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California testing limits of the American form of government
Sacramento Bee ^ | 1/24/5 | Dan Walters

Posted on 01/24/2005 12:31:14 PM PST by SmithL

Those who created the American system of government, and encased it in the U.S. Constitution, were attempting to balance two equally insidious forces - tyranny and chaos.

They had fought a revolution to escape the former, but had experienced the latter in the years following the war under the too-weak Articles of Confederation. The Constitution, therefore, embodied what were called "checks and balances," creating a stronger central government but diffusing its authority among two legislative branches, a separately elected presidency and an independent judiciary.

The structure reflected the belief, as James Madison states it in the Federalist Papers, that "The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny."

Despite our example, other democracies that emerged during the 19th and 20th centuries, including those in Europe and in neighboring Canada, tended toward the parliamentary system, in which the party or coalition controlling the legislative branch also names the executive.

There are crucial differences between the two, the most important being the parliamentary system's concentration of power and responsibility - the antithesis of the decentralized American system. In a parliamentary government, such as Tony Blair's administration in Great Britain, the governing party has an absolute mandate to act and cannot pass the buck.

(Excerpt) Read more at sacbee.com ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial; Government; News/Current Events; US: California
KEYWORDS: boxes; california; granolastate
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1 posted on 01/24/2005 12:31:18 PM PST by SmithL
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To: SmithL
I haven't finished the article yet but this sounds an awful lot like a set up for "We should do things more like Europe does." Yeah, let's give Communists, Fascists, and other loons the legitimacy they want so we can be more like a continent that can't even defend itself.
2 posted on 01/24/2005 12:34:10 PM PST by Question_Assumptions
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To: SmithL

The tyranny is the legaslature et. al. writing themselves into a permanant paychecks. What is needed is more citizen representatives, rather than career political technocrats. Term limits is jsut a start. Guys like Bustamante wouldn't know what to do with themselves if there wasn't a public teat to suck.


3 posted on 01/24/2005 12:37:09 PM PST by glorgau
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To: SmithL
Yup, just as I thought. The author should note that the Constitution explicitly states:

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic Violence.

Would a parliamentary system count?

4 posted on 01/24/2005 12:37:09 PM PST by Question_Assumptions
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To: SmithL

"It's an oversimplification, but perhaps California has too much democracy..."

It's not a problem of too much or too little. It's more a problem that the electorate is simply not responsible. They somehow got the idea that they can use government to take other people's property, either thru regulation or taxation. The result is that California is one big free-for-all, everyone grabbing at everyone else's stuff. It's not a matter of reforming government. It's a matter of re-educating California's voters.


5 posted on 01/24/2005 12:41:02 PM PST by Brilliant
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To: SmithL
It's an oversimplification, but perhaps California has too much democracy and could use a dose of the authoritarianism that Blair wields in London, not only increasing the power of the governor to act, but imposing accountability for the outcome.

Stripped to essentials - but without saying so explicitly - that's what Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appears to be advocating on several fronts, whether it be in reorganizing state government to put more power directly in the governor's office, or in changing the budgetary system to provide for automatic spending reductions if revenues fall short of projections.

Some is this is questionable on constitutional grounds, but then again, California is pretty screwed up under it's existing system. The only part I agree with completely is the automatic spending reductions.

6 posted on 01/24/2005 12:41:02 PM PST by Disambiguator
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To: Question_Assumptions
Parliamentary government in California? We should not dismiss it out of hand, because we Californians may be testing the ability of the American system to function when society reaches a critical point of complexity.

Phooey. Who says a government that cannot act is bad? I happen to prefer government gridlock. The less the government does, the better.

7 posted on 01/24/2005 12:43:20 PM PST by Entrepreneur
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Comment #8 Removed by Moderator

To: UnashamedAmerican

a dose of realism sounds better


9 posted on 01/24/2005 12:46:54 PM PST by satchmodog9 (Murder and weather are our only news)
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To: Question_Assumptions
It would be good for California. It would end the buck passing and concentrate political responsibility. No longer could politicians escape doing their jobs. As a matter of fact, I have drafted a Model Constitution for California with a parliamentary system of government in mind.

