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Libertarian Thread # 3: Liberty will never die

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thellama73 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote thellama73 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Libertarian Thread # 3: Liberty will never die
    Posted: August 03 2013 at 13:15
Originally posted by rogerthat


I don't (that morality depends on what the govt says) and I think I have already said that.  I just pointed out that your example is exaggerated; neither murder nor racial discrimination is condoned by govt laws.   And when I say consensus, I mean consensus of the people.  Where is this massive outcry against tax that there ought to be for something that is ostensibly so evidently a crime?  I am open to the idea that tax MIGHT be immoral or criminal but I cannot see that it is so vehemently, self evidently so as you are stating it.   And again, I have not yet heard any reasonable arguments why tax is unjust or wrong beyond the stealing analogy.  How is it still unjust in the face of extreme inequalities forced on people by centuries of discriminatory practices - both sides have to be weighed to reach a position. And here I am not talking about hypothetical analogies but hard realities that descendants of the elite don't have the option of washing their hands off.  I could hunt out and upload pictures to bring home the extent of injustice I am talking about, but I don't see that that is relevant.  


You are right, it isn't relevant. I also continue to see no relevance in the consensus of the people. The people have had a consensus on unjust things in the past. What does their consensus have to do with justice now? Nothing.

You can make the argument that stealing is justified in this particular case, but I don't see how you can argue that taxes are not stealing (which is not an analogy, but a definition. I wish I had never complained about Geoff's analogies, because now everyone thinks everything anyone says is an analogy, even when it is plainly not.)

Do you believe you should be held responsible for crimes committed by your ancestors? I, personally, do not, so I object to reparations or anything similar. The injustice you are talking about happened in the past. Granted, its effects are still being felt, but I don't see how that justifies taking from those who played no part in causing the injustice in the first place.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Equality 7-2521 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 03 2013 at 21:00
Originally posted by rogerthat


You may or may not own property.  It's not a given.  Many citizens only take accommodation on rent and in some cases even stuff like furniture or appliances on lease without buying it.   But that apart, the similarity is that many aspects of corporate culture are imposed on you during your employment with it.  You don't have the choice of saying it was not written in your contract.  In my stint with Ernst & Young, I would hand over drafts to a 'partner' who would make changes to it by hand (yes!) with a terrible handwriting and I was actually expected to type out all these modifications like a bloody stenographer.   I voiced my dislike for this to HR and seniors but obviously nothing changed and when I got a better offer, I left. This is how people leave one nation for another, in a way.   Tax, whether its existence or the rate of it, is just something you did not know when you joined the organisation.  You can try to persuade the organisation to change its policies or leave it altogether.  But the org can't change its rules just for you.  As long as you have nation-states, they will work to some extent on the same principles as an organisation, making choices deemed, rightly or wrongly, to be the best for the org but which may cause inconvenience to you.  This is why I also observed once before in this thread that for libertarianism to fructify in full, John Lennon's song Imagine would have to become reality.  And as much as I love the lyrics of that song, I cannot imagine that ever happening.  Man sees strength and power in collectivism and collectivism, whether voluntary or forced, always impinges on individual interests.   Why do bands break up, why do good teams fall apart?  It's all the same thing.  There's a necessary compromise involved in a joint effort; that's not necessarily always immoral.    


Property was an example. Not a necessary part of what I'm talking about. I'm simply trying to appeal to the idea that having effectively rooted yourself in a geographic area, and then being forced out of that geographic area to avoid the immoral actions of an organization which has attached itself to that location, certainly seems like coercion to me.

Of course compromises have to be made in joint efforts. But there's a limit to compromise and I believe a good demarcation for that would be when one group must consent to having its rights violated.
"One had to be a Newton to notice that the moon is falling, when everyone sees that it doesn't fall. "
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 03 2013 at 22:02
Originally posted by thellama73

 

You've missed my point. You said that consent is implied because people obey, even if they only do so out of fear. I didn't say "government is like a rapist." I pointed out that obeying out of fear is not consent.

Yes, I still say so.  If the person is so afraid that he cannot even exercise his right of dissent after the fact, I would consider that as consent.  That is more about him having weighing the pros and cons and deciding against protesting than there being no consent.  Didn't Ron Paul even fight the presidential elections on the no tax plank?  So there's nothing that stops people from trying to seek such a change in the system in a democratic nation. But in the absence of any effort in that direction, I would presume consent.  
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 03 2013 at 22:20
Originally posted by thellama73

 

You are right, it isn't relevant. I also continue to see no relevance in the consensus of the people. The people have had a consensus on unjust things in the past. What does their consensus have to do with justice now? Nothing.

