Malaysia imposes dress code for non-muslims, THE FRENCH WAY

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by Proud_Muslim, Jan 11, 2004.

  1. Medicine*Woman Jesus: Mythstory--Not History! Valued Senior Member

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    M*W: I don't like this new software either. The folks we knew have changed their names. Are we having to start over? This new system sucks.
     
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  3. Mrs.Lucysnow Valued Senior Member

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    Medicine Woman

    I know and the color is depressing. Only a tie should be this shad of grey. A member was hanging around this thread looking for you and then he pmd me wondering if I wasn't you with a new name (the cheek!). I told him you were around somewhere. I don't know I just miss the old software it was intuitive and I never had a problem with it. Plus this one is slow.
     
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  5. Medicine*Woman Jesus: Mythstory--Not History! Valued Senior Member

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    M*W: Just look at the boxes with text in them. The whole format is ugly. I thought they were going to "upgrade" the site.

    Thanks for the message. Back to this web site, I couldn't login as Medicine*Woman where I had more than 1,300 posts, so everybody thinks I'm another M*W with a new philosophy! The ambience has changed, too. There appears to be a lot of youngsters on the forum now. (What astounding knowledge do they have, right?).
     
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  7. Mrs.Lucysnow Valued Senior Member

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    Medicine Woman

    Quote:so everybody thinks I'm another M*W with a new philosophy! The ambience has changed, too. There appears to be a lot of youngsters on the forum now. (What astounding knowledge do they have, right?).

    A new philosophy? LOL. You're right the forums do feel different. There have been many changes to go with the new look, some members have been banned, others have left out of boredom or protest and there is an eerie silence about the place. The youngsters hopefully will occupy themselves on the thread dedicated to Janet's floppy tittie.
     
  8. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Lucysnow:

    My apologies again for not replying sooner, but up to now I have been too busy to devote the amount of time I needed to formulate a considered reply to your last post.

    If you're writing a long reply, my advice is not to use the quick reply box - it's much harder to see anything in it anyway. Instead, use the "Post reply" button at the bottom of the page, or the "reply" button which follows a post.

    In regard to moral philosophy, I think we should draw on as many sources as are available, that's all.

    I agree. We must be open to possible criticism by the people we are trying to help.

    Take a look at the current thread on abortion in the Religion forum. If you can't find it, I'll dig up a link for you. (I'm pro-choice. No surprises there!)

    Of course I don't assume everybody thinks the same as me, especially on an issue such as abortion or FGM. The question of who decides the outcome is often quite separate from the question of what the best outcome might be, too. A religious fundamentalist government, for example, is probably going to ban abortion no matter how many good arguments there are for allowing it.

    They probably can't, in practice.

    I understand that.

    You'd have to ask her what she meant by that.

    How does doing nothing help more?

    Obviously education is a tiered process. Basic education is a priority ahead of advanced education.

    As you said, you can't forcibly educate a person who does not wish to be educated. To deal with unjust leaders, we must turn first to their people. If the people are oppressed and powerless, then forcible outside intervention may be the last resort.

    The practical is often worlds away from the desirable.

    Ok, but let's step back a bit and look at the bigger picture. What <b>justification</b> does she give for the practice? What I am getting at is: does she have any logically defensible arguments for FGM?

    Yes, I appreciate that, too.

    To give you a current example: I live in Australia. Many Australians are vaguely worried about the uniqueness of Australian cultural attitudes (and I'm not talking indigenous Australian culture here) being diluted or swamped by American culture. In particular, we get a lot of American media here, in the form of movies, TV programmes and so on. As an Australian, I value the uniqueness of Australian culture, and I would not like to see it subsumed by American culture. For the same reasons, I would not like to see any non-western culture subsumed by Western ideas. I am a great fan of cultural diversity, believe me.

    That's another great article. I agree with the author.

    I agree that economic growth is important, but I also think it tends to be overvalued in the West at present. The value of a society is not determined by its GDP.

    I also agree.

    It can't. Rights can only be enforced by the people themselves. On the other hand, I believe it is the duty of those who already enjoy these rights to help others who are denied them.

    This is the individual vs. collective argument discussed by Tharoor in the above linked article. It is not really valid, since it sets up a false dichotomy.

    I'm advocating force <b>as a last resort</b>, only to be applied when all other avenues have been exhausted.

    I know. There are realities of power and influence which always make the implementation of moral principles difficult, and sometimes practically impossible. If the forceable imposition of standards would result in more suffering than the evils they are meant to redress, then there can be no justification for intervention, regardless of how much we might desire it in an ideal world.

    The people who made those laws believed that those laws were morally justifiable.

    On this matter, we need to examine <b>why</b> she disagrees, in detail.

    I agree with you in part. The UN has been ineffective in a number of areas. However, I think that in other areas it has been very good. It's a big organisation.

    I don't know about you, but I try to act ethically in my day-to-day life, and I'm fairly sure I'm not the only one!

    Reading your posts, I get the impression you think I have my head in the clouds. You keep coming back to the issue of the difference between reality and an ideal. Believe me, I am very well aware of the gap. I simply believe that the preacher should not stop exhorting people to behave ethically just because people do not, in fact, always act that way. If you throw up your hands in despair every time you see injustice or harm, you won't ever succeed in changing anything. Instead, you should do your best to strive for the best, in your personal life, in your own community and beyond.

    Ethics can only be implemented by individuals. But if a particular individual acts unethically, that does not mean that ethics themselves become meaningless.
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    Finally, regarding your "rape gene" link, that link gives some appreciation of the issue, but in my opinion is not a very thorough analysis. It is true that rape is not <b>only</b> about power and domination, as some feminist writers would have us think. However, it is swinging the pendulum too far the other way to claim that rape is <b>only</b> about sex. The fact is: rape is a complicated thing, part biological, part cultural, part individual.
     
  9. Mrs.Lucysnow Valued Senior Member

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    *James*

    Quote:How does doing nothing help more?

    The role of a cultural anthropologist is to gather and determine data not transform a culture of practices of that culture. If she wants to be an advocate for change then she should offer her services to local and or international orgs working on the issue. What she is advocating is an abuse of trust to those who welcome her in as observer.

