Her non fiction works actually exceed her fiction. If read with an unbiased and open mind there is much that can be gained by reading her.

    I was exposed to Rand by a liberal educator who then allowed me to determine her worth or lack thereof.

    I remain appreciative of that wonderful educator to this day.

    Oh, by the way the educator of which I speak was far from a cultist, Randian or otherwise.

    Anyhoos, At the end of the day each individual will, or at least they should, decide for themselves. I did.

  2. I don't think you were around when I was giving my take on Ayn Rand. To me , her philosphy was we owe everything to the rich and governments function was only to protect the rich's property. I don't think she needed a 1,500 page book to get her point across but whatever floats her yacht.

    Before I leave I make the sign of the dollar in RN's honor.

  3. GCP - Is there no hope for you? I do believe Rand would have liked you.

    You totally simplistic, and yes false statement with respect to Rand, is beneath your otherwise high intellect.

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  5. My gift for succinctness has always been underrated and the object of insults RN.

    Whe we finally drink that wine instead of comments about bouquet and nose, all you will get is either an "mmmmm" or disgusted look.

    Rand isn't that hard to figure out. Neither were George Will and William Buckley. They were simple. Just act bored and speak with an Ivy League accent and people will convince themselves that you are intelligent.

    Me? I'm like John Shaft. I'm a complicated man that noone understands but my woman.

  6. @ truth 101...

    "Me? I'm like John Shaft. I'm a complicated man that noone understands but my woman."

    Not so complicated.

  7. will Atlas Shrugged become a cult film as in the Halloween series or maybe a Texas Chainsaw Massacre? I think YES.

    Do you think RN is losing himself? He seems to be popping in to the liberal blogs more and more. Wonder what that's all about...We're the fun ones maybe? I think he likes us, he really really likes us!

  8. Sue - Of course I like you. What's not to like? Other than the sheer irrationality of the far out extreme left movement.

    But they say humor is hs great medicinal benefits. Perhaps by visiting {and laughing} I will prolong my John Galt capitalist life!

    Thanks for your observation. Even though your likely hypothesis as to why I visit is likely incorrect.

  9. RN visits to spread the word of Rand, like some Moonie.
    Did you all get your RN comment advertising the new movie?
    RN is a follower (in the cult sense) of Rand. Rand must have been an ass hole, RN sure is an insulting ass hole.
    I wonder if he ever has a conversation without calling someone stupid?
    Was lying a trait RN learned from Rand? He sure is good at it.
    Being Randian must consist of having an ego to big to enter a room with.
    Now back to RN's cultist philosophy.
    Speak dip shit (RN) speak.
    Tell us all how stupid we are.

  10. You said: "Clearly we have a hell of a lot more to fear from Republican fascists than Democratic socialists. "

    Definition of fascism: "A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism."

    I don't like Randism, but clearly socialism (with its central control of economic power) is a lot closer to fasciam than the extreme libertarian "Objectivism".

    After all, Col. Gadhaffi is a socialist idealogue, not a follower of Ayn Rand.

    But yes, Randism is extreme. It holds that even non governmental charities are evil and not a good idea in society.

    My first run-in with a Randist was one who argued that public libraries were wrong because of objective reality which flows from the equation A=A.

    Wha....? Randist more than anyone don't realize that value judgments are just value judgments. There's nothing really "objective" about them. If you think public libraries are bad, it is because if your opinion and value system. Not due to some logical law of the universe.

  11. Ah Dmarks shame on you! How can you dare say that ones objectivity and rationality is just a value judgement!

    But I want my value judgements to be special because I believe as Ayn Rand believes!

    In college I had my Ayn Rand phase and my Marxist phase and based upon scientific study I found that Karl Marx will score you more chicks and weed.

    I would say that Karl Marx also scores you better looking chicks but that would be a value judgement. I do know that the Karl Marx phase was easier because it fits so well with the available posters, candles and incense....

    Ayn Rand is rather lacking in decor. Its also funny when someone like Herman Cain, the proof that affirmative action works, espouses Ayn Rand....or where Paul Ryan, who has never had a job outside politics, a life long government tit lover, claims Ayn Rand motivated him...

