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Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Bad Good

Others have already pointed out the absurdity that gay marriage is becoming a right in places where plastic bags and large sodas are becoming against the law. This sort of next wave civil rights step is only an expansion of freedom if you aren't paying attention.

All the arguments over the differences between civil unions and marriage are largely meaningless. Once gay marriage is recognized, then marriage becomes nothing more than a civil union. The real casualty is the destruction of the word "marriage", but the left is adept as destroying language and replacing meaningful words with meaningless words.

There was no word in Newspeak for freedom. We can look forward to an English language in which there is no word for marriage. And what does freedom mean anyway in a country where most things are banned, but we are constantly throwing holidays to celebrate how free we are?

But if marriage is no longer refers to a natural social institution, but now means a civil union recognized by the state, then why stop at two? Gay rights advocates insist that there is some magic difference between polygamy and gay marriage. There isn't any difference except the number. And if we're not going to be bound by any antiquated notion that marriage is an organic institution between man and woman, then why should we be bound by mere number?

Surely in our enlightened age and time, it can be possible for large groups of consenting adults to tie their confusing knots together in any number from 2 to 2,000.

True marriage equality would completely open up the concept. But it's not actually equality that we're talking about. It's someone's idea of the social good. And the social good is served by gay marriage, but not by polygamy.

The question is whose social good is it?

Equality and justice are words that the left uses to cloud the question of who advocates the causes and who benefits from them. Who decides that the cause of justice and equality is served by limiting marriage to two gay men, rather than four gay men, three bisexual men, two women and a giraffe?

The rhetoric of equality asserts a just cause while overlooking the social good. Rights are demanded. The demand is absolute and the logic for it remains left behind in a desk drawer on the wrong side of the table. Instead there are calls for empathy. "If you only knew a gay couple." Hysterical condemnations. "I'm pretty sure you're the devil", one recent email to me began. And a whole lot of vague promises about the good things that will follow once we're all paying for it.

We aren't truly moving toward anarchy or some libertarian order, but a calculated form of repression in which shrill demands substitute for legal guidelines and those who scream the loudest get the most rights.

The new freedoms are largely random and chaotic. Donate enough money to the right people while helping out the left and a special addition to the marriage split-level house will be carved out for you. Why? Because there will be a lot of yelling. Naturally. And if the polygamists yell loudly enough and donate enough money, they'll get their own marriage expansion as well because that is how things work now.

There is no longer a fixed notion of rights. The trappings of equality and angry causes are hollow. The legal doctrine on which courts make their decisions are targets in search of arrows, emotions hunting around for precedents to wrap them in. These decisions are not rational, but rather rationalizations. Their only anchor is a new role for government in protecting any group that is officially marginalized.

The old Bill of Rights extended rights irrespective of group membership. The new one wipes out universal rights and replaces them with particular privileges. Entire amendments may sink beneath the waves, but a few groups get comfortable deck chairs on the Titanic.

Why is one group protected rather than another? Why do gay activists get a government-bonded right, complete with Federal enforcement, while polygamy is outlawed? The only answers are rationalizations. With morality sinking fast and few common values that the people in charge will accept, there is no longer a common value system to rely on.

Progressive morality is constantly being reshaped in tune to the whims of the left. It can't be relied upon, because it isn't there. The only thing fixed about it is the need to fight for the oppressed, which not coincidentally at all is also the shaky civil rights era legal doctrine on which the whole modern house of cards rests.

Since the nature of oppression and the identification of oppressed groups is open for debate, the legal doctrine means nothing. Every Democratic presidential candidate was against gay marriage in 2008 and for it now. What changed? Nothing, except the money changing hands and sitcoms about gay couples. And the latter is what it comes down to. Instead of church and state, we are stuck with sitcom and state where the existence of a television comedy is a reflection of national values.

And what happens when one of the burgeoning shows about polygamous marriages becomes a big hit? Then we'll have no choice but to ratify polygamous marriage equality because that's the new national values system and the television ratings prove that everyone is clearly down with it.

Once fixed rights made way for identity politics, we traded legal guarantees of freedom for government oversight of a confusing caste system in which some people have more rights than others based on the amount of rights they claim not to have, but everyone has fewer rights than they did before because rights are now arbitrary and the arbitrators work for the government.