    Quote:To deal with unjust leaders, we must turn first to their people. If the people are oppressed and powerless, then forcible outside intervention may be the last resort.

    It is not anyones role to turn to the people. A population is quite aware if they are being oppressed or not and don't need anyone to point that out. It is not the role or job of the west to intervene forcibly to oust national leaders, history has already shown us what disaster can occur under such tactics. Anyway, we don't generally do this unless there is a benefit to us. The future of groups, nations and individuals are in their hands and their hands alone.

    Quote

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    k, but let's step back a bit and look at the bigger picture. What justification does she give for the practice? What I am getting at is: does she have any logically defensible arguments for FGM?

    She doesn't need to justify it. When a ritual has been kept for generations upon generations they feel no need to justify it to someone who is outside of their cultural matrix. Its considered an affront for a westener to demand a 'justification'.

    Quote:To give you a current example: I live in Australia. Many Australians are vaguely worried about the uniqueness of Australian cultural attitudes (and I'm not talking indigenous Australian culture here) being diluted or swamped by American culture. In particular, we get a lot of American media here, in the form of movies, TV programmes and so on. As an Australian, I value the uniqueness of Australian culture, and I would not like to see it subsumed by American culture.

    Good! Resist it. Popular American culture and media machine should be resisted. I am in America and I don't even trust it.

    Quote:I agree that economic growth is important, but I also think it tends to be overvalued in the West at present. The value of a society is not determined by its GDP.

    I am speaking of a nation providing their citizens with basics (clean water and affordable food, health care, basic education; infrastructure). You know Cambodia is filled with NGO's and the like working on a variety of problems. The people are so poor that it isn't unusual to find children sleeping on the pavement at night, seven year olds selling newspapers and jasmine flowers to foreigners in bars at midnight while rubbing their eyes because they can't leave until everything is sold. They have no decent medical care; its not unusual to find ambulances not equipped with a stretcher, ekg machines that are broken in hospitals. Tap water is undrinkable. Its so poor that women sell their children to westeners on a continuous basis (pedophilia is a HUGE problem there). This is the kind of 'economic growth' I am referring to. Without money for the basics any other right is undefined and unclear.

    Quote:It is not really valid, since it sets up a false dichotomy.

    When someone adheres to a set of beliefs it doesn't matter if anyone else finds these beliefs as valid or not. Basically Zemin was telling the west to fuck off and mind its beeswax because he doesn't give a fart what they think of China's way of being or conducting themself internally.

    Quote:I'm advocating force as a last resort, only to be applied when all other avenues have been exhausted.

    If a nation is resisting change and we continue to put pressure then we must admit we are using force. If I say tell someone that I am asking them nicely but if they refuse i will then break their necks then aggression and force is already implied. Anyway we do not have the resources (thank god) to interven change in countries that resist our ways of being or universal priniciples. Those principles are bastadized for political ends and most countries outside the west know this. Its not a wonder that it isnt respected and seen as hypocritical and self-serving.

    Quote:The people who made those laws believed that those laws were morally justifiable.

    So then morality is arbitrary.

    Quote

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    n this matter, we need to examine why she disagrees, in detail.

    She disagrees because every woman in her family including herself has undergone the practice and so she sees nothing wrong with it.

    Quote:I don't know about you, but I try to act ethically in my day-to-day life, and I'm fairly sure I'm not the only one!

    My point is that everyone doesn't because if they did then nothing would ever go wrong would it. Implementing ethics on a daily basis is no easy feat for the average person. Just look at the evening news. My problem with Fromm's argument in Man for himself is that it implies everyone wants to consider their highest good in terms of a standardized ethical system and everyone doesn't. People are going to do what they want to do and that is usually what is easiest and most convenient. We're a lazy lot!

    Quote:Instead, you should do your best to strive for the best, in your personal life, in your own community and beyond.

    In my personal life first, in community second but as for beyond never unless the injustice is right in front of my face. Example, I am riding in a bicycle rickshaw and a child comes and begs for my water bottle I give it to him.

    Quote:Ethics can only be implemented by individuals. But if a particular individual acts unethically, that does not mean that ethics themselves become meaningless.

    If the individual doesn't have any regard for a certain ethic then it is indeed meaningless.



    Quote:
     
  10. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Lucysnow:

    I fear we're about to rehash old ground. Perhaps this conversation is winding up. Anyway...

    Not always. In the case of FGM, for example, a population may never have considered the issue from a western perspective. Surely they should be given that point of view to consider?

    I don't think so. All groups, nations and individuals are affected by others. Often, there are many factors beyond their immediate control.

    This is where you and I differ. I say she <b>does</b> need to justify it. If there is no logically defensible reason for the practice, and many logically defensible reasons for it not to continue, then it ought not to continue, in my opinion.

    I am actually very glad I live outside the US. It gives me the kind of perspective I don't think I'd get if I lived there. For similar reasons, I have a different perspective on countries which practice FGM than I might have if I was brought up there. Now, in many instances, I defer to the opinions of Americans in debates about America, but not always. I think Americans can learn from Australians, and vice versa. Why should it be any different between, say, Americans and Africans?

    I agree that economic factors like this are very important, but all you're really doing here is prioritising. There's no need to sacrifice certain rights for the sake of others. You just need to decide what is most important to fix first.

    I think it does. Everybody interacts with other people. Nations interact with each other. Opinions count.

    Yes. Was he justified in doing that?

    Yes.

    That's a matter of practicality, not principle.

    This is only sometimes true, not always.

    No no no no no! <b>Absolutely</b> not!

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    People get things wrong. And moral ideas develop over time.

    Which proves my point. She has no real reason for continuing the practice, except tradition. Blind acceptance of tradition is evidence of a lack of education.

    It's that glass-half-full vs. glass-half-empty thing again. My view is that most of the people try to do the right thing most of the time. Some people take advantage of others, or are lazy and so on.

    No. There will always be people who act unethically. That doesn't mean ethics become meaningless. It's the same as saying that because some people steal things, laws against theft are meaningless.
     
