Wednesday, August 01, 2007

How to Discuss Books One Hasn't Read

...a book by one Pierre Bayard, reviewed at the TLS. Via Metafilter.

Now, I like France. In the sense that I consider France an important ally. I value friends who will call me on my B.S., and I consider France to be an ally cut from that kind of mold. Conservatives like only allies that will kow-tow to our every whim...but me, I like those who will stand with us when we're right and tell us to get stuffed when we're wrong.

Intellectually, however...well, I sometimes wonder whether the French academy exists for the express purpose of wasting my time.

Mr. Bayard's book is, apparently, tongue-in-cheek, so it would obviously be stupid and unfair to take it too seriously. Though the reviewer writes that we "could do worse" than to take the following to heart:

"in order to . . . talk without shame about books we haven’t read, we should rid ourselves of the oppressive image of a flawless cultural grounding, transmitted and imposed [on us] by the family and by educational institutions, an image which we try all our lives in vain to match up to. For truth in the eyes of others matters less than being true to ourselves, and this truth is only accessible to those who liberate themselves from the constraining need to appear cultured, which both tyrannizes us and prevents us from being ourselves."

O.k., look:

Ignoring some details, I guess it's pretty reasonable to think that "we should rid ourselves of the oppressive image of a flawless cultural grounding, transmitted and imposed [on us] by the family and by educational institutions, an image we try all our lives in vain to match up to." [sic]

It's also probably true that this kind of thing to some extent "tyrannizes us and prevents us from being ourselves."

However, NONE of that IN ANY WAY suggests that it's o.k. to pretend like you've read a book when you haven't. SOMETIMES you can have interesting things to say about a book you haven't read--but almost never. So just shut up. You don't have to have something to say about everything. If you don't know anything about something, freakin' admit it, listen, ask questions...but otherwise just keep your mouth shut.

This argument is patently invalid. Just because the premises are true, this means nothing at all if they're irrelevant to the conclusion. This is a common ploy: say something reasonable, then say something completely unrelated and pretend as if you've proven the unrelated thing. Unused to actually thinking, many people will just accept the second thing because they accept the first thing, mistakenly thinking that it constitutes a reason.

To the extent that this is just a joke, then o.k. To the extent that it's seriously supposed to show that it's o.k. to pretend like you know what you're talking about when you're not, then it's just stupid.

So, to review:
Don't feel like you have to have read everything, or like you're a bum just because you never finished The Sound and the Fury. But if you didn't, then STFU about it.

And finally, let me note that I generously refrained from commenting on the following weird claim:
"...truth in the eyes of others matters less than being true to ourselves..." Now, there's a way to make this sort of come out to be reasonable...but not quite. It's really a kind of throw-away claim that's mean to invoke images of intellectual honesty and Emersonian self-reliance...but it really doesn't quite mean that sort of thing.


Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

France hasn't been of any help to the US since Lafayette, and we paid them back. Twice.

As for the rest of it, only a very few books have more than one good idea. To be fair, one wants to give credit where it's due, but not suffer through hundreds of pages of bookends. Tough call.

5:18 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

You never really pay off something like that, IMHO. I'll always feel like we're in France's debt, actually.

6:38 PM  
Blogger The Dark Avenger said...

We also have an intellectual debt as well. Thomas Paine wouldn't have been possible without Voltaire, to mention but one example.

9:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Winston, since it's possible that without France's help the colonists might have lost the war against the Crown.

First off, a lot of the agitating done by those like Franklin and Jefferson was prompted by the intelligencia in France, the thinking of those like Montesquieu and Voltaire. So a germ of the idea of independence came from France.

Second, militarily, a lot of the tide started to turn for the colonists when the French navy assisted in subduing the British dominance of the seas and resulting blockade of important shipping routes and harbors. Having to drag captured cannon from places like Ticonderoga hundreds of miles across land to Boston, Providence, and New York put a stranglehold on the tactical abilities of the colonists.

