The Immoral Royalty: Why the Monarchy in the UK is Immoral

In case you didn’t know, Prince William and Kate Middleton just recently got married. I suppose it would be in good character for me to wish them the best, which I suppose do, but I seem to have a deficiency of interest in the UK Royal Family. I guess it stems from my fervent belief that they represent an entirely immoral political class; a self-imposed elite that feeds off of tradition; an illegitimate family of rulers who circumvent the proper notion of government. To explain my thinking here, we must first ask ourselves, “What is the purpose of government?” and “Which form of government is best?” I will tackle these two questions separately.

The Purpose of Government

Because man is a rational animal – and in most instances desires to live – he has the right to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life. In other words, by man’s very nature, he has the right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. Man’s rights are not gifts bestowed by God, or granted to us by a benevolent government, nor conferred to us by a gracious society. They are inherently ours and inalienable.

I lack the moral authority to do violence against another man’s rights. The forbiddance of the initiation of force is a cornerstone principle if man is to successfully live on earth. However, if I were mentally ill or overcome by emotion I may transgress – I may commit injustice. For those who would, a collection of individuals must defend themselves. As Thomas Jefferson said “It is to secure our rights that we resort to government at all.”

So then, the only moral purpose of government is to defend those rights. It’s sole task: to stop injustice so justice itself remains.

The Best Form of Government

Clearly, the best form of government is that which defends the rights of man – his life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. The Founding Fathers of the United States understood this moral imperative when they crafted the Constitution and its limiting mechanics imposed on government. More fundamentally, they understood that government cannot carry legitimacy if it is not powered by popular sovereignty. Such was what Jefferson spoke of when he referred to the individuals that composed society to be the “safest depository of power.”

Unfortunately political theory  is an endangered interest in the United States. Few question the authority of government because for the past century, altruistic politicians have laid moral claim on more and more quadrants of life. Government’s role has been expanded in the name of all sorts of daemons, be them charity, civil defense, or environmentalism. It is only with a solid philosophical and ethical foundation can a political structure stand.

The British Monarchy

The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy. While most political power is delegated to parliament and the Prime Minister, the royal family still holds substantial power over the state. The constitution of the United Kingdom, and uncodified set of laws and procedures, acts as the only barrier between the Monarchy and the state. The Monarchy’s remaining powers include the power to maintain or dissolve Parliament, to appoint and dismiss the Prime Minister, and to grant or refuse Royal Assent to legislation passed in Parliament. These powers are very rarely used in the negative however. The decline of Royal Assent was last used in 1708 and the dissolution of parliament in 1835.

However, let’s review Monarchy in principle. In a monarchical system political power resides in a family chosen by God to govern. Such is the case in the United Kingdom. There is however something distasteful to make the claim that God has chosen a particular family to rule an entire country. First of all, how do we know this divine decree to be true? By what authority does God have to chose the governance of mortal men? Is the King or Queen in direct contact with God? Are they familiar with God’s will? Is there even a god?

Claims to the right to govern derived from a god are inconsistent with the proper role of government, and in fact perverts the very definition of a government. Government is a reluctant enterprise among free individuals to protect their rights from those who would trespass them. It’s very nature presupposes the consent of the governed. Unfortunately, the Monarchy benefits from no such consent. The Royal Family are not voted for. Their political power is inherited. It is derived not from votes, but from blood. This represents an entirely illegitimate form of leadership, and immoral system of government. The mere concept of royalty defies individual rights and the precept that men are born equal. Such was the very reason the American colonists rebelled from the British crown.

Incessant clamoring over the ‘majestic’ and ‘magical’ place the Royal Family enjoys feeds a perverted sense of governance. It does violence to the very nature of man. I would hope one day the English people will realize the transgression that has been imposed on them by tradition. It is high time for them to shrug off centuries old concepts and become acquainted with a political theory and system that respects the individual, holds him to be sovereign, and the state to be his rights’ defender.

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“Progressive” News Site Marries Rand to GOP

Reposted from OActivists:
Take a look at this abysmal portrayal of Objectivism and Ayn Rand.