  12. Tao said: "In collage I had my Ayn Rand phase and my Marxist phase"

    I was going to mention something like that. The college sophomores I remember who went nuts about Ayn Rand.

    I was not fated to be one of them: I tried to read "Fountainhead" a few times and could not.

    As for Herman Cain, do you have proof that he has been promoted for skin color instead of ability (the heart of affirmative action)?

  13. Socialism is fascism? Is that your counter-argument, dmarks? Under fascism the government represents the interests of corporations. That is what the Right-wingers desire. Under socialism the government works on behalf of the people. They're totally different systems!

    Gaddafi isn't a socialist idealogue. He may have instituted some socialistic policies, but he's a dictator. Socialists don't believe in dictatorship.

    Also, I didn't say Objectivism was the same thing as fascism. I was talking about what Rand says we have to fear in her book, "Atlas Shrugged". She said socialism... she was wrong.

  14. Actually, check the facts on Gadhaffi's ideology. It's a branch of socialism, which in most examples serves the people... the people in charge. As for socialists not believing in dictatorship, most famous dictators have been socialists.

    And my definition of fascism is generally agreed on one, not the one those on the left tweak to exclude left-wing fascists. In any case, in left-wing fascism (socialism), the 'corporations' are entirely part of the government.

    But maybe you are right. These socialists don't believe in dictatorship... the official line in Libya is that they do not have a strong government at all.

  15. dmarks,

    Do YOU have proof that Herman Cain was promoted because of ability and not because of his skin color?

    Nope! Those damn value judgements again! :)

    Kind of like his comment about the water tasting the same regardless of what water fountain you drank from....he is trying to down play Jim Crow laws while hiding the fact that if the water tasted the same why did we have to have two water fountains in the first didn't have anything to do with offering two different tasting waters....

  16. Tao: Are you assuming he's not qualified, just due to his skin color?

  17. Dmarks...are you claiming that affirmative action is an either or proposition?

    One can be black, qualified AND BENEFIT FROM AFFIRMATIVE ACTION....

  18. Gaddafi's socialism is a lie. Genuine Socialists stand against him.

    The Socialist Party USA refers to Gaddafi as an authoritarian ruler who has perpetrated "murderous state-sponsored violence against unarmed protesters". The Socialist Party USA says they stand "in solidarity with the people's movement for democratic rights in Libya [against Gaddafi]".

    The UK's SocialistWorkeronline says "Libyans can beat Colonel Gaddafi". They also say, "the power of the regime rests not simply on brutal repression but also on those who have benefited from Gaddafi's handouts of oil cash. [Gaddafi's] regime historically ensured its stability by playing on rivalries between clans and tribes".

    The reason many dictators have risen to power by CLAIMING they were going to institute Socialism is because people CRAVE a more equitable society -- which is the goal of Socialism. It isn't a society in which the people IN CHARGE are served (which you admitted is the case in Libya). Gaddafi is a totalitarian dictator and Libya is a kleptocracy.

  19. Regarding Tao's comment on affirmative action... he said, "One can be black, qualified and benefit from Affirmative Action". I'd say that being black and QUALIFIED is the only way one should benefit from it -- perhaps that isn't the way it works 100 percent of the time, but that is the goal of Affirmative Action.

    For you to suggest that the "heart" of affirmative action is to promote people WITHOUT ability simply because they have a certain skin color... that sounds like bigoted hate speech to me.

  20. Check this link: So many of them meet the fascist definition ("A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism."). And you will find in their the ideologies of Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, Milosevic of Serbia, and even Gadhaffi.

    W-Dervish said:

    "The Socialist Party USA refers to Gaddafi as an authoritarian ruler..."

    Which is one group of socialists denouncing another. Lover's quarrels within the realm of socialism are common and sometimes epic: see Hitler vs Stalin.

    One difference between the groups is that the more mild ones, like the Socialist Party of the USA, seek maximum totalitarian power without killing people. The other branches of socialism tend to have a lot more bloodlust.