Identity politics made rights competitive. The only way to win is to play. And the only way to play is to claim oppression. And if you don't do a good job of it, good luck getting a good spot in the diversity quotas for college, business and government. But it has also made rights meaningless.

The new slogan is that gun control should be enacted because the former Congresswoman Giffords "deserves a vote". Giffords already has a vote. So do millions of gun owners. That's how it works. But votes are no longer weighed equally. The oppressed, even by a random shooting spree, get more votes than others, so long as their oppression is officially recognized and endorsed. The Giffords Vote is supposed to not only trump millions of actual votes, but also the Second Amendment.

And why not? Gay marriage lost in multiple referendums, but those results were set aside by Federal judges for being oppressive. The same thing happened with illegal aliens. Now everyone is evolving on those issues. After all, no one wants to be the bad mean oppressor. And so the actual votes are trumped by the vote of the oppressed and actual rights make way for special privileges.

The grants of new rights are oppressive because there are no longer any fixed boundaries of rights. Instead gay rights compels wedding photographers, cake shops and even churches to cater to gay weddings regardless of their own moral values. Religious freedom, which is in the Constitution, has to take a seat at the back of the bus to the new rights, which aren't.

There is no system for keeping rights from colliding with or overrunning one another. The only
governing legal mandate is preventing oppression and that means government arbitrators deciding who is screaming, "Help, help, I'm being repressed!" the loudest and with the most sincerity.

A system in which the authorities grant rights based on who can best make the case to them that their rights have been taken away is a bad idea. It's an especially bad idea in a system like ours which is rapidly sliding in a direction in which the authorities are the sole arbiters of who should have any rights at all. If your oppressed status depends on your oppressors determining whether you are truly oppressed, then the only people who will have rights are those people whose rights the oppressors have not taken away by certifying them as oppressed.

It would be a dreadful simplification to call this lunatic state of affairs Orwellian or even Machiavellian. It makes even Kafka's worlds seem positively stodgy by comparison. It is a trial where the only people to be found not guilty are those who already been convicted. It's a system that favors the people who claim to be dispossessed by the system. It is an absurd self-negation that exists as a mathematical impossibility and a living satire.

21 comments:

mindRider said...

Rabenu Tam's (± 1000 C.E.) decree compelling the monogamous Jewish marriage, to fall in line with the gentile community in which they lived, was to be vallid for a thousand years......and behold....!
In Holland neither married gays, for which ceremony b.t.w. the Jewish reform congregation (sic) invented a new beracha, nor the country's general liberal attitude towards soft-drugs and legalization for personal use (as long as the "coffee-shop" owners pay their taxes) caused many problems to society. Soda's in restaurants have without any regulation, never been available in over 11 ounce quantities and are now a days even down to 9 ounces (there is more profit in selling your customers repeat quantities that keep them thirsty) and no Dutchman ever protested that greedy habit. About North African and Turkish Muslim immigrants regrettably the same does not hold true, they do poorly to integrate into society and cause excessive trouble in general, also for gays, so USA heed the lessons learned in test-tube Netherlands and know where to prioritize.

Al said...

Daniel,
As usual, your arguments are a pleasure to read. I agree with your arguments and have recently reversed my long held view on this issue after much thinking, reading, arguing etc. I do have a question however that I hope may clarify with some readers how you approach the arguments against your arguments.
At one time, the women's suffrage movement I'm sure was regarded in the same light that the gay marriage issue is regarded by conservatives today. This has been used more than once against my own current views on this issue.
Intuitively I believe that it isn't close to the same argument but have trouble explaining why.. Can you please explore this question?
Cheers mate,and it's only a matter of time I reckon before Australia follows the same line as the US.

meema said...

(Isaiah 5:20) Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (5:21) Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!

How did we get here, where it appears the inmates are now in charge of the asylum? In his book Spoilt Rotten, The Toxic Cult of Sentimentality, Theodore Dalrymple identifies the phenomenon of what I call the modern representation of Isaiah 5:20-21 as the “sentimental” society that is doomed to implode because, having been nearly completely converted to sentimentalism, society is now at the mercy of the vagaries of “feelings” instead of the absolutes of fact-based thinking. He concludes: “Sentimentality has been the forerunner and accomplice of brutality wherever the policies suggested by it have been put into place. The cult of feeling destroys the ability to think, or even the awareness that it is necessary to think.”