Denny Crane: "I look to two things: First to God and then to Fox News."

10 posted on 01/24/2005 12:59:32 PM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: Disambiguator; Carry_Okie; NormsRevenge; farmfriend; calcowgirl; tubebender; hedgetrimmer; ...
kakistocracy. kak·is·toc·ra·cy ( P ) Pronunciation Key (kk-stkr-s, käk-) n. pl. kak·is·toc·ra·cies Government by the least qualified or most unprincipled citizens.
11 posted on 01/24/2005 1:03:31 PM PST by SierraWasp (Moderates, are just too chicken to commit to any ideal!!! They prefer sophisticated sophistry...)
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To: Brilliant; Grampa Dave; Dog Gone; Ernest_at_the_Beach; eldoradude; snopercod; Southack
See #11 for laughs!!!

OOPS! I fergot!! It's "No Name-Calling Weak!!!"

12 posted on 01/24/2005 1:06:52 PM PST by SierraWasp (Moderates, are just too chicken to commit to any ideal!!! They prefer sophisticated sophistry...)
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To: SmithL
His contrast of the parliamentary system with the executive (what he calls "federal") system is beside the point .
California can change the divisions of authority among it's branches by simply rewriting those powers in it's constitution.

Parliamentarianism's got nothing to do with it. He should try rewriting this using "Constitutionalism" as needed.

13 posted on 01/24/2005 1:09:39 PM PST by mrsmith
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To: SierraWasp
No-Name-calling weak?

Not a chance on this Forum. it's going on over here:

Linux, Inc.

14 posted on 01/24/2005 1:17:57 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (A Proud member of Free Republic ~~The New Face of the Fourth Estate since 1996.)
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To: SierraWasp

Are you sure you don't mean Calistocracy?


15 posted on 01/24/2005 1:19:46 PM PST by Brilliant
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To: glorgau
The tyranny is the legaslature et. al. writing themselves into a permanant paychecks. What is needed is more citizen representatives, rather than career political technocrats. Term limits is jsut a start. Guys like Bustamante wouldn't know what to do with themselves if there wasn't a public teat to suck.

In New Hampshire, state legislators are paid about $200 per year, and that's set in the Constitution.

16 posted on 01/24/2005 1:41:21 PM PST by mvpel (Michael Pelletier)
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To: SmithL

The problem behind the scenes here is the 17th amendment to the Constitution which takes the power away from the state government to appoint a state senator and gives it to the people to vote every six years. While the term was still 6 years, the state legislature could always vote to recall them ( a process much easier than getting the population to do the same). Under this system the senators were always accountable to someone and the states had some say in federal issues.


17 posted on 01/24/2005 1:57:03 PM PST by rconawa
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To: SmithL
Parliamentary government in California ... should not be dismiss(ed) .. out of hand, because we Californians may be testing the ability of the American system to function when society reaches a critical point of complexity.

Just yesterday a Republican Party loyalist defended Walters as a conservative. What hog wash.

Here's Walters again peddling the inevitability of a multicultural society.

18 posted on 01/24/2005 2:31:32 PM PST by Amerigomag
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To: rconawa

Senators could not be recalled before the 17th Amendment either.
At some state ratification conventions antifederalists argued that the Constitution should be amended to allow recall of Senators but it wasn't.


19 posted on 01/24/2005 2:38:46 PM PST by mrsmith
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To: SmithL
The article's heart is in this passage:

"The federal system, including California's version, works if there is a broad social or civic consensus on what government should be doing, but when that consensus breaks down, as it has in California, the "checks and balances" can become insurmountable hurdles. They provide the means by which any single-purpose interest group - be it cultural, ideological, geographic or economic - can wield a virtual veto on any major issue."

The Federal system works when nothing happens! That what "checks & balances" means. "Check" to halt. "Balance" to prevent from tipping to one side.