The article seems to equate conservatives’ superficial approval of Ayn Rand’s political ideas with principled conjoining. The record needed to be set straight. My comments:

The author of this article has made the atrocious mistake of equating conservatives’ superficial approval of (some of) Rand’s political ideas with a principled agreement between Objectivists and Conservatives. I’d like to set the record straight.

Let me first make clear that Ayn Rand viewed conservatives as a greater threat to the survival of the American country and idea. She saw conservatives to be more willing to shackle the rights of individuals for their cause, slightly more so than their counterparts on the left. She laid considerable condemnation to both the left and right for their adherence to predatory altruism, their dedication to anti-reason in the form of faith and mysticism, and their complete lack of philosophical underpinning.

Rightfully however, the author depicts Social Security, Medicare, and other welfare programs as burdensome violations of an individuals’ liberty according to Objectivism. It is the forceful confiscation and redistribution of wealth that Objectivists view as morally impermissible. Of what right does any other have to the earned wealth of some? Of what right to a certain standard of living – regardless of personal effort or lack thereof – do others have? By what standard are you to deny an individual his right to the pursuit of his own happiness?

Ayn Rand’s philosophy begins with recognition of the individual as a sovereign entity with inalienable rights derived from his unique ability to reason. She refused to view humanity as a homogenous whole capable of being prodded, controlled, and manipulated into performing grandiose tasks. Rather, she viewed man for what he was – a heroic being capable of incredible feats, feats made possible by his ability to use his mind.

This article wrongly portrays Objectivism as a savage system of anarchy, of a cold and dark lawless night with no individual safe from mindless gangs of greed and profit. Unfortunately, that could not be further from the truth. It’s Objectivism that recognizes – by virtue of his nature – the individual’s right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. It’s Objectivism that rests responsibility upon the individual yet it does not forbid acts of kindness and charity. It’s Objectivism that grants man choice, not moral and social pressure. It’s Objectivism that grants man freedom.

It wasn’t Objectivism this article spoke of.

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U.S.-Columbia (Not So) Free Trade Deal

This past Wednesday, April 6th 2011, President Obama announced the long-awaited initiation of a U.S.-Columbia free trade agreement (FTA). The agreement, which was expected to be reached back in 2006, had been held up originally by unfounded notions that free trade during a recession is a bad thing, but since the advent of a Democrat-controlled White House and Senate, the treaty has been stalled on grounds that Columbia must enact labor union protectionist policies.

According to the The Wall Street Journal:

Over the past couple of years, the biggest hurdle in Washington to a trade deal shifted from trade deficit fears to complaints by congressional Democrats over the frequent killings of labor leaders in Colombia by right-wing groups, some of which were alleged to have ties to the Colombian government.

The killing of innocent life is obviously abhorrent. As a philosophical Objectivist and political Libertarian, I see the initiation of force as a moral failing and a clear violation of an individual’s right to life. However, I also see intrusive economic policies with attached stipulations as a violation of an individual’s right to liberty and the pursuit of their own happiness. By presenting conditions upon which free individuals may trade with each other hardly seems like a province of state concern. However, that presupposes the government recognizes the individual as free, competent enough to trade, and not a warren of state policy.

The Democrat’s claims that the violence against labor union leaders in Colombia were the hurdles that blocked the FTA, are overblown. According to the National Center for Policy Analysis, “homicide rates are nearly three times higher in the United States (5.4 per 100,000) than among Colombian labor union members (1.9 per 100,000).” Furthermore, a study over at the Cato Institute concluded that “the overall murder rate in Colombia has declined dramatically in the past decade, and the murder rate against members of labor unions has declined even more rapidly. A union member in Colombia today is one-sixth as likely to be a victim of homicide as a fellow citizen who does not belong to a union.”