I see the object/goal is to eliminate critical thinking and therefore individualism. Liberals tout individual rights even as they are working overtime to destroy any vestige of individuality. Everyone needs to be the same, to plug into the stream-of-consciousness so there can be no one who stands out who might challenge the status quo of sameness. The most successful tactic used to arrive at perfect sameness begins with the concept of unisex which has been facilitated by rabid feminism, except that while championing the cause of equal rights for women, the real goal is always more/better rights. This is straight out of the liberal’s playbook. No one is allowed to be smarter or dumber, richer or poorer, better at something than another so champion a cause and then push to make it more than equal by shaming the opposition with sentimentality.

You have to know it cannot get better until it gets much worse.

Edward Cline said...

Excellent essay, Daniel. In sum, what's going on with gay marriage, gun control, women in combat roles, and all the rest of it, are different fronts in Leftist nihilism. Islam is nihilistic, too, but with a different itinerary of things to destroy, among them gays and lesbians and women who don’t turn themselves into walking pillars of Hefty garbage bags to ward off non-gay men who search the cities for opportunities to rape. Yet, they are, for the moment, allies. As you point out, once the concept of marriage has been destroyed with the state's sanction, others will move in to exploit the victory. Polygamists? Very likely. How about pedophiles who want to legalize man-boy relationships, or woman-girl ones, or man-girl and woman-boy ones? They'll clamor to make the boys and girls of such arrangements their legal "spouses," relationships protected by law and eligible for all kinds of money and benefits. Next will come the Bestiality Brigade, and a woman whose "spouse" is a Great Dane, and the man whose "spouse" is a ewe. Who knew, in the 1930's, that this is what the Frankfurt School of Critical Thought would wreak?

Dennis Latham said...

There are still some people who hold strong in their beliefs. The media assaults us each day with ridiculous slanted stories to push the progressive agenda. I went to my Catholic Church last night for Easter vigil. I've not always been the best Catholic about going to church because I'm more the Crusader Catholic, but myself and hundreds of others spent 2 hours and 30 minutes in ritual church services because we believe and have faith. And, surprise of all surprises, our superstore Walmart is closed today for Easter. Never thought I would see a basically Catholic Holiday honored by Walmart. I'm sure there will be hell raised somewhere by some group of atheists.

Brett said...

Mania after mania leads to rule by maniacs. We are governed by hysterics whose well-earned comeuppance eludes us.

IgorR said...

Freedom's just another word that we were meant to lose.

IgorR said...

While the overall trend towards arbitrariness has certainly accelerated everywhere you look, it has been with us for a long time in the courts. Listening this morning on "Meet the Press" to an NBC correspondent talk about how "the court is just not ready for a sweeping decision on gay marriage" but "they will find a way to strike down DOMA" and how Chuck Todd concluded the show with "we will see if the court has the guts to decide one way or the other" the thought the occurred to me for the million's time is that the damn court is one big joke, a group of people who for the most part have about as much respect for the US Constitution as your average illiterate Mexican peasant running as fast as he can through the Arizona desert. Certainly some members of it do respect it, but as a group it makes decisions based on some vague feelings of say Justice Kennedy or some other equally important considerations. They find Obamacare constitutional based on some mysterious conversion of Justice Roberts, who some have speculated is being blackmailed for one thing or another. They will no doubt when their time comes will find that the second amendment has nothing to do with the right to bear arms than the right to arm bears in spite of its unambiguous language.

But is this new? When the court ruled in Roe v. Wade back in 1973 that women have a right to an abortion because of some right to privacy that is supposedly guaranteed by the due process clause of the 14th amendment, did they not make their ruling based on an Alice in Wonderland, words mean only what I choose them to mean type reasoning and did they not invent a right that was never there before, whether you agree with abortion or not? When they used the commerce clause for decades to let the Federal Government rule over anything it chose with an iron fist did they not establish the precedent that legal rulings on big matters have no basis in the Constitution?