20 posted on 01/24/2005 3:02:44 PM PST by Woodworker
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Well, yer lookin in the wrong place! It's over here!!! Snart!!! (same as snort, but more politically correct.)
21 posted on 01/24/2005 3:21:49 PM PST by SierraWasp (Moderates, are just too chicken to commit to any ideal!!! They prefer sophisticated sophistry...)
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To: SmithL
California: A state filled with people too dumb to realize that the polticians they vote for are responsible for screwing them, and then whine about the same politicians they voted for and pass ballot initiative after ballot initiative.

Thankfully, we will NEVER have "rule by referendum" on a national level. We are a Republic folks, NOT A DEMOCRACY!

22 posted on 01/24/2005 3:24:12 PM PST by Clemenza (I Am Here to Chew Bubblegum and Kick Ass, and I'm ALL OUT OF BUBBLEGUM!)
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To: Brilliant
It's not a problem of too much or too little. It's more a problem that the electorate is simply not responsible. They somehow got the idea that they can use government to take other people's property, either thru regulation or taxation. The result is that California is one big free-for-all, everyone grabbing at everyone else's stuff. It's not a matter of reforming government. It's a matter of re-educating California's voters.

BINGO! That is why you have that "rule by referendum" mess.

23 posted on 01/24/2005 3:25:23 PM PST by Clemenza (I Am Here to Chew Bubblegum and Kick Ass, and I'm ALL OUT OF BUBBLEGUM!)
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To: Brilliant; Grampa Dave
No... That's the city council of Calistoga, CA!!!

I'm pingin Grampa Dave cause that's over in his county and I like to poke sticks at his county, even though he never pokes sticks at mine, because we'd never let him back in here to fly fish if'n he done that to us!!!

24 posted on 01/24/2005 3:28:05 PM PST by SierraWasp (Moderates, are just too chicken to commit to any ideal!!! They prefer sophisticated sophistry...)
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To: SierraWasp
Did you catch this in the LA Times the other day?
Larry J. Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia and editor of a book on initiatives, described Schwarzenegger's style as "elite direct democracy…. It's 'Trust the people, after I have informed them.'

25 posted on 01/24/2005 3:34:37 PM PST by calcowgirl
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To: SierraWasp

Calistoga is rapidly becoming Berzerkley North.


26 posted on 01/24/2005 3:35:48 PM PST by Grampa Dave ( The MSM has been a weapon of mass disinformation for the Rats for at least 4 decades.)
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To: Question_Assumptions; NormsRevenge; Dog Gone; tubebender; hedgetrimmer; forester; dalereed; ...
" Schwarzenegger, who grew up in Austria's parliamentary democracy and has been mentored by former Gov. Pete Wilson, an advocate of a stronger executive, doesn't appear to be fazed."

Well... Here's the essence of the rest of the article!!!

Now... How's that grab ya???

27 posted on 01/24/2005 3:39:34 PM PST by SierraWasp (Moderates, are just too chicken to commit to any ideal!!! They prefer sophisticated sophistry...)
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To: SierraWasp
Walters accurately describes the problem of California, even if he's a little more shaky on the solution.

California's laws have a lot more basis in populism than other states, and that has been manipulated and abused by special interest groups for several decades now.

Combined with a liberal judiciary that is more than willing to overturn initiatives from conservative special interest groups, it's driven California politics further and further to the left, and without an ability to get a lot of needed things accomplished.

Walters isn't really suggesting a european parliamentary solution. He's suggesting that the governor should have more power than the bureaucracy. He's probably correct, but the liberals in the California legislature and the special interest groups can prevent that from happening.

28 posted on 01/24/2005 3:49:25 PM PST by Dog Gone
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To: Clemenza
Thankfully, we will NEVER have "rule by referendum" on a national level."

And as a consequence, we will never have anything like California's tax limiting initiative, Proposition 13 (without which, home ownership would be just as impossible in California as it is in New York)

29 posted on 01/24/2005 4:14:13 PM PST by editor-surveyor (The Lord has given us President Bush; let's now turn this nation back to him)
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To: Dog Gone; Carry_Okie; Jim Robinson; writer33; Not just another dumb blonde; jcon40; DoughtyOne; ...
Well... Isn't "Walters" a Germanic, Teutonic, or Autrian type of name??? You know... the type that hates disorder, chaos, or too much messy populism??? (like FReepin N Such?) Achtoleeburr!!!