It should come to no surprise that the political left in this country will, in all instances possible, defend their historical voting blocks. The recent Wisconsin hoop-la over union powers and their degree of leverage over government had unearthed the entrenched relationship between the Democratic Party and domestic labor unions, but the Colombian FTA sheds a new light. It is now obvious that the Democrats see no reason why they should not dictate their own labor policies upon other sovereign nations. Claude Barfield recognized this fact over at the American Enterprise Institute:

[I]n many ways these provisions represent a callous trampling on Colombia’s sovereignty and the right to determine for itself specific priorities and obligations in the domestic labor market. Among the more egregious demands, Colombia has acquiesced to “criminalize” (with prison terms of up to five years) any acts that “undermine the right to organize and bargain collectively.” It must also pass a law dictating prison terms for anyone who “offers a collective pact to non-union workers that is superior to terms for union workers.” No definition of “undermine” or “superior terms,” of course, is set forth.

It has become more and more clear that this free trade agreement has very little to do with freedom. Sure, trade between our two countries will grow, but it seems that as a result, the Colombian people have become less free to organize themselves the way they wish to (or not organize for that matter).

This unfortunate display of economic foreign policy by the Democrats should make it clear that they are ill-equipped – ideologically – to represent the United States’ interests. It also illuminates the flagrant disregard for the individual rights of both Colombians and Americans. While I support free trade, I oppose intrusive expeditions of the state into the lives of free people, and I hope Colombians recognize what is being perpetrated upon them by their government and ours.

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A Separation of Economy & State

When Ayn Rand wrote “Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal” in 1967, she had no illusion that even then (and most certainly today) the American economy was not worthy of the term capitalism. That had not always been the case however. In the early years of America’s founding, interactions among free men were unfettered by government regulation to the scale it is today. But the failure of the United States to maintain its once pure and honest economic system is not the fault of capitalism itself. It is oft claimed by those on the left that capitalism’s inherent characteristics of competition and greed are paradoxically the ingredients for its destruction. This has been exemplified best by none other than Karl Marx himself, but also by lesser intellectuals like Michael Moore in his documentary, “Capitalism: A Love Story.”

It was with the recent economic recession that rocked Wall Street and financial institutions abroad which brought capitalism’s doubters to rear their ugly head. Attacks on high-payed CEOs and cloaked bankers of unmeasurable prestige were leveled, their pay criticized, their business practices judged immoral. What lacked fervor, however, was the conversation on just how the American government had twisted and droved its way into almost ever crevice that had begun to fall apart. What seemed to be ignored was the nature of the relationship between politicians and banks – a cronyism of colossal magnitude that fell like the house of cards it was.

We do not live in a capitalist system. We live in its mongrel, starved, and unshaven cousin. We do not enjoy the receptivity of free markets. We suffer from a foggy swamp of state direction.

To exhibit such dismay would be the work of a voluminous text. But take for example the sobering news reported by the Wall Street Journal that 1 in 4 Americans needs permission by the government to work, or that the ethanol industry is pushing for more federal subsidies with sured promises of campaign assistance, or even the deplorable admission that the Federal Reserve hid from the public the fact that it lent millions of taxpayer dollars to foreign banks during the peak of the financial crisis.

The United States government has interjected itself into sector after sector in the name of the “common good.” Subjective regulation, birthed in the closed doors of Washington D.C., is hailed as a necessary axiom to our complex economic system. Because if this, we live in a state of crony capitalism, a mixed economy of heavily regulated markets and unaccountable controls of our money. It would behoove us all to reconsider the term capitalism and its moral implications.

Capitalism rests the responsibility and consequences of trade on the private sector. It is a system where free men may exchange goods for valued currency or other goods at their own discretion. It is the only system that recognizes  the sovereignty of the individual and the rights he has been endowed with by his very nature. The moment government instills the use of force upon the individual in his array of choices presented to him by the market, it has transgressed on his right to pursue happiness. The moment government bans the production of a product in the name of “public safety” it has transgressed on the right to liberty. The moment the individual is no longer seen as sovereign in the eyes of the state, it has transgressed on his right to his own life.

What is the solution to these pressing problems? It is not to just deregulate, but to withdraw the state to its only moral purpose, to stop injustice so justice itself remains. We must reevaluate the meaning of government as the protector of our rights, not the purveyor of them. We must remember that government is powered by the engine of popular sovereignty, and that if it grows beyond the confines laid out for it, we have the right to change it.