It is relevant.  If there hadn't been such a consensus in the past, we wouldn't have had this problem.  Whether or not that is desirable, morality is concurrent.  In the present condition, the need for a tax based reconstruction enjoys a consensus in India.   Maybe people who don't agree with it can seek to persuade a change in outlook.  But the democratic process has to be followed.  Laws cannot be selectively applied to people.
Originally posted by thellama73

 
You can make the argument that stealing is justified in this particular case, but I don't see how you can argue that taxes are not stealing (which is not an analogy, but a definition. I wish I had never complained about Geoff's analogies, because now everyone thinks everything anyone says is an analogy, even when it is plainly not.)

Well, the very idea of a justified theft sounds convoluted to me; there's no such thing.  I don't consider tax a theft.  I would call it a mandatory imposition on income for the sake of the public good.  I am prepared to recognize that the environment, infrastructure, people around me has played a role too somewhere in the level of income I earn and the property that I own.  So I don't consider a relatively small charge on the same as theft.  And I think that goes for anybody living in the modern set up.  The days of plucking fruits and vegetables from one's backyard to subsist are gone, it's an interconnected and interdependent existence.
Originally posted by thellama73

 
Do you believe you should be held responsible for crimes committed by your ancestors? I, personally, do not, so I object to reparations or anything similar. The injustice you are talking about happened in the past. Granted, its effects are still being felt, but I don't see how that justifies taking from those who played no part in causing the injustice in the first place.

Well who else is gonna pay?  Everybody above a certain level of income has to pay tax, irrespective of caste...no discrimination to that extent.  And as I said before, one can either attempt to bring about a change in the laws to the effect that there is no need anymore to punish the descendants for the sins of the fathers or one can just leave..or, just pay up.   But the problem is not going to go away just by the descendants washing their hands off it.  There is nothing hypothetical about this, it's hard reality and it threatens India's independent status if we choose to neglect it.  The poor in India have been remarkably patient and tolerant of their lot, it behoves us not to stretch its limits even further.  
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Post Options Post Options   Quote thellama73 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 03 2013 at 22:21
Originally posted by rogerthat

Originally posted by thellama73

 

You've missed my point. You said that consent is implied because people obey, even if they only do so out of fear. I didn't say "government is like a rapist." I pointed out that obeying out of fear is not consent.

Yes, I still say so.  If the person is so afraid that he cannot even exercise his right of dissent after the fact, I would consider that as consent.  That is more about him having weighing the pros and cons and deciding against protesting than there being no consent.  Didn't Ron Paul even fight the presidential elections on the no tax plank?  So there's nothing that stops people from trying to seek such a change in the system in a democratic nation. But in the absence of any effort in that direction, I would presume consent.  


Oh, I see what you mean. I thought you were saying that mere compliance was consent, but you were saying compliance without vocal protest is consent. I still don't agree with you, but it is at least not the completely insane position I thought you were taking.

Again, I don't care that most people consent to taxes (even though I don't agree that they do.) What most people say and do has no bearing on what is right and wrong. If even one person is taxed without his consent, it is a violation of his rights and therefore immoral and therefore I will speak out against it.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 03 2013 at 22:23
Originally posted by Equality 7-2521

 

Property was an example. Not a necessary part of what I'm talking about. I'm simply trying to appeal to the idea that having effectively rooted yourself in a geographic area, and then being forced out of that geographic area to avoid the immoral actions of an organization which has attached itself to that location, certainly seems like coercion to me.

Of course compromises have to be made in joint efforts. But there's a limit to compromise and I believe a good demarcation for that would be when one group must consent to having its rights violated.

But why would you be forced out of it?  No, it's because you do not like the idea of parting with some portion of your property as tax that you would voluntarily choose to leave.  You have three choices: either paying up, either persuading change in the rules, or leaving the territory.  And you are even allowed to sell all your territory, net of tax, to raise funds for your foreign expeditions so it's not as if it's seized by your home state as 'punishment'.   That doesn't sound like coercion.  Just that option no.2 is tough and most people don't have the will to go for it.   And I have discussed consent in detail in my replies to thellama.   
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Post Options Post Options   Quote thellama73 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 03 2013 at 22:25
Originally posted by rogerthat

In the present condition, the need for a tax based reconstruction enjoys a consensus in India.  