Me thinks he's prolly right about der Schwarzenrenegger!!! Creator of massive GANG-GREEN elitist bureaucratic/autocratic land-locking CONservacancies in CA!!!

30 posted on 01/24/2005 4:14:31 PM PST by SierraWasp (Moderates, are just too chicken to commit to any ideal!!! They prefer sophisticated sophistry...)
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To: Clemenza

Also, the Washington auto license limitation fallos in the same category.


31 posted on 01/24/2005 4:16:09 PM PST by editor-surveyor (The Lord has given us President Bush; let's now turn this nation back to him)
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To: mrsmith

Man! You have a fantastic FR homepage!!!


32 posted on 01/24/2005 4:23:55 PM PST by SierraWasp (Moderates, are just too chicken to commit to any ideal!!! They prefer sophisticated sophistry...)
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To: calcowgirl

See? That all depends on whether you want your Governator "gruntled" or "dissed!" Actually I'm already disgruntled with mine, but then I sorta think you already gnew that, right?


33 posted on 01/24/2005 4:36:36 PM PST by SierraWasp (Moderates, are just too chicken to commit to any ideal!!! They prefer sophisticated sophistry...)
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To: SierraWasp
I am convinced that the state is robbing counties and cities of funding to bankrupt them and do away with local control and replace it with 7 or 8 regional appointed commissions...
34 posted on 01/24/2005 4:56:02 PM PST by tubebender (Can someone remind me what my Near Years resolutions were...)
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To: editor-surveyor
When I was in Florida, we had initiatives approving a multi-billion dollar "super train," one for "smaller class sizes" that has in effect sent property taxes skyrocketing, passed a "waiting period" for firearms purchases, banned smoking in most public places and approved the financing of other boondoggles. Rule by the SHEEPLE indeed.

THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE NOT AS CONSERVATIVE AS YOU THINK! Adopting "rule by referendum" is SELLING THE PROTECTION OF OUR RIGHTS DOWN THE TOILET! If you can't get the laws you like by electing representatives that actually represent your interests, then you get the politicians you deserve.

35 posted on 01/24/2005 4:56:53 PM PST by Clemenza (I Am Here to Chew Bubblegum and Kick Ass, and I'm ALL OUT OF BUBBLEGUM!)
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To: Dog Gone; Grampa Dave; Southack; Ernest_at_the_Beach; John Jorsett; NormsRevenge; ElkGroveDan
"even if he's a little more shaky on the solution"

I really appreciate you deeply thoughtful, insightful and penetrating analysis, Mr. Gone!

He has dispaired over CA's "Ungovernable Situation" many a time in print as he doesn't dislike the initiative, referendumb and recall processes on their own populist merits as much as he despises the way they've been hi-jacked by pollsters, consultants and lobbyists for severe and obscene special interests.

A perfect example is the Prop 98 passage by the teacher's yoonyuns with Celebrity Jack Lemon lying his virtual ass off to the people on multi-millions spent by said yoonyuns on totally deceptive TV commercials!!! It's what's at the core of the up-coming budget WAR with Senor Schwarzenegger that they're calling the "renegger" in the press, right NOW!!!

We used to sorta respect elected leaders in CA to some degree... now they're all a joke and cannot be "statesmen" as they live in fear of being "second guessed" by the people at the ballot box. So now we simply have "government by whim" an that makes the state ungovernable. There are certainly no leaders... only followers acting like leaders if the media plays along to make them look good.

The media loves it, just like they thought they'd love campaign finance reform laws, cause it gives them more power than anyone else!!! That sucks canal water!!! Think about it, will ya???

36 posted on 01/24/2005 5:00:24 PM PST by SierraWasp (Moderates, are just too chicken to commit to any ideal!!! They prefer sophisticated sophistry...)
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To: mrsmith
Senators could not be recalled before the 17th Amendment either.