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Obama’s ‘Moral’ Basis of Libyan Action

It seems the ethics of altruism has struck again: a selfless war in Libya at the expense of U.S. time and resources. I couldn’t help but yell into my car radio as I was listening to President Obama’s speech last night  as he danced around like a jester trying to please the American people with deploying the U.S. military to yet another sand country. I was unamused.

The President invoked the strong chored of “responsibility” over and over again. His strongest statement:

To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and — more profoundly — our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are.  Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries.  The United States of America is different.  And as President, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.

I take serious issue with this extra-constitutional view of America’s international role. President Obama is seemingly implying that the United States is morally obligated to alleviate the ills of the world. Yet we find troubling gaps in this reasoning. We have ignored the brutal suppression of protesters in Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Syria, Yemen, and other totalitarian countries, not to mention the ongoing genocides in Africa, the violation of human rights in China, suppression of the free press in Russia, or the practices of socialist dictators in Venezuela and Cuba. I mention these other dark realities not to advocate American involvement, but to highlight the nature of American foreign policy, and the President’s misunderstanding of it. Many troubles plague this world, few of which endanger American interest.

The President swears an oath to defend the United States from enemies both domestic and foreign and wields power over the world’s most powerful military in order to carry out that oath. But in what sense does genocide in the Sudan endanger American interest? It does not. In what sense does the suppression of rights in Russia endanger American interest? It does not.

In what sense does a revolution in Libya endanger American interest? It does not.

Why then are we deploying the U.S. military in Libya? The President argues we had a responsibility to defend the Libyan people — that had we not interceded, Qaddafi would have leveled towns and killed an untold number of innocent people. But who endowed us with that responsibility? By what standard is that responsibility ours to take up? The only answer is the ethics of altruism.

Altruism demands from every man that he sacrifice himself for the good of others. It is the ethic of suicide and under its mantel of self-sacrifice, it has once again pushed America into a world conflict which has no relation to American interests (interests that the President has consigned to defend).

It would behoove President Obama to become reacquainted with his job duties; to not let hawks on the right or bleeding-hearts on the left to obscure his prime responsibility to represent, secure, and defend American interests.

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Social Security is Bankrupt… Morally.

James Leroy Wilson over at DownsizeDC.org wrote a piece on the fraudulent nature of Social Security. He does a great job until he ends his editorial with recommendations on how to make it solvent, as if its solvency is the solution. I disagreed, and commented as follows:

First of all, I would like to thank James Leroy Wilson for this great article on the serious shortcomings of Social Security. He exemplifies effortlessly the fraud being perpetrated on the American people. However, Mr. Wilson’s concludes with suggestions on maintaining the Social Security system by a series of policy changes. I reject this at its foundation, and here is why.

As Mr. Wilson made clear, the government has fraudulently claimed that the approximate 12% of income taken away from individuals is safely stowed away into a keepsake for their retirement. We know this not to be true. We know the government has spent Social Security confiscations (not ‘contributions’ as it is popularly said) on other entitlement programs; we know the government can arbitrarily raise the payroll tax at whim; we know the government can even change when an individual is entitled to his own money again by raising the retirement age.

I’m sure Mr. Wilson would agree that individuals are entitled, and in fact have the right to the fruits of their labor. Why then are billions of dollars confiscated from millions of innocent, hard-working individuals? It is because Social Security is powered by an altruistic moral philosophy that dictates man to be a servant to his fellow man – that self-sacrifice for the greater cause is morally sanctioned. I reject that morality. I reject the notion of man as a sacrificial animal to be toyed and prodded with for the benefit of others.

Social Security rests on a faulty morality and inhibits the federal government to levy yet another tax upon the working individual so as to fund other entitlement programs resting on the same faulty morality. Individuals should be allowed to keep their own hard-earned wealth and either spend it responsibly with their future in mind, or irresponsibly and suffer the consequences. It should not be the case that regardless of how one spends their money, we as the taxpayer guarantee a certain economic status to the elderly.