  11. Mrs.Lucysnow Valued Senior Member

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    *James*

    I don't think the topic was winding down, I think we have distilled it to the main point of disagreement which you will find in my post below.

    Quote:In the case of FGM, for example, a population may never have considered the issue from a western perspective. Surely they should be given that point of view to consider?

    Well of course not! They cannot have our perspective any more than we could have an asian perspective on child rearing.

    Quote:I don't think so. All groups, nations and individuals are affected by others. Often, there are many factors beyond their immediate control.

    But you see you are not speaking of influence here but 'affect'. What you want is for the west to 'affect' all others in a one way flow (which it is!) so that they are in line with you, your ideas, your perspective and beliefs. Like I have said before you control others on your terms and help others on their terms.

    Quote:This is where you and I differ. I say she does need to justify it. If there is no logically defensible reason for the practice, and many logically defensible reasons for it not to continue, then it ought not to continue, in my opinion.

    What logical defense is there for body modification? Clit peircing, navel, tounge and titty peircing? To whom is she beholden? To whom does she have to 'justify' herself. The truth is that only you and those who agree with you care about your opinion. She doesn't care at all about your opinion because you are not an integral factor in her life no do you contribute to her community or well being.

    Quote:I think Americans can learn from Australians, and vice versa. Why should it be any different between, say, Americans and Africans?

    But we don't learn from you. We don't receive any of your media, we receive very little information from or about Aussie land except from the actors and actresses you export. Influence is one way I'm afraid. The same thing concerning Africa, we know little to nothing about Africa, historically or culturally but they know quite a bit about us. (I am speaking of what is the norm here; obviously there are americans who have a singular interest in other countries and travel, purchase foreign newspapers but they are not the norm)

    Quote:I agree that economic factors like this are very important, but all you're really doing here is prioritising. There's no need to sacrifice certain rights for the sake of others. You just need to decide what is most important to fix first.

    Why don't you get this? We are not in control of their internal affairs these are sovereign nations we are not in a position to 'fix' anything! It is not for us to decide what is important. Dont you see how arrogant and paternalistic the above statement is? If you worked cross-culturally within another country on any of these issues you would have a different attitude completely...they would rip it right outa of ya. Its what we call in the States 'keeping people in check'.

    Quote:I think it does. Everybody interacts with other people. Nations interact with each other. Opinions count.

    No they don't! It counts with a vote but not outside. It counts if its law but in no other area. A homosexual doesn't give a shit of the opinions of a fundi christian and the fundi christian couldn't give a shit about the opinion of a homosexual. China throws its ass in the air when it disagrees with the west and the States does what it wants and other opinions be damned. You're a dreamer.

    Quote:Yes. Was he justified in doing that?

    Yes he was, Zhemin was absolutely 100% justified. He's the primer, its his country. He has a right to his perspective and he need not justify it to anyone because he is not beholden to anyone. Only supplicants and children need justify themselves...get my point?

    Quote:That's a matter of practicality, not principle.

    The principle is shit and I admire those who resist it. Principles indeed!! The history of the West illuminates their supposed hypocritical 'principles'. How dare they!!

    Quote:This is only sometimes true, not always.

    Give me an example of an incident where principles were not implemented because of political self-interest.

    Quote: People get things wrong. And moral ideas develop over time.

    It will not be you who decides if something was a faux pas and you are not in control over how moral ideas develop outside your personal sphere of influence. You have the same attitude of the missionary.

    Quote:Which proves my point. She has no real reason for continuing the practice, except tradition. Blind acceptance of tradition is evidence of a lack of education.

    She was highly educated. Went further in Western education than I and attended a better western university than I. But I see you still do not understand!!! Get this through if you can...I agree with you that fmg is ugly. But this DOES NOT MATTER!! She does not need any reason outside tradition to continue the practise. It is in your mind that this is blind acceptance. She had a cousin also living in the West who chose not to circumcise her daughter, but that does not affect her choices which are her own. She doesn't give a shit what you or I or the u.n thinks or feels about it. She is going to do what she deems important to her and for her. I think it is naive on your part to think that her acceptance of fmg amounts to lack of education. You need to leave australia and live among other people in THEIR nations for a while, under THEIR world view, under THEIR laws and within THEIR cultural matrix. It won't change your view on what constitutes fundamental human rights but it will broaden your view of other people and how they view you, the west, historical and cultural imperialism and colonialism. It will teach you where your life ends and theirs begin.

    Quote:No. There will always be people who act unethically. That doesn't mean ethics become meaningless. It's the same as saying that because some people steal things, laws against theft are meaningless.

    Ethics are only meaningful when embraced and acted upon by the individual. If I reject a principle then it is dead and has no meaning for me and does not govern my thinking and actions. When a person steals something then the laws against theft are ideed meaningless; not to you, not to the person victim of theft, not to the police but definitely to the thief.
     
  12. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Lucysnow:

    Ok, maybe this conversation isn't dead yet.

    By the way, I am thinking of renaming the thread, because most of it has not had anything to do with Malaysian dress codes or the French. Any suggestions for a more descriptive title?

    No. I'm always open to new ideas from elsewhere (but not ideas which conflict with fundamental human rights, of course).

    I have no problem with these things, if a person freely makes an informed choice to undergo the procedures. That is not the case with FGM.

    To her daughter, for a start. And it's too late to attempt to justify oneself after the fact. If she chose to do this to herself, then my response would be "Fine, go right ahead". But here she is ignoring another person's basic human rights, and that makes all the difference.

    That is your loss.

    I know.

    You wrote this in response to a point about economics. In fact, the west <b>is</b> largely in control of many economic factors on a world scale. Bill Gates and three of his richest friends could single-handedly end starvation in the third world tomorrow if they chose to apply their wealth to that problem.

    Homosexuals and fundamentalist Christians care deeply about what the other group can do to affect their everyday lives, as does China with respect to the US.

    I get your point, but I disagree completely. We are discussing moral issues here. In issues of morality, if you can't justify your actions then you deserve what moral censure you get. In a moral sense, everybody is beholden to everybody else whose lives their actions affect.