But their reappointment was not the shoo-in that it is today. And if it was, then it was an incentive to pay more attention to who got votes in the state legislature.

-PJ

37 posted on 01/24/2005 5:01:59 PM PST by Political Junkie Too (It's still not safe to vote Democrat.)
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To: snopercod; Lurker

I meant to ping the two of you to my last reply on this thread, as well...


38 posted on 01/24/2005 5:03:27 PM PST by SierraWasp (Moderates, are just too chicken to commit to any ideal!!! They prefer sophisticated sophistry...)
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To: SierraWasp
The media loves it, just like they thought they'd love campaign finance reform laws, cause it gives them more power than anyone else!!!

And, of course, your media is dominated by the SF Chronicle and the LA Slimes. The Sacramento Bee is a distant third in influence.

Fundamental reform is needed in California, but the political establishment, the liberals and their supporters in the media, aren't going to give that up easily. If anything, they're trying to make it even more secure.

39 posted on 01/24/2005 5:08:56 PM PST by Dog Gone
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To: SierraWasp

When did the government get the idea that it's function was other than to protect individual rights?


40 posted on 01/24/2005 5:21:19 PM PST by snopercod ( We as the people no longer truly believe in liberty, not as Americans did -- Dayfdd ab Hugh)
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To: Dog Gone; Grampa Dave
"The Sacramento Bee is a distant third in influence."

For a fraction of a second, I thought you had left the "h" out of "third!"

41 posted on 01/24/2005 5:23:25 PM PST by SierraWasp (Moderates, are just too chicken to commit to any ideal!!! They prefer sophisticated sophistry...)
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To: snopercod
Well... I was certainly before Jesse Unruh decided that CA needed a "full-time" legislature, don'tcha think???

(I know... I know... That answer was way too flip!!!)

(But your question was way too rhetorical!!!)(grin)

42 posted on 01/24/2005 5:26:38 PM PST by SierraWasp (Moderates, are just too chicken to commit to any ideal!!! They prefer sophisticated sophistry...)
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To: SmithL

This writer continually advocates regional government and is now asking to have our constitutional government replaced by a parlimentary system. I am appalled that the editor publishes his columns without a disclaimer that the man's suggestions are unconsititutional.

By not disclaiming this man, the newspaper is tacitly agreeing to overthrow our constitutional government.


43 posted on 01/24/2005 5:28:27 PM PST by hedgetrimmer
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To: SierraWasp

Speaking of rhetorical questions, can Ahhhnold declare a state of emergency due to the stupidity of the voters in California?


44 posted on 01/24/2005 5:28:50 PM PST by snopercod ( We as the people no longer truly believe in liberty, not as Americans did -- Dayfdd ab Hugh)
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To: snopercod

I'm still not sure if either Gray Devious or A. Schwarzenrenegger have rescinded the emergency Davis issued during the energy crisis!!!


45 posted on 01/24/2005 5:46:45 PM PST by SierraWasp (Moderates, are just too chicken to commit to any ideal!!! They prefer sophisticated sophistry...)
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To: Question_Assumptions

"Would a parliamentary system count?"

Hell No!


46 posted on 01/24/2005 6:47:59 PM PST by dalereed
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To: dalereed

I just knew you'd clear things up!!! (grin)


47 posted on 01/24/2005 8:22:31 PM PST by SierraWasp (Moderates, are just too chicken to commit to any ideal!!! They prefer sophisticated sophistry...)
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To: tubebender

I agree.


48 posted on 01/24/2005 8:50:44 PM PST by forester (An economy that is overburdened by government eventually results in collapse)
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To: SierraWasp

Didn't you mean fecestrocracy?


49 posted on 01/24/2005 9:41:26 PM PST by eldoradude (When all else fails, vote from the rooftops.)
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To: eldoradude

Well, that's for the REALLY feckless and reckless!!!


50 posted on 01/24/2005 9:50:54 PM PST by SierraWasp (Moderates, are just too chicken to commit to any ideal!!! They prefer sophisticated sophistry...)
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