  21. About affirmative action, as long as skin color is any sort of qualification, real merit will take a back seat.

    A classic example of this is the Concord firefighter situation, made famous because Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor was involved with it. In order to meet some pie-in-the-sky racist quota requirements, qualified firemen of the wrong color were kept down to make way for unqualified firemen of the right color.

    "For you to suggest that the "heart" of affirmative action is to promote people WITHOUT ability simply because they have a certain skin color... that sounds like bigoted hate speech to me."

    No, it's not "without ability", it's "with lesser ability".

    It is not hate speech at all to denounce racist policies.

    If anything is racist here, it is the assumption made in affirmative action that nonwhites are somehow inferior, and simply can't make it in the world unless some special consideration is given to their skin color... some special advantage, no matter how small.

  22. Dmarks,

    You are consistent! Thus one example proves that affirmative action is racist and NOW gives an unneeded advantage based on skin color.

    Does that mean that affirmative action was NEVER needed?

    Does this one situation prove that affirmative action is bad in all situations?

    It does "prove" the fact that Herman Cain benefitted from affirmative action....whether qualified or not.

    Now, if you were to argue that affirmative action has outlived its usefulness and that society, AS A WHOLE, has changed I might tend to agree but to argue that there was never a need for affirmative action would be foolhardy.

    I also think your argument inregards to fascism and socialism is fraudulent also. Hitler was a fascist but he was not a socialist. Remember, he set the Reichstag fire so he could round up all the socialists and communists and put them in concentration camps.

    It also is fraudelent in light of the fact that you would consider all the European countries to be socialist but I doubt that you would consider comparing Germany, France, and the Scandenavian countries to Stalin and or Hitler.

    They maybe socialist to a degree but they are not fascist.

  23. Tao asked:

    "Does that mean that affirmative action was NEVER needed? "

    Quotas are never needed. Color should be less of a consideration, not more.

    "Does this one situation prove that affirmative action is bad in all situations?"

    Well, any situation where there is a goal or preference is bad. And these situations are quite common in the private sector, public sector, and universities.

    No, there was never a need for any form of racism.


    "Hitler was a fascist but he was not a socialist."

    Not fraudulent, but factual. National Socialism is indeed on the list of types of socialism. For another modern example of socialism that also meets the other definitions of fascism, see Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. His rule includes rabid antisemitism, and censoring of 'outside' cultures.

    "Remember, he set the Reichstag fire so he could round up all the socialists and communists and put them in concentration camps."

    So? Hardline socialists often readily kill those of other socialist stripes.

    "It also is fraudelent in light of the fact that you would consider all the European countries to be socialist"

    Actually, in the countries you named, most privave property is held by the people and not the rulers, so I don't consider them very socialist.

    "They maybe socialist to a degree but they are not fascist."

    Very true.

  24. "It does "prove" the fact that Herman Cain benefitted from affirmative action....whether qualified or not."

    Missed this.... Do you have any evidence that Cain was unqualified or less qualified (and this benefit from affirmative action)?

  25. In regards to Gaddafi's fake socialism and the Wikipedia page you linked to... On that Wikipedia page it says, "Different SELF-DESCRIBED socialists have used the term socialism to refer to different things". I capped "self-described" because that's Gaddafi -- a SELF-DESCRIBED (but not genuine) Socialist. Also, Tao is correct when he points out that Hitler wasn't a Socialist because...

    "socialism requires worker ownership and control of the means of production. In Nazi Germany, private capitalist individuals owned the means of production, and they in turn were frequently controlled by the Nazi party and state. True socialism does not advocate such economic dictatorship -- it can only be democratic". (excerpted from "Myth: Hitler was a Leftist" by Steve Kangas)

    dmarks: ...qualified firemen of the wrong color were kept down to make way for unqualified firemen of the right color.

    I'm not familiar with the "Concord firefighter situation". There was a case that came before the Supreme Court in which white firefighters from New Haven CT sued for "discrimination". This case, designated "Ricci v. DeStefano, was wrongly decided by the court's conservative judges.