    People who abuse human rights are not morally responsible to <b>me</b>, as much as they are to their victims.

    As for children, they are generally held to a <b>lower</b> standard in terms of morality than adults, due to their inexperience and (you guessed it) lack of education in such matters.

    There are many. The first thing which pops into my head at random is the declaration of Antartica as a world heritage area, free from commericial exploitation.

    Obviously. So I try to make my personal sphere of influence as wide as I possibly can!

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    I'll happily plead guilty to that, in this instance.

    Did she take classes in human rights law at university? How about comparative religion? Moral philosophy perhaps?

    Of course it matters. It matters to the people who are subjected to it without their informed consent.

    She doesn't give a shit what her daughter thinks about it, either.

    Why do you assume I haven't already done that?

    The fact that a person does not personally accept a certain ethic does not mean that ethic is dead. It just means that the particular individual is more likely to transgress that ethical standard. He or she can still be held to account in a moral sense (and perhaps also in a legal sense if appropriate laws are in place) for his or her transgression.
     
  13. Mrs.Lucysnow Valued Senior Member

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    *James*

    Quote:By the way, I am thinking of renaming the thread, because most of it has not had anything to do with Malaysian dress codes or the French. Any suggestions for a more descriptive title?

    Well what would you do with all the posts concerning the dress code?

    Quote:To her daughter, for a start. And it's too late to attempt to justify oneself after the fact. If she chose to do this to herself, then my response would be "Fine, go right ahead". But here she is ignoring another person's basic human rights, and that makes all the difference

    But don't you see this is where the shift in perception takes place. If a mother has been circumcised and does not perceive the ritual as a violation of her rights but as a right of passage in her community (like jewish the brisk) then she will not feel any need to justify this to her daughter.

    Quote: In fact, the west is largely in control of many economic factors on a world scale. Bill Gates and three of his richest friends could single-handedly end starvation in the third world tomorrow if they chose to apply their wealth to that problem


    This is naive I think. Bill Gates are under no obligation to prop up the third world and it is detrimental to the identity for the third world to perceive themselves as a welfare case waiting for their hand-out. The people of the west have no wish to spend more than what they do already fixing the majority of the worlds problems. Think of it like this, all those European socialist economies ie: Belgium for example, have a difficult time avoiding bankrupcy in their economies because they hand out in services more than they receive. The west is rich but the world is large and populations many. The system that would have to be installed to take on such an action would be massive and ultimately infringe on national sovereignty and I don't think it would be welcome.

    Quote:Homosexuals and fundamentalist Christians care deeply about what the other group can do to affect their everyday lives, as does China with respect to the US.

    They care about LAW infringing on personal rights they do not care about opinion. In other words the woman who has just finished going through an fmg ritual with her daughter doesn't give a hoot what your opinion is. The Christian who believes homosexuals are doomed to hell and are diseased doesn't give a hoot what the homosexual's opinion is of him. The homosexual does not care whether he is viewed as a degenerate. And China only cares about international political agendas that affect them they do not care about what americans think of their way of being or national policy. Just look at Kyoto.

    Quote: We are discussing moral issues here. In issues of morality, if you can't justify your actions then you deserve what moral censure you get. In a moral sense, everybody is beholden to everybody else whose lives their actions affect.

    No they are not. They are 'beholden' only if they feel a sense of responsibility. Why would anyone care if they are condemned if they feel no responsibility? Why would anyone care about condemnation unless they NEED something from another? Morality is an issue the moral not for the immoral.

    Quote: People who abuse human rights are not morally responsible to me, as much as they are to their victims.

    Says you but anyone who lacks your moral imperative does not feel morally responsible they just simply don't care.

    Quote:As for children, they are generally held to a lower standard in terms of morality than adults, due to their inexperience and (you guessed it) lack of education in such matters.

    YOu misunderstood my point. I was saying that Zhemin does not feel the need to justify because he doesn't see himself as a child or a supplicant.

    Quote: The first thing which pops into my head at random is the declaration of Antartica as a world heritage area, free from commericial exploitation.

    And if there was any resource that the West thought it could only get from that location they would rape it in a heartbeat and world heritage be damned! Just look at the Brazillian rainforest.

    Quote

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    id she take classes in human rights law at university? How about comparative religion? Moral philosophy perhaps?

    Don't you see the fallacy of this argument? It doesn't matter whether she studied comparative religion (she isn't interested in other religions) or human rights law at university or moral philosophy (I will assume she hasn't but I don't know)! If I asked a ten year old child living in the West whether they thought if it was good or bad to circumcise a female they would say 'Urgh! NO!" not because they are 'educated' but because it is outside of their cultural matrix. If I asked the someone in the West about male circumcision they would find nothing wrong with it. Don't you see its the cultural matrix itself that makes the difference not the education. Education is FILTERED through our cultural matrix. Based on your argument only Human rights law students who have studied comparative religion and moral philosophy are capable of understanding anything or making a valid moral decision.

    Quote: Of course it matters. It matters to the people who are subjected to it without their informed consent.

    Think man, Think! If it mattered to the person subjected to the custom (who also didn't have informed consent) then they wouldn't perpetuate it!!!

    Quote:She doesn't give a shit what her daughter thinks about it, either.

    Why should she? It was done to her the same way and she feels fine about it. Her sister doesn't so her niece isn't circumcised.

    Quote:Why do you assume I haven't already done that?

    Because you don't seem to have a sense of where your life ends and anothers begins.

    Quote:The fact that a person does not personally accept a certain ethic does not mean that ethic is dead.

    An ethic is nothing if not lived. An ethic is merely a sound wave if not lived. An ethic that is not practiced is as dead as a door-nail, more dead perhaps because door-nails are used.

    Quote: It just means that the particular individual is more likely to transgress that ethical standard.

    An ethical standard is not transgressed if it is not accepted, believed, lived, etc. Its the guilt factor you see. If I don't think an act is wrong I will not feel any guilt no matter what anyone thinks or holds to be true.