Consensus has no bearing on morality.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Epignosis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 03 2013 at 22:30
Originally posted by rogerthat

You have three choices: either paying up, either persuading change in the rules, or leaving the territory.  


There's a fourth choice, and it's ugly, and it happens from time to time.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 03 2013 at 22:47
Originally posted by thellama73

Originally posted by rogerthat

In the present condition, the need for a tax based reconstruction enjoys a consensus in India.  


Consensus has no bearing on morality.


Consensus determines the morals upheld in society at a point of time.  Yes, this necessarily means that what we now consider immoral may have been once considered acceptable.  Morals evolve over a period of time.  If human beings were always the epitome of morality at any point of time in history, we wouldn't need to learn much anything from it.  I rest my case, I am not going to argue this point further. An idea has moral force in a country only when there is public support for it.  I am NOT talking about individual morals.


Edited by rogerthat - August 03 2013 at 22:51
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Post Options Post Options   Quote thellama73 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 03 2013 at 22:50
I asked you if you were a moral relativist earlier and you said you weren't. You could have saved us all a lot of trouble by just telling the truth the first time.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 03 2013 at 22:55
No, rather, I omitted to answer that question Tongue.  I was distracted by the part re morals deriving from govt laws.  And besides, I resist the idea of classifying myself into slots (I know you as an ideologue absolutely love it).  It's not about whether or not I am a moral relativist. I don't necessarily change my value sets every time society changes it.  I am saying society's morals change over a period of time.  I am also saying the govt cannot customise its rules for each and everyone's moral values when it may not even be aware of those.  It's up to the citizens to assert their right of dissent and make their protest heard.  And there will still only be change when enough no. of people back such a protest.  There is nothing unreasonable or impractical about what I am saying.   Or maybe the problem is it is too practical a way of putting things for a libertarian outlook. This is how significant changes to legislation get passed.  If nobody had fought on the side of the blacks in the 50s and 60s, why would anybody bother passing legislation to increase their rights.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote thellama73 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 03 2013 at 23:07
Originally posted by rogerthat

No, rather, I omitted to answer that question Tongue.  I was distracted by the part re morals deriving from govt laws.  And besides, I resist the idea of classifying myself into slots (I know you as an ideologue absolutely love it).  It's not about whether or not I am a moral relativist. I don't necessarily change my value sets every time society changes it.  I am saying society's morals change over a period of time.  I am also saying the govt cannot customise its rules for each and everyone's moral values when it may not even be aware of those.  It's up to the citizens to assert their right of dissent and make their protest heard.  And there will still only be change when enough no. of people back such a protest.  There is nothing unreasonable or impractical about what I am saying.   Or maybe the problem is it is too practical a way of putting things for a libertarian outlook. This is how significant changes to legislation get passed.  If nobody had fought on the side of the blacks in the 50s and 60s, why would anybody bother passing legislation to increase their rights.


That's all fine, but it doesn't say anything about why libertarian ideas are right or wrong.

I'm trying to convince you they are right, and you are responding by saying that they are not popular. I know they aren't popular. If they were popular, I wouldn't need to try to convince you. You say it's up to the citizens to dissent. What do you think I'm doing?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 03 2013 at 23:22
Originally posted by thellama73

 

That's all fine, but it doesn't say anything about why libertarian ideas are right or wrong. I'm trying to convince you they are right, and you are responding by saying that they are not popular. I know they aren't popular. If they were popular, I wouldn't need to try to convince you. 

Right or wrong is a very absolute position.  What is right for you may be wrong for me, but both of us may be right or wrong at the end of the day.  I can only comment on whether I personally agree with libertarian ideas and I have expressed my opinions on that before in the thread.  I don't see anything wrong with tax and I am not convinced so far by the parallel drawn to theft.  I have commented on other ideas like opening up paper money to the markets and other kinds of privatisation generally before too.   That is not germane to this specific discussion anyway.

I also don't like to judge ideas merely by what they look like on paper.  It is important to me that they should work in practice.  I think the social set up in the feudal age or in pre independent India was broadly similar to libertarianism in the sense that it's a position of social conservatism.   On paper, people were allowed to do as they pleased but in practice, the elites subtly impinged on the rights of the masses.  So I am not satisfied about their applicability today when things are much more complex.  That may not be the answer you were looking for, but to me a theory has to be workable in the first place and whether it meets a certain set of principles is secondary.  And no, I am not saying that it is ok to institute a law that is barbaric but workable, since you have the habit of making reductive inferences. It is not ideologies that determine whether man's actions are principled in anyway.  The govt doesn't stop people from being nice to each other; if they choose to be nasty and greedy, they cannot blame that on govt.  Much more depends on man's ability to show understanding and empathy than on ideologies or laws.  
Originally posted by thellama73

 
You say it's up to the citizens to dissent. What do you think I'm doing?