The country has accepted a lawless Supreme Court for so long that inventing "rights" has seeped into its DNA. Today it is the sitcoms that help it know what the Constitution means or the screaming of the oppressed or whatever Obama says on TV on any given day. But the seeds of this were sown decades ago in the earlier part of the 20th century when the courts joined the progressives in abandoning any semblance of meaning of the constitution and deconstructed it into nothing as they are doing with marriage, immigration, and guns today.

Anonymous said...

OK. Let 'em have marriage, redefined by pop culture as any set of cohabitating beings. We'll take matrimony, defined as the union of man and woman as husband and wife, origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French matrimoignie, from Latin matrimonium, from matr-, mater mother, matron (Webster's online). From now on a man and woman get matrimonied, other sets of beings get married.

Anonymous said...

"And what does freedom mean anyway in a country where most things are banned, but we are constantly throwing holidays to celebrate how free we are?"

True.

I know this is a bad comparision but can there be a secular concept like d'veikus? Bound yet free since we cleave to the freedoms our Constitution grants us but cleaving to it out of love and respect? To cherish and protect them? Love and honor.

A state in which were are bound to this concept voluntarily? Bound and free at the same time?

The word freedom--I think there are two Hebrew words for freeom. Chofshi? (sp) meaning being truly free and free as getting things for free? Can't recall the word for that type of free.

The way I see it the Right want genuine freedom as we understand it and the Left wants freedom as in giving all manner of entitlements to some of the most strange and immoral acts. The Left is keeping people in bondage by making them rely on them for things such as cheap housing. Pity those living in these crime ridden projects never question why the liberals are so intent on keeping them in what a dear friend of mine who calls housing projects plantations.


Left: Free stuff in exchange for votes and staying in power. Keeping minorities in bondage and caving into things like gay marriage advocates because of their large political donations and large number of voter.

Right: Freeom. Bill of Rights Amendments.


Keliata



Doug Mayfield said...

Great article. The problem is that both the left and the right do not support freedom, inviolate individual rights, and limited government.

The L and the R both agree with, embrace, the idea of the government using force to control our lives. Where they disagree is how, where, and the degree to which, that force will be applied.

The right opposes homosexuality, drugs, abortion, and has demanded that government put a stop to them, in effect trying to legislate individual morality.

The left wants freedom for everything to which the right objects (and could care less about morality, personal or political) but unleashes government against everything else.

Hence Obama and company revel in imposing their socialist poison on us, as cowardly semi-socialist Republicans (George Bush who started the bailouts, please stand up) stage their usual and customary political-ethical equivalent of a hissy fit.

We end up with worst of all possible worlds, government, federal, state, and local, growing without bound.

Until, as a nation, we truly embrace freedom and individual rights, and their moral corollary, strictly limited government, we're in trouble.

Matt said...

Hang on a second, Daniel. Are you saying you're opposed to polygamy? But the BIBLE says polygamy is A-OK! Dozens of the prophets and patriarchs in the Bible has multiple wives, including Abraham, Jacob, and King David. Does that mean that you think some parts of the Bible are no longer relevant to our modern lives? That some traditions should not continue to be upheld?

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

The Bible doesn't mandate polygamy and polygamy goes quite badly every time it's tried in the Bible.

buzzsawmonkey said...

The problem is that the distinction has been intentionally blurred between "civil rights" and "human rights."

"Human rights" are a fraudulent substitute for liberty. The Constitution gives Americans liberty, protected by civil rights, not "human rights." Civil rights are rights that free people hold against the government, to be able beat back the government when it overreaches.

"Human rights" are special privileges granted by the government to favored constituencies, and, like all privileges granted by the government, alterable or revocable at the government's will.

When "human rights activists" demand "human rights" from despotic regimes, they are not seeking liberty. They are not seeking rights against such governments, which they know will be a futility. They are seeking special privileges---a little less torture, a little less repression of the press. They are seeking indulgences from the government, as if their rights came from the government. The UN, the home of the world's despotic regimes, never ever talks about "liberty." It never talks about the rule of law; it never talks about civil rights. It prates endlessly about "human rights."

The Constitution presumes NO "human rights"; it presumes LIBERTY, which it expects a free people to defend by exercising its civil rights against the government. Hillary Clinton was quite correct to say, in her recent reversal on same-sex marriage, that "gay rights" are "human rights"---that is the very reason that they should be OPPOSED, not favored. They are special privileges which an interested minority is demanding the government cede to them.