    Quote: He or she can still be held to account in a moral sense (and perhaps also in a legal sense if appropriate laws are in place) for his or her transgression.

    Lets put the law aside for a moment because when it comes to law the transgression is actionable. In a society where fmg is the standard there is no transgression. The collective of that society would not consider it a transgression.
     
  14. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Lucysnow:

    I think your problem is this: you fail to distinguish between people's <b>desires</b> and their <b>moral obligations</b>.

    Fred may have a very strong inclination to steal a particular item from a shop rather than paying for it. He may have a strong desire to spread false rumours about somebody because he doesn't like them. Fred may have a desire to have sex with somebody without their consent. Now, following the line of your argument, if Fred were to go ahead and act on any of these desires, then in order to be consistent you would have to say that his actions were justified.

    Given my previously-argued position, I would say that Fred's actions are not justified, because they go against some basic principles of morality. But taking your position, you would have to say that because Fred doesn't give a damn what anybody else thinks about him, he is morally justified in doing whatever he likes.

    I say that moral obligations exist whether or not a particular individual gives a damn about them. You say that unless the individual believes in and follows a moral precept, it doesn't exist. That is equivalent to saying that everybody has his own inbuilt moral sense, and, moreover, that nobody has a right to interfere with that. I say that morals concern not only oneself and one's own preferences, but one's effects on other people. There is more to determining moral responsibility than mere personal preference.

    Now, let's get to specifics...

    Here, you are making a judgment based solely on what the mother knows and believes. I go beyond that to judge her according to a certain set of standards (basic human rights), and I say that I can judge her irrespective of her understanding or appreciation of those rights. In fact, if she is aware of the existence of such rights and chooses to ignore them, I would say her actions are <b>more</b> morally reprehensible than if she is unaware.

    The first question to ask here is not "how does she perceive fgm?", but "Is fgm morally justifiable?" It is only after this first question is answered, that we can look at any mitigating factors (such as personal knowledge and education) to decide the level of moral censure (if any) that the act merits. Whose moral framework do we use for this? My argument is that there are some principles which override the values held by particular cultures - namely basic human rights principles. This is not me being a western imperialist, since enlightened people in other country groups share my view. If I left it at that, you would come back at me, no doubt, by saying that I only consider people who share my views enlightened. That's where my point about education comes in. If a person or a culture has not considered all sides of a moral argument, I say they are not educated. Education, in this context, consists of being exposed to a wide range of views, in detail, so that one can make truly informed choices as to one's own actions, unclouded (as much as possible) by cultural and other prejudices.

    That is true. I want to reinforce my point that moral standards are not set by individual opinions. They must inevitably come from the group, because they concern the effects of individual actions on others. Thus, in the end, I don't care whether somebody gives a damn about my opinion. What I care about is, first and foremost, that actions should be morally defensible on a logical basis, in light of all relevant factors. Those factors include individual preference and cultural factors, but there is a weighing-up and prioritisation process that must always take place which, in the end, always puts some types of interests ahead of others. I say that people are bound by moral obligations whether or not they give a damn about them, because <b>society</b> gives a damn about them.

    But, the mother's society thinks fgm is ok. Does that make it morally ok, then? Is it a simple case of majority rules? No! Actions must be defensible on a <b>logical</b> basis, not just on the basis of tradition or culture. And sometimes, all things considered, even whole societies hold views that are illogical and unfounded. The usual reason for this is lack of education. And so we go round again...

    They will care only about consequences for themselves in such a case. But, as I keep saying, not caring does not remove one's moral obligations.

    This is where the control aspect comes in. The immoral person is a drain on the wellbeing of a society, and sooner or later (sometimes much later) society will notice that. When that happens, societies generally take steps to force the immoral to behave morally, or else be removed from society.

    To labour my point: whether he feels a need is irrelevant.

    With respect, it does matter. When I say she is uneducated, I mean she is uneducated in the very things which could help her make a correct moral choice. It doesn't matter if she is the world's most brilliant rocket scientist. If she knows no coherent philosophy by which she can make consistent moral judgments, then she is uneducated in the things which matter to the particular situation in question.

    What about her religion? Does that qualify as a coherent moral philosophy? In theory, yes, it does. However, in practice, religions are notoriously subject to interpretation and to the accumulation of "tradition". Also, because ultimately most religions are based on divine authority, they often lack the <b>logical</b> basis I talked about earlier. The practices of a religion may well be strict and consistent, but they may, nevertheless, be illogical, since they depend on the fallacy of argument from authority.

    No. The kind of education I'm talking about includes an awareness of the cultural matrix. Ask a person in the west about <b>why</b> they think male circumcision is acceptable, and see what kind of answers you get. I'm betting you'll get exactly the same kinds of arguments as you get from Africans who practice female circumcision. And for the same reason - lack of education in the things which allow one to make an informed moral decision on logically-defensible grounds.

    They are certainly in a better position, don't you think? They simply have more access to all the relevant information. Now, in many instances, people get things right almost by accident, or because their cultural matrix happens to already include a logically-defensible moral principle. If that is the case, then people will tend to make valid decisions even if, when put on the spot, they cannot give a valid justification for their action. It is not that a valid justification doesn't exist; they just don't know about it.

    When we have a problem with something, or are unsure, what do we do? We ask the experts to help solve the problem, right? So, in setting moral norms, why not ask the people who <b>have</b> studied comparative religion, moral philosophy and human rights law, together with cultural studies?

    Morality is a shared thing, because it concerns the effects of one person's actions on others. My morality or lack thereof impacts on other people, and theirs on me, even if very indirectly. And even if it doesn't impact on <b>me</b>, I am concerned about its impact on other people, because I value all life.

    I hope you can now see how wrong this is.

    Yes, but that is irrelevant in determining your moral responsibility.

    Yes, but even collectives can get things wrong.
     
  15. weebee Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    374
    Actually I feel the way this post has gone off topic is quite apt.

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  16. Mrs.Lucysnow Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,879
    Hey James, sorry but I really became distracted for a moment.