    In her dissent Justice Ginsburg writes, "[the conservative justices] pretend that the City rejected the test results solely because the higher scoring candidates were white. [but] That pretension, essential to the Court’s disposition, ignores substantial evidence of multiple flaws in the tests... [The conservative justices] similarly fail to acknowledge the better tests used in other cities, which have yielded less racially skewed outcomes".

    The test was racially biased (against the African American firefighters) and should have been thrown out.

    dmarks: No, it's not "without ability", it's "with lesser ability". It is not hate speech at all to denounce racist policies.

    If this is what you really believe, then why did you say earlier that the black firefighters were UNQUALIFIED (not that they simply scored lower on the test). These are YOUR WORDS! Again, this sounds like bigoted hate speech to me.

    The purpose of Affirmative Action "is to compensate for past discrimination, persecution or exploitation by the ruling class of a culture, or to address existing discrimination". You're 100 percent wrong to describe the policy as "racist". It is the exact opposite.

    White conservatives LOVE to falsely claim "reverse discrimination"... witness Glenn Beck's ludicrous claim that Barack Obama hates white people. Most people don't buy this crap.

  26. I am 100% correct to describe as racist a policy which rewards and punishes people based on their skin color. As long as the policies use someone's race in any way in evaluation, it is racist.

  27. By the way, your definition does not help:

    "The purpose of Affirmative Action "is to compensate for past discrimination"

    I have yet to see one policy that does this. Like the racist University of Michigan admissions policy as an example, these policies punish people for skin color whether or not they did anything wrong to anyone, and reward others for skin color whether or not they were victimized.

    Instead, these blatantly racist policies punish people for having the same skin color as some historic oppressors, and it rewards people for having the same skin color as historic victims. Nothing but racism all around.

    Under the vast majority of these policies, the grandchildren of Lee Iacocca are discriminated against, and the daughters of Barak Obama are given special advantage due to nothing but skin color...despite the fact that Iacocca's forebears came over after slavery was over, and Obama's black roots in the US go back only recently, to after the civil rights struggles, and both families are elite and privileged and have no disadvantage.

    If you want policies to avoid being properly identified as racist, remove the racial discrimination from the policies.

  28. Finally, the part about Beck and Obama is irrelevant. Obama comes acorss as somewhat leery of including racism (quotas, etc) in racial justice efforts. I've read his speeches, and one of his books. Beck is completely irrelevant here.

  29. Discrimination still exists. Find a bettter way to level the playing field for jobs and educational opportunity and I'll be glad to support it Dmarks.

    Now remember, if everyone were just and fair we wouldn't need affirmative action laws or unions.

    We both know scumbags will try to tak advantage but I won't allow the minority of scumbags to screw things up for the good people.

  30. Truth: Then level the playing field. Don't dig new holes and build more piles in misguided attempts to make up for holes already there.

    "Now remember, if everyone were just and fair we wouldn't need affirmative action laws..."

    By adding more racial injustice and unfairness, they make the problem worse. So we don't need them.

    Instead, enforce and prosecute discrimination laws vigorously. Unlike racist quotes, these actually punish specific individuals involved with racist decisions, and bring justice to actual victims.

    And then address actual disadvantage, such as poverty. If you focus on this instead of skin color, you won't be doing the insane thing that racist quotas do, such as punish whites in poverty (who actually just about outnumber blacks as a whole) while giving a boost to privileged blacks.

    There ARE ways to take care of the problems without being racist about it.

  31. Dmarks, I have to agree with you.

    While I think that the Michigan example is stupid, considering they gave 20 points for race and only 12 points for a perfect SAT and the issue of the firefighters was another example of faulty test logic the reality is at some point we have to realize that a onetime solution has become a curse.

    But now, I cannot wait for you to explain what you would consider to be ways, we as a society can address, "And then address actual disadvantage, such as poverty..."

    That should be really interesting you little closet socialist you....

  32. Your soaring rhetoric is worthy of President Obama himself Dmarks.

    Now how do we win the war on poveerty so we can eliminate affirmative action?

  33. Truth: Quotas and preference-based affirmative action are counterproductive and unjust (blatantly racist) and should be eliminated regardless.

  34. Howdy this metter is pretty interesting. Keep it going man !


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