Ok, but this is not real dissent.  It's not going to get you anywhere Tongue.  I am not even a citizen of your country so even if I were convinced of it, so what.   You have to persuade your citizens and at a much bigger level than this.  Maybe vote for the Libertarian Party.  Or if even they don't represent libertarian values, form your own party.  
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Post Options Post Options   Quote thellama73 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 03 2013 at 23:47
Originally posted by rogerthat


Right or wrong is a very absolute position.  What is right for you may be wrong for me, but both of us may be right or wrong at the end of the day.  I can only comment on whether I personally agree with libertarian ideas and I have expressed my opinions on that before in the thread.  I don't see anything wrong with tax and I am not convinced so far by the parallel drawn to theft.  I have commented on other ideas like opening up paper money to the markets and other kinds of privatisation generally before too.   That is not germane to this specific discussion anyway.

I also don't like to judge ideas merely by what they look like on paper.  It is important to me that they should work in practice.  I think the social set up in the feudal age or in pre independent India was broadly similar to libertarianism in the sense that it's a position of social conservatism.   On paper, people were allowed to do as they pleased but in practice, the elites subtly impinged on the rights of the masses.  So I am not satisfied about their applicability today when things are much more complex.  That may not be the answer you were looking for, but to me a theory has to be workable in the first place and whether it meets a certain set of principles is secondary.  And no, I am not saying that it is ok to institute a law that is barbaric but workable, since you have the habit of making reductive inferences. It is not ideologies that determine whether man's actions are principled in anyway.  The govt doesn't stop people from being nice to each other; if they choose to be nasty and greedy, they cannot blame that on govt.  Much more depends on man's ability to show understanding and empathy than on ideologies or laws. 


It's impossible to argue morals with someone who doesn't believe in the concepts of right and wrong, so I guess we're done.

A couple of final points before bed.
a. Libertarianism has basically nothing in common with social conservatism.

b. Feudal India was not remotely libertarian. From Wikipedia: "Use of the term feudalism to describe India applies a concept of medieval European origin, according to which the nobility held lands from the Crown in exchange for military service, and vassals were in turn tenants of the nobles, while the peasants (villeins or serfs) were obliged to live on their lord's land and give him homage, labor, and a share of the produce, notionally in exchange for military protection... ...The Doras and deshmukhs ruled the region until the annexation. They held all the land in their fief and everybody use to give their produce, and they use to be given only food barely sufficient for sustenance."

c. Since you judge political systems based on utilitarian grounds, would you be amenable to the idea of trying out libertarianism (which has never really been attempted except in some very ancient and specific contexts such as ancient Ireland and Iceland) in a limited geographical area to see whether or not it works?


Edited by thellama73 - August 03 2013 at 23:49
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 04 2013 at 00:32
Originally posted by thellama73


It's impossible to argue morals with someone who doesn't believe in the concepts of right and wrong, so I guess we're done.

On the contrary, I do believe in a personal set of rights and wrongs.  Read my words carefully before jumping to conclusions, which you seem to be pretty prone to.  I am only allowing for the fact that what I consider right or wrong may be very different from what your views hence it would not be fair for me to say pointedly that you are wrong just because my values are different.  I would prefer to say that I disagree and explain the reasons why.  Morals vary across cultures, countries and eras...or maybe you still live in denial of that?  There is no such thing as one worldview.

Originally posted by thellama73


a. Libertarianism has basically nothing in common with social conservatism.

I disagree.  Both presume that there is nothing wrong with the extant social order or that even if there is, it does not warrant a change in the natural course of transacting business.  What you see as coercive in non libertarian systems is essentially an intervention that attempts to change the social order because the extant one is viewed as unjust.   That is why libertarianism is according to me a socially conservative position.  It believes in letting things be the way they are rather than attempt change.