    Quote:Fred may have a very strong inclination to steal a particular item from a shop rather than paying for it. He may have a strong desire to spread false rumours about somebody because he doesn't like them. Fred may have a desire to have sex with somebody without their consent. Now, following the line of your argument, if Fred were to go ahead and act on any of these desires, then in order to be consistent you would have to say that his actions were justified.

    No I am saying that it doesn't matter what I think of Fred's actions (certainly not to Fred). Fred's actions are justified to Fred alone.

    Quote:But taking your position, you would have to say that because Fred doesn't give a damn what anybody else thinks about him, he is morally justified in doing whatever he likes.

    No. Fred WILL do whatever he likes morality or justifications be damned. Fred doesn't care about morality or justifications, he has his own values. It is for this reason why Fred behaves the way he does even if there are negative consequences (the law or whathaveyou) Dont you think when Fred breaks into a home he doesn't know he may get blown away by the owner or captured by the police? He does. Fred doesn't care.

    Quote:I say that moral obligations exist whether or not a particular individual gives a damn about them. You say that unless the individual believes in and follows a moral precept, it doesn't exist.

    It doesn't exist for him!! Think about this for a moment. If I don't believe in God for example, do the ten commandments mean anything to me? Morals are a set of ideas or principles for a person to live by, they are guides. Now if I dismiss these principles then they are dead to me, they don't exist for me, I will never live by them. Morals only exist to those who have accepted them.


    Quote: That is equivalent to saying that everybody has his own inbuilt moral sense, and, moreover, that nobody has a right to interfere with that.

    No one can interfere with it. You can talk or beat them over the head and they will remain resolute because their ideas are not your ideas.


    Quote: I say that morals concern not only oneself and one's own preferences, but one's effects on other people. There is more to determining moral responsibility than mere personal preference.

    But that is only your opinion James. What you wrote above doesnt apply to those who have rejected it on a fundamental level. If you try and enforce it then everyone will resort to physical coercion.

    Quote:Yes, but even collectives can get things wrong

    But James it will only be wrong for you not wrong to them.

    Quote:Yes, but that is irrelevant in determining your moral responsibility.

    Guilt is not irrelevant concerning moral responsibility. I will only feel guilt if I have accepted a principle and failed to live up to it. Guilt informs us that we have not been true to something we accept as truth. If I do not accept a principle, it is is dead to me, then I will never feel guilty over an action pertaining to that principle.

    Quote:I hope you can now see how wrong this is.

    It isn't wrong. One would have to believe that any particular principle is universal for it to be wrong. But life and history prove that there are people and nations that do not accept the principles you or I or another may abide by. Morals are only a set of ideas James. The menu is not the meal remember? Just because I look at a menu doesn't mean I am going to digest its contents.

    Quote:Morality is a shared thing, because it concerns the effects of one person's actions on others. My morality or lack thereof impacts on other people, and theirs on me, even if very indirectly. And even if it doesn't impact on me, I am concerned about its impact on other people, because I value all life.

    YOU VALUE ALL LIFE!! YOU!! Not everyone values all life James. Morality is shared in a system where people have common values. Their system governs what actions will effect those others within that community...and even then people will stray from the standards within that community. If I live in a society where fmg is the norm and i decide not to circumcise my daughter then I will upset the common standards of the community it will effect them and they will effect me by how they react to my actions. If you value all life and I do not and come to kill you, the fact that you value life is not going to change my intentions because I will not value yours.

    Quote:They are certainly in a better position, don't you think?

    No, not necessarily.

    Quote: They simply have more access to all the relevant information. Now, in many instances, people get things right almost by accident, or because their cultural matrix happens to already include a logically-defensible moral principle. If that is the case, then people will tend to make valid decisions even if, when put on the spot, they cannot give a valid justification for their action. It is not that a valid justification doesn't exist; they just don't know about it.

    James I have absolutely no respect for anyone who accepts a premise just because it was made by someone else. Have you considered that the person may not find the information 'relevant' to them at all?

    Quote: When we have a problem with something, or are unsure, what do we do? We ask the experts to help solve the problem, right?

    Sometimes but not always.

    Quote: So, in setting moral norms, why not ask the people who have studied comparative religion, moral philosophy and human rights law, together with cultural studies?

    That is absolute horseshit!! I don't know about you but I will never ever turn to another human being to set my interior life or principles which we live by. See James I have studied some those same things and I do not agree with you. So much for education setting standards. Life sets the standard, experience not those fucking books are you crazy or what? Only a weakling will accept something becaus so and so said so.

    Quote:No. The kind of education I'm talking about includes an awareness of the cultural matrix. Ask a person in the west about why they think male circumcision is acceptable, and see what kind of answers you get. I'm betting you'll get exactly the same kinds of arguments as you get from Africans who practice female circumcision. And for the same reason - lack of education in the things which allow one to make an informed moral decision on logically-defensible grounds.

    So? This only proves my point not yours. Lets look at it this way, male circumcision has become very normal in the States, even among non-jews, are you saying that doctors are ignorant and lacking in education for circumcising baby boys?

    I am going to continue this in a second post.
     
  17. Mrs.Lucysnow Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,879
    *James* There is another post above James this is just a continuation.

    Quote:To labour my point: whether he feels a need is irrelevant.

    To you maybe but not to Zhemin.

    Quote:With respect, it does matter. When I say she is uneducated, I mean she is uneducated in the very things which could help her make a correct moral choice.

    She would say the same about you since you are not a Muslim and would dismiss you as a western dullard who has come to disuade her with his western trinkets and hypocritical moral nonsense. Do you know many other people see the west as a bunch of hypocrites and liars?

    Quote: If she knows no coherent philosophy by which she can make consistent moral judgments, then she is uneducated in the things which matter to the particular situation in question.

    James, again, her moral philosophy is not yours. Why is it you insist that your conclusions belong to everyone when they don't? Now you may disagree with her but that is all you can do is disagree. She will walk away thinking you have missed the mark and so will you.

    Quote: What about her religion?

    She is a muslim.