The gay-rights movement began using "human rights" in its pronouncements back in the 1970s, because there was not basis in American civil rights law for their demands. Sexual preference---the term which the movement, then more honest, used at that time---was not a basis on which "rights" could be demanded. It still isn't, but almost forty years of intentionally creating linguistic confusion through conflation have left their mark, and many people erroneously assume that "human rights" and civil rights are the same thing.

There are no civil rights denied to the homosexually-inclined; they are not denied the right to vote, to travel, to associate with whom they will. They are not denied protections against unreasonable search and seizure or self-incrimination; they are not denied the right to serve on juries; they are not denied the right to own property. They are denied none of the civil rights which are the birthright of all Americans. But the gay-rights movement is not looking for civil rights; it is seeking the special privileges of human rights. It wants special dispensations from the government.

DenisO said...

All States have an interest in family reproduction for replacement of necessary citizens, warriors, and tax payers to protect their unique civilizations. Therefore, history has elevated the parents to a special status vs non-reproducing inhabitants. By elevating them, the State forces families to recognize responsibilities that they, with rare exceptions, instinctively recognize and accept. Orphaned children, thru death or abandonment, would still be the responsibility of the extended family, all brothers, aunts, etc., and the State could softly "pressure" the family to take care of the children. This should ordinarily be their first choice, too.

So, there is a natural reason that "marriage" is what it has been for all civilized societies. Even primitives accepted the responsibility to care for "kin". There is no practical State interest in honoring or elevating non-reproductive unions, but recognizing civil contracts/unions is civilized and useful for legal reasons. What Daniel got right is that the gays want to reduce the honored male/female "marriage" status to that of civil union, and we lose a "word". To me, that isn't too threatening, particularly if the State further designated the "unions" as "Married-R" and "non-R", and R = Reproductive, or something similar. There might be a need to further designate with numbers and letters, denoting Male-Male or F-F NR, and numbers for polygamous "spouses". Then, they would not like that distinction, and would claim discrimination, but that might be a little too transparent. I don't like it because it is silly, and lacks legitimate reason. Are they denied anything but freedom from social stigma, and will that change? Are we not allowed personal preferences/prejudices? Would there be any utility in recognizing human-animal "marrigaes", except to make some feel good about themselves? Human-robot "marriage"? Keep going and you can see the absurdity of the whole question.

What they really want is to be another entitled minority, themselves elevated to a status above reproductive families. If they get the desired preferences and financial "entitlements", that will have to do them, and I'm sure it will be acceptable, for a while. Meanwhile, the pendulum swings.
Denis

aurictech said...

Since the nature of oppression and the identification of oppressed groups is open for debate, the legal doctrine means nothing.

In my "'Folk Marxism' and Anti-Gun Sentiment" blog post early last year, I addressed one way to identify the "oppressors," if not the "oppressed":

If you support the idea of armed private citizens behaving lawfully, you are, by definition, an "oppressor," regardless of whether you otherwise belong to a Designated Victim Group. OTOH, if you support the idea of disarming armed private citizens behaving lawfully, you get to "shed the opprobrium of being members of the 'oppressor' class by claiming to support the 'oppressed' against their 'oppressors'...." As an added bonus for the Progs, they also get to disarm those whom they intend to enslave.

Anonymous said...

So what determines the moral code for today? The Bible? The Qu'ran? The corrupt Congress? KarlMarx? All of these can be challenged today.

Anonymous said...

It's important to recognize that it's "same sex marriage," not "gay marriage."  There will be no gay test.

There is no logical reason, then, that marriage could not occur between close relatives.  Brothers could marry, citing the rationales given today for same sex marriage, such as a willingness to commit to each other's emotional and financial well being, and to obtain the government and other legal benefits that are provided for married couples based only on the fact of their marriage.  If the brothers are elderly and infirm, this scenario is just as logical as a young committed gay couple seeking to marry.  But marriage licenses will not have a logic or an age requirement (as long as the applicants are adults), and if two healthy brothers in their 20s find some legal or tax benefit in being married, there is no reason the new laws will prevent them from doing so.