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The Virtue of Individualism

This morning, I responded to Peter Lawler’s critique of C. Bradly Thompson’s post over at Cato Unbound on Neoconservatism. Both of which are worth taking a look at.

Mr. Lawler’s post was as follows:

Extreme libertarianism brings out the thoughtful moderation in our Porcher friend. He defends the Straussians and the Neocons from Brad Thompson’s fantastic charge that they are NATIONALISTIC FASCISTS. That means, of course, that any public concern for virtue or the quality of citizens is FASCIST. It also means that anyone who thinks there’s much of arole for government in any way is both a SOCIALIST and a FASCIST. Brad, of course, reminds me of Glenn Beck, but without even Glenn’s nuance and appreciation for some role for religion in who we are as a people.

I will repeat what I’ve said so often: There ain’t any FASCISTS around today worth worrying about. The liberals in the president’s party aren’t FASCISTS; today’s progressives aren’t FASCISTS. Straussians aren’t FASCISTS. Tea Partiers aren’t FASCISTS. PORCHERS aren’t FASCISTS (actually, nobody saying they are unless Brad comes after Pat). HISTORY–the religion of the FASCIST–is dead in any strong sense.

For us all but in different ways, the PERSON is the bottom line, with certain qualifications. The CATO people have forgotten the qualifications, of course. The greater danger today is LIBERTARIANISM UNBOUND–or the inability to think of the PERSON as part of anything greater than himself, as a creature or citizen or parent or friend etc. So I’m with the Porchers against the excesses of creeping and sometimes creepy libertarianism.

And my response:

I find it disturbing that Mr. Lawler takes such offense to the concept of individualism. Lawler says:

“The greater danger today is LIBERTARIANISM UNBOUND–or the inability to think of the PERSON as part of anything greater than himself, as a creature or citizen or parent or friend etc.”

First of all, I find his implied conclusion greatly unconvincing. Is Lawler really implying that individualism represents a greater threat than idealistic interventionism? Is respect for the rights of the individual a greater threat than the surrendering of one’s mind in blind mysticism? Lawler doesn’t say.

Secondly, his flippant attitude towards individualism is disheartening. Individualism is the only mind-set which recognizes and respects individual rights as primaries. Else the status quo would be a collectivist society, with appeals to cohesiveness and the betterment of “society” (whatever that is).

In the world Lawler implies to seek, man should not be looked upon as an individual with certain unalienable rights, but rather as a cog in a grander machine – a tool for the use of all others. That is the morality of altruism, a morality that subdues man’s mind, man’s spirit, and man’s rights by appealing to a greater whole.

Individualism is the only system of thought which disallows one to control many in the name of society, God, or the state. It is the only way to maintain man’s natural rights.

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Christianity’s Unreasonableness

I would like to respond to Jack Kerwick’s Sunday article “The Reasonableness of Christianity over at The American Thinking. In his article, Mr. Kerwick committed a great injustice by marrying the concepts of reason and mysticism in an aberrant matrimony conceived in a grasping effort to legitimize God. In doing so, Mr. Kerwick demonstrated an egregious misunderstanding of the concept of reason.

Mr. Kerwick defines reason as man’s ability to convince, observe, and act upon that which cannot be seen – God. Reason is not some supernatural human ability that allows us to understand that which we cannot observe. Reason is an earthly, uniquely human characteristic that aid’s man in his pursuit of life, not his pursuit of leprechauns, unicorns, and magic.

Reason is man’s only means of knowledge acquisition. He must use and depend upon his senses to collect evidence of his environment, to process that knowledge with his mind, to formulate concepts, ideas, and goals based on that evidence, and act accordingly. A student seeking to attend a good college must first gather data on a variety of universities, collate them with respect to his academic interests and goals, and take note of tuition costs and how it measures against his budget. In choosing what to have for dinner, a parent must keep in mind the nutritional needs of the family, the available ingredients in the home, and how much time is left until dinner is expected. A young couple similarly must take precautions before starting a family, keeping in mind their budget, the size of their house and car, and their family’s support.