    Quote: Does that qualify as a coherent moral philosophy? In theory, yes, it does. However, in practice, religions are notoriously subject to interpretation and to the accumulation of "tradition". Also, because ultimately most religions are based on divine authority, they often lack the logical basis I talked about earlier. The practices of a religion may well be strict and consistent, but they may, nevertheless, be illogical, since they depend on the fallacy of argument from authority.

    There is tradition without religion as well. Take marriage for example one can be an athiest and still keep that tradition. FMG is not practised by all muslims an pre-dates Islam. I agree with you about religion and incidently so does Marilym Manson but so what? We are not going to dissuade them so... Personally I don't give a rats ass what they believe. Fine with me as long as they don't try and oppose my life decisions then I will have to kill them. LOL.

    Quote:This is where the control aspect comes in. The immoral person is a drain on the wellbeing of a society, and sooner or later (sometimes much later) society will notice that. When that happens, societies generally take steps to force the immoral to behave morally, or else be removed from society.

    Fine with me as long as that is an internal process. What I oppose you in is this notion that you must do something about people who are not a drain on your society; going to Timbuktu to interfere with what Frank is doing over there when it doesn't mean have any influence in your life whatsoever. And don't tell me that it does either because it doesn't. You are not losing any sleep and turning off the t.v and radio because another little girl has suffered from fmg. Mother Theresa you are not!

    Quote:They will care only about consequences for themselves in such a case. But, as I keep saying, not caring does not remove one's moral obligations.

    Not always. If that were true there would be no recidivism. For one who does not harbour your principles there is nothing to 'remove'; no obligation is incurred.

    Quote:What I care about is, first and foremost, that actions should be morally defensible on a logical basis, in light of all relevant factors.

    You can only insure that for yourself though not for others.

    Quote: Those factors include individual preference and cultural factors, but there is a weighing-up and prioritisation process that must always take place which, in the end, always puts some types of interests ahead of others.

    Yes but how and what we prioritize will depend on the values we have to begin with. You assume everyone has come to the same conclusion as yourself.

    Quote: I say that people are bound by moral obligations whether or not they give a damn about them, because society gives a damn about them.

    LOL. That is what the Gambian woman said concerning her sisters decision not to circumcise her daughter. Sweet! That's hysterical.

    Quote: But, the mother's society thinks fgm is ok. Does that make it morally ok, then? Is it a simple case of majority rules?

    Obviously so take a look at Nazi Germany. For most morality is not absolute James it can change. And you know what? It changes specifically because it wasn't formed by the individual to begin with. This is why a country of educated and sophisticated people could be so easily swayed by a Hitler.

    Quote: No! Actions must be defensible on a logical basis, not just on the basis of tradition or culture.

    Says you. What makes you think humans are always logical anyway? Humans throw logic to the wind all the time.

    Quote: And sometimes, all things considered, even whole societies hold views that are illogical and unfounded. The usual reason for this is lack of education. And so we go round again...

    Like I said remember Nazi Germany! They were at the height of their civilization when barbarism set in. Think of pre-khmer rouge Cambodia. How is it that an entire nation could allow a bunch of peasent teenagers with guns rule over them? They had an educated population but that didn't mean anything. Actually it was those with the education who inspired the whole mess. Saloth Sar aka Pol Pot was educated in Paris at the Sorbonne, he studied political theory, history and philosophy. So much for that.

    Quote:
    Here, you are making a judgment based solely on what the mother knows and believes. I go beyond that to judge her according to a certain set of standards (basic human rights), and I say that I can judge her irrespective of her understanding or appreciation of those rights. In fact, if she is aware of the existence of such rights and chooses to ignore them, I would say her actions are more morally reprehensible than if she is unaware.

    Judge away. She doesn't care about how you judge her. So what that you judge her? Christian fundametalists judge me according to their standards do you think i care about it?

    Quote: The first question to ask here is not "how does she perceive fgm?", but "Is fgm morally justifiable?"

    But James we have been through this her answer would be yes it is morally justifiable and in the best interest of her daughters future.

    Quote: It is only after this first question is answered, that we can look at any mitigating factors (such as personal knowledge and education) to decide the level of moral censure (if any) that the act merits. Whose moral framework do we use for this?

    James honey the moral framework we use will be our own. You assume that if she has the enough information she will change her mind and the answer to that is no, because she has a set belief that has existed longer than the books you turn to seeking guidance on morality and human rights. Why don't you see that it is not education that will change all this but economics and the natural internal revolution of the mindset within the society; when fmg no longer serves a purpose they will cease to practise it. And even when this happens there will still be people within the community who will continue with the practise. Think of it another way by answering this question, why do orthodox jews continue to practise Kashrut (jewish dietary laws) where a utensiles, pots and pans used for milk will never be used for meat? Where one has two refrigerators and kitchen cabinets separating food products? Many of these people live in the west right. Well there is no longer a need to do all this. These laws and considerations had significance hundreds of years ago when milk and meat spoiled etc. But do they stop practising all this? No.

    Quote: That's where my point about education comes in. If a person or a culture has not considered all sides of a moral argument, I say they are not educated. Education, in this context, consists of being exposed to a wide range of views, in detail, so that one can make truly informed choices as to one's own actions, unclouded (as much as possible) by cultural and other prejudices.

    So you are saying that Israelis aren't educated? That white south africa and nazi germany were not educated societies?
     
  18. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Messages:
    32,975
    Hey Lucysnow,

    It has been a busy month for me and this thread kind of slipped away for a while. Are you up for continuing our month-old discussion? Because I still think you're barking up the wrong tree.

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    We were discussing whether it is morally justifiable to interfere in another culture. That, of course, depends on whether morals themselves can be applied cross-culturally. Therefore, we are considering whether there is, or could be, a set of universal morals which take precedence over local customs which conflict with them. I say there is; you say there isn't.

    In your last post you distinguish many times what actually happens from the moral question of what ought to happen, or what is the right action. The fact that people act immorally, as I said, does not mean morals don't exist or that I'm not justified in applying them to other people, even possibly without their consent.

    Now, let me tackle this point by point again...

    If a universal set of morals exists, then those who do not accept them are acting wrongly.