Traditional laws that restrict marriage between close relatives could not logically apply, any more than the law of traditional marriage between a man and a woman will apply any longer.  Such laws are based on the health dangers of close relatives' having children together. That is not a factor in same sex marriage. 

After accepting the argument that marriage is based on the applicants' emotional bond regardless of their sex, how could any two (or more) people who apply for a marriage license be denied, whether they are a couple (or group) in love or simply people who profess a commitment to each other, including brothers, father and son, aunt and niece, or platonic friends?

As you note, the door is open to polygamy. And not just "traditional" polygamy, with the married group under one roof. What's the logical impediment to multiple marriages?  Tradition and law should not stand in the way of love, as the argument goes.

Conservative Language Institute of America said...

"Freedom" is NOT what traditionalists and conservatives should be supporting. Freedom as the primary agenda inevitably morphs into license and narcissism.

What we should be championing instead is ordered liberty, i.e., the pursuit of optimality. We live in the reality of an imperfect world, where there are always trade-offs, personal choices, responsibilities, and results. But just like Satan himself, leftists tempt the ignorant and na├»ve with delusions of pure autonomy. “Demand your rights” they insist, “and you shall be free.”

Radical autonomy promises personal freedom, but in the end it is simply the license to avoid choosing good from evil and any true value derived thereof.

Radical autonomy must inevitably chew up each next bit of traditional society in order to destroy it.

Radical autonomy casts the individual adrift on an endless sea of ultimately meaningless choices. He is left with no traditions that could anchor him to his family, his culture, his religion, or his society. His existence has no choice but to sink into narcissism.

Ordered liberty, NOT freedom, is the only way to achieve an optimal balance between individual choice and a meaningful society.

The sordid beauty of liberalism is that you are allowed to deform the language in whatever way you feel, so as to avoid ever acknowledging the horrendous real-world ramifications of your poisoned policies. "In the Beginning was the Word..." And who would be most likely to distort the word, if not Satan himself? In the final analysis, the left have surrendered to evil.

Anonymous said...

boy of boy, folks got a lot to say

what happens when 'complete freedom' (of thought) can only be attained by total subserviance to the koram?

Anonymous said...

Doug: I agree with you, somewhat, on the Right and Left. However the Right comes closer to what we regard as freedom and human and civil rights.

Some are making this particular issue more complicated than it needs to be.

I still believe that being a good American means following the laws of the land without caving to the L with their anti religousness-- within reason.

As for gay marriage I am against it.

A couple of years ago an elderly and disable woman in my apartment building received a lease violation and eviction notice. She was gay, which may have played a role in this. A number of tenants, all against evicting a 79-year old lady, were outraged.

We went door to door to get tenants to sign a petition against this. We called in a gay rights advocate and contacted a NYS Assemblyman (D) and long story short this elderly woman was not evicted and lived in her apartment until she died.

All who fought for her civil and human rights are religious and against gay marriage and human at the same time.

Helping an old lady to stay in her apartment was a matter of basic human empathy.

Not to mention that federal fair housing rights give all Americans the right to "quiet and peaceful enjoyment" of our homes.

Fair housing laws protect or ideally should protect all Americans from housing discrimination. HUD...yikes gov and former director of HUD.


Anyways NYS gay marriage--this vocal gay rights advocate who was instrumental in getting gay marriage approved in NYS met with several tenants in our building to help this old lady just hours before the vote.

I watched as the supporter of gay marriage received a flurry of emails on her phone to call off a large rally at the house of Mark Grisanti (R) because his wife was apparently afraid.

The protest as I recall was called off.

Grisanti voted in favor of gay marriage.

Who knows if he felt pressured politically since his district is primarily Democrat. He was elected though.


But as I wrote, helping this old lady was a matter of human decency and compassion. Being against gay marriage doesn't make us against a fellow human being.


Not bigots at all, though I am certain many would accuse us of it for being against gay marriage and our believe that marriage applies to a man and woman.


Doing what is right according to the criminal justice system (Don't get me started on that lol) and our religion and conscience.

We can be against gay marriage but still be outraged when human and civil rights are violated and not our religion and morality and what the bible says .

I see no contradiction.

Who knows? It could be that I've watched "What Would You?" online too many times lol.

Keliata

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