Originally posted by thellama73


b. Feudal India was not remotely libertarian. From Wikipedia: "Use of the term feudalism to describe India applies a concept of medieval European origin, according to which the nobility held lands from the Crown in exchange for military service, and vassals were in turn tenants of the nobles, while the peasants (villeins or serfs) were obliged to live on their lord's land and give him homage, labor, and a share of the produce, notionally in exchange for military protection... ...The Doras and deshmukhs ruled the region until the annexation. They held all the land in their fief and everybody use to give their produce, and they use to be given only food barely sufficient for sustenance."


Yes, and that is likely what libertarianism will amount to in practice.  The elite will claim to be all knowing and make the rules on behalf of everyone else.  And because they are all powerful, they will not be resisted.   With the pass of time, a system that should have been libertarian will transform to a feudal one where not only is power concentrated in the hands of the elite but there is no opportunity for the rest to break out of their trap.   You assume that a libertarian system would remain libertarian in perpetuity and that is, well, just an assumption.  A libertarian system would simply put the wealthy on the fast track to total control.  Do you think the zamindars used force all the time to impose their might?  Hardly.  They only needed to take advantage of the ignorance and illiteracy of the poor to tell them that this was just the law of the land, the done thing and the latter obeyed.   The patience and tolerance of the poor that I mentioned earlier is also a by product of the zamindari system, whereby they silently struggle with poverty and resist a call to arms even in the face of cruelty because they have been led to believe that it is merely their destiny. 
 
Originally posted by thellama73


c. Since you judge political systems based on utilitarian grounds, would you be amenable to the idea of trying out libertarianism (which has never really been attempted except in some very ancient and specific contexts such as ancient Ireland and Iceland) in a limited geographical area to see whether or not it works?

I have already said before that I think it is better suited to small countries or those that are relatively unexplored and 'new'.   I am not against a libertarian experiment there or anywhere else for that matter.  I would not vote for a libertarian party but people are free to constitute one and try to get elected and implement it.   I remain skeptical that it would work and sustain itself for a long period of time. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Equality 7-2521 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 04 2013 at 07:16
Originally posted by rogerthat

Originally posted by Equality 7-2521

 

Property was an example. Not a necessary part of what I'm talking about. I'm simply trying to appeal to the idea that having effectively rooted yourself in a geographic area, and then being forced out of that geographic area to avoid the immoral actions of an organization which has attached itself to that location, certainly seems like coercion to me.

Of course compromises have to be made in joint efforts. But there's a limit to compromise and I believe a good demarcation for that would be when one group must consent to having its rights violated.

But why would you be forced out of it?  No, it's because you do not like the idea of parting with some portion of your property as tax that you would voluntarily choose to leave.  You have three choices: either paying up, either persuading change in the rules, or leaving the territory.  And you are even allowed to sell all your territory, net of tax, to raise funds for your foreign expeditions so it's not as if it's seized by your home state as 'punishment'.   That doesn't sound like coercion.  Just that option no.2 is tough and most people don't have the will to go for it.   And I have discussed consent in detail in my replies to thellama.   


Look. I get you don't think taxation is theft. But I listed that as an a priori assumption to my argument. So you kinda have to accept it to see my line of reasoning.
"One had to be a Newton to notice that the moon is falling, when everyone sees that it doesn't fall. "
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 04 2013 at 07:18
A discussion cannot be based on unproven assumptions.   I know it's an indispensable part of your convictions, but that can't be helped.  And this goes to further my point earlier about differing morals in cultures.  What you may hold as an unshakable assumption may be entirely unconvincing to me or vice versa.   
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Equality 7-2521 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 04 2013 at 07:20
Yes a discussion can be. Because the discussion my argument was, that such an act constitutes coercion if the action causing one to leave is immoral in itself. So if you wish to talk about my proposition, you must assume my if statement has occurred.

And the very fact I'm asking you to assume it, pretty much shows that I don't see it as unshakeable. If I did, then I'd be much more aggressive about pushing it on you as a fact. It's quite insane if you can't assume something for the purpose of a conversation.


Edited by Equality 7-2521 - August 04 2013 at 07:22
"One had to be a Newton to notice that the moon is falling, when everyone sees that it doesn't fall. "
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 04 2013 at 07:23
I am not satisfied that it is either theft or immoral.  So I am being asked to consider a hypothetical situation where a person thinks it is.  What purpose does it serve, there's too many ifs and buts involved in this.  
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Equality 7-2521 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 04 2013 at 07:24
I'm completely nonplussed.
"One had to be a Newton to notice that the moon is falling, when everyone sees that it doesn't fall. "
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