    You missed the point. Your moral responsibility exists regardless of whether you care about it or not. You can be held accountable by others, regardless of what you believe or accept.

    As I have said, there are some moral principles which I would argue are accepted by virtually all human societies.

    I don't need you to accept my morals in order for me to be morally justified in acting to prevent your abuse of my morals - provided, of course, that my moral system is logically defensible and sensible.

    Where did you get the impression that this is an argument from authority? I have said all along that a good moral system must be logically defensible. If something is morally proscribed, there should be a very good reason for it (other than mere cultural tradition).

    I don't believe you can honestly claim that you have never learned anything from anybody. I would guess that your moral sense is, at least in part, due to your parents, your friends, your other family and so on. You most likely take certain moral positions on various matters based on other education, from books, school or whatever. This "experience" you talk about includes your interactions with other people, and your interactions with the books, films and other productions of other people. You can't possibly take the blanket view that a book can never teach you anything about morality.

    Yes. Either they do not do it for medical reasons, or, if they think they do, they are most probably misinformed about the relevant medical issues.

    I'm wondering why you use the word "hypocritical" here. What in my position do you find hypocritical?

    Quite possibly that would be the outcome. But I'd still be more right than her. I have weighed up her views and cultural background in making my moral judgment. She is dismissing mine with no knowledge or analysis at all, it seems.

    Yes, but that is beside the point. The question of practical ability to enforce is separate from the question of the moral right to enforce.

    This just shows she is not amoral, which is good. It gives us raw material to work with. What she needs now is education about why FGM is wrong.

    I imagine the reasons for Germany being swayed by Hitler are complex and multi-faceted. I would be wary of hazarding a guess as to why that happened, and especially of giving a single reason.

    I'll be the last to claim that humans are always logical. Believe me, I'm under no illusions on that score. I am talking about a defensible moral framework, not the frameworks that (some of) the illogical masses adhere to.

    Whether you care is beside the point. I am trying to examine who is right in their judgment, or whether it is even possible to say that one person is in a morally superior position to another.

    That's an answer based on a lack of education.

    Whether she would change her mind or not would depend very much on whether she was one of those logical people or not. People who are extremely religious are very seldom swayed by logic. But, in any case, the question here is whether I am right to even try to change her mind, not whether she is actually likely to change it.

    How is this internal revolution of the mindset supposed to happen? What might drive such a thing? Economics alone?

    They do it for religious reasons. As you say, these reasons are, in a strict sense, illogical in today's world. However, such rituals presumably bring comfort to people who practice them. In this particular case, the practices do little harm to anybody else, so I have no problem with them.
     
  19. Why is a Western counry imposing its culture on its residents so wrong, when muslim countries want to impose Shari'a on all their subjects? France wants a secular society, where no one can be distinguished as a christian, muslim or jew, they are anti-nazis. The nazis & some christian & muslim countries used to make jews (or chritians) wear different clothing.

    From:
    http://i-cias.com/cgi-bin/eo-direct.pl?dhimmi.htm
    Shari'a:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/2632939.stm
    http://www.rnw.nl/hotspots/html/pak030603.html
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/3263785.stm
     
  20. rainbow__princess_4 The Ashtray Girl Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    286
    Well then why don't you just say that everyone can wear whatever they like coz then everyone can just wear non-rape-attracting clothing and all will be well and good in the world. Or you could just have one less drink and hire a prostitute.
     
  21. If you are not muslim, this is what your life will be like in muslim country

    From
    http://www.yahoodi.com/peace/dhimma.html


    More:
    http://www.dhimmi.com/
    http://i-cias.com/cgi-bin/eo-direct.pl?dhimmi.htm
     
  22. munim_786 Banned Banned

    Messages:
    194
    YOUR ARGUMENT HAS NO BASIS

    you keep on using the SAME argument. "if Islam gives women rights then why do lot of Asian countries have poor womens rights"

    this argument has no basis. you can NOT look at countires and base entire ancient religions on what these countires do.

    1) CHRISTIANTY grants women fairly equal rights

    2) So why did the western world have equal laws for women ONLY from the late 19th century

    (so basically that means for 1900 years womens rights were absent, so if i now use the logic of your argument... that means CHristinaty does not grant women rights and it is the western govermants who gave women rights) - (same logic applies to all religions)

    now remember Islam is a religion NOT a country and there are Muslims in every corner of the world who respect women and give them rights. There are Muslims in thw world who DONT respect women,
    there are Christians in every corner of the world who respect women and give them rights. There are CHristians in the world who DONT respect women,
     
  23. Mrs.Lucysnow Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,879
    James R

    James I was compelled to respond to this. Right now I am in Phnom Penh where I will be for another six months. Cambodia is a country were 2 billion dollars in UN monies were used to ensure a 'democratic election' (2 billion that could have been put to better use elsewhere) and right now as we speak cambodia is still without a government (though they have had elections no party is democratic corruption is the rule of law here universal human rights or not). Peace keepers were successful in creating a thriving prostitution industry and NGO's feed off of Cambodian suffering like pariahs creating nothing but a culture of dependency and never instilling self-sufficiency. Last night I had dinner with the head of the UNDP (he's from Tanzania) and an English journalist who would tell you if they could that all these notions of yours about 'moral obligations' and imposing universal principles is nothing but hot air up some westeners ass and have nothing to do with real time politics. In this country only seven lawyers were left alive after the Khmer Rouge, presently there are judges who have no more than a high school education, teachers in the country side are not being paid a salary but there is a thriving expat community who are paid huge salaries to sit around French restaurants and admit quite openly that they are FAILING to instill anything, change anything and in many areas only make matters worse. As one Cambodian-American lawyer who works for the Documentation Center put it "These organisations only help themselves at the expense of the people and I wish they would get the hell out of my country!"

    Excuse me if I don't address particular points etc. but the reality of this environment overpowers any discussion on 'morals' and 'rights'...it just doesn't exist here.


    If you are curious about how all this works in real time as opposed to theory I can always give you the email addresses of ngo workers, un workers and journalists who would be only too interested in imparting the truth about the principles behind principles (MONEY!!)
     

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