In every respect of our lives – small or large – we take action based on a series of observations whether they are instantaneous or long research projects. In acting without reason, the student goes to a university ill-suited for his pursuits; the parent cooks a poor meal; the young couple raises a child in poverty.

Faith, the concept that Mr. Kerwick claims can never be substituted for reason, is by its very definition the antonym of reason – believing in something without evidence. This violates the nature of man.

If it isn’t already clear, I am an atheist. I know that God cannot exist. I know this for the following reasons.

There is absolutely no evidence for the existence of God. Evidence unequivocally proving the existence of a supernatural being is nowhere to be found. Since the burden of proof is upon those who claim a thing to be true, my argument remains uncontested so long as proof is absent.

I also reject the fallacy that existence requires a causal explanation. The universe is all that which exists, thus, something outside the universe cannot exist. Inquiring about a cause of existence is a contradiction. By asking “what caused existence?” one is inquiring about something outside of existence. Something cannot come out of nothing. Causality presupposes existence and existence is an irreducible primary.

Mr. Kerwick ends his piece by crediting Christians with a “rich intellectual tradition” worth exploration. I agree that such a “tradition” should be explored, but I doubt the evidence found on that journey is congruent with Kerwick’s assumption. The Christian faith has a long and enduring history of standing in opposition to human scientific progression. Christianity’s imperial roots necessitated the sequestration of new ideas that contradicted the church, including those of Galileo and astrology, Newton and physics, De Maillet and evolution. It would behoove Mr. Kerwick to not forget the multiple inquisitions, crusades, and backwards practices of justice by the church throughout history sending millions to their deaths for no objective reason.

The crimsoned hands of Christianity should not be confused with intellectualism. Mysticism should not be confused with reality. Faith should not be confused with reason. Mr. Kerwick holds before us a model of ignorance counterproductive to the human spirit, and an active destroyer of it both in the past and the present.

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A Call for Metapolitics

With all the rancor de jure surrounding the President’s budget and budget cuts, I find it a good opportunity to bring up the concept of what I’ve called metapolitics – the concept of discussing the nature of government and law.

The discussion from both sides of the political spectrum seem to emanate from the premise that the government’s current scope and responsibility is A-OK, but curiously, seems to cost too much. So, then, the solutions are simply monetary in nature. They include consolidating duplicative government agencies and targeting waste and inefficiencies. While these aims are admirable, they fall short of the real conversation needed in this country: metapolitics.

The American federal government has outgrown its purpose, outspent its allowance, and over burdened its constituency. It has engulfed quadrants of Americans’ lives unwelcomingly with Health Care mandates. It has carried the torch of deficit spending to even more horrendous levels by subsidizing irresponsible businesses and flagrantly tossing taxpayer money into economic “stimulus” projects based on the defunct theory of Keynesianism.

We need a new conversation that begins with “why?” not “how?”. Why should the government be involved in markets A or regulate business B? Why should the government pass law X or subsidize industry Y? Why, not how.

What are your thoughts on the nature of government?

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GOP Makes Big Promise: Stop Earmarks

From The Wall Street Journal:

Earmarks, or spending items tucked into legislation by individual lawmakers, had long been defended by leading Republican and Democratic lawmakers. The development came as Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, reversed his longstanding support for the practice and said the public would no longer accept it.

Many conservatives who won in the recent election have attacked earmarks as a symbol of congressional favoritism and horse-trading. Earmarks were attacked in campaign commercials and have figured largely in the widespread public disgust with congressional spending.

Asked if there was any move afoot among Senate Democrats to ban earmarks, departing Sen. Ted Kaufmann (D., Del.) laughed and said, “Not that I know of.”

While I applaud the GOP for finally getting it, I also call on voters, the Tea Party, and the media to hold their feet to the fire. Spending is way out of control, and a vast majority of the public are behind reducing the deficit. It then shouldn’t bee too politically costly for politicians to jump on this bandwagon.

Supporters of shrinking the size of the state – such as myself – should also be encouraged. However, reason and pragmatism must be kept close. The 2012 election will look awfully grim for Republicans if they renege on this promise.

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