There's also the idea that they tried to warn us away from the idiocy of Iraq...

9:21 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

The Founding ethos' roots are more tracable to Locke, and England's own Glorious Revolution. And natural law theory, particularly Aquinas through Suarez through Hugo Grotius.

The French theorists had their own revolution starting in 1789, and it didn't turn out nearly as well.

4:56 PM  
Blogger The Mystic said...

The Founders did cite natural law theory a lot in the Constitution.

8:46 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

For the record, I don't make that claim, only that natural law was a large part of the Founding ethos. (It is a bulwark of the D of I.)

As for Thomas Paine, President Washington let the little wanker stew in a French prison for stirring up his radical shit over there. Look up Paine's 20-page letter trashing Washington, it's a hoot. Some things never change.

9:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom is right that Locke, as well as Blackstone, Rousseau and many others provided a lot of the thinking that underpinned the Revolution. Though it must be said that some of the bedrock ideas date to the Magna Carta, which predates those thinkers by four centuries. I think that much of the human rights oriented concepts originated with the MC, Blackstone and Locke, while a lot of the structural beliefs about government and its relation to the people came from those like Roussueau and Montesquieu, who actually introduced the concept of separation of powers.

Natural Law was something that most of the founders did believe in, and I find the argument that it was the basis of their belief in the *inalienable rights* of all men very persuasive. (This is not to say that that is the only way to arrive at the concept of endogenous human rights; I believe Kant claimed the ability to arrive at the idea through pure logic.)

However, there was considerable influence from the French intellectual scene at that time. The French had been highly impressed with the "bloodless revolution" in England. In fact, people like John Adams were still loyalists until convinced otherwise by Francophiles who had spent a lot of time in Paris (people like Franklin), drinkig from the fountain of ideas that was Diderot's Encyclopaedia.

Plus, what's interesting is that our Revolution seemed to influence theirs as well, at least in theory, since the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man bears a definite resemblance to the Declaration of Independence. The French intellectuals took to the American Revolution like ducks to water. And witnessing the bravery and boldness of the Colonists in rebelling seemed to arouse a similar belief in the possibility in France.

So suffice it to say there was a lot of cross-pollination.

9:29 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

I agree with a lot of the above, but draw the line at the Frog revolution.

Poke through the opening manifesto "The Rights of Man" of 1789 and you'll find "Law is the expression of the general will," a complete repudiation of natural law.

"Will" and "truth" are anything but synonymous, and delineate the difference between classical and modern philosophy.

Thanks for bringing it up.

12:47 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

So the conclusion:

Yes, the founders were, in fact, indebted to French thinkers like Rousseau and Montesquieu, as everyone knows. As A points out, the French gave important ideas re: the nuts-and-bolts of our government, though natural law theory coming down through e.g. Locke was more important theoretically. Again, seventh grade civics.

So...Tom's weird attempt to make the French irrelevant--and wrong in every way--crashes and burns.

As for the general will--you seem to be mistaken about the concept, Tom. It's not just whatever the majority wills...not something like a summation of all individual wills. My Rousseau is pretty rusty, but by the time the general will shows up in Kant (one step later), we're talking about what can be willed without contradiction. Kant represents the last best attempt to make something like natural law theory it's not clear to me that talk about the general will is necessarily incompatible with talk about natural law.

Anyway...I'm not sure why you feel obligated to repudiate everything French, Tom.

7:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, I think the two complement each other. The sovereignty of the government derives from the consent of the governed, itself an expression of their *general will*.

Where Human Rights come in, initially conceived of via Natural Law, is that they set some boundaries as to how far the general will of the people can be carried. When it bumps up against the extirpation or severe dimunition of individuals' rights, it needs to be restrained. When considering this, it helps to remember that the Constitution was not at all a description or enumeration of rights that people inherently have; it was a granting of power to the government by the people.

Or, looked at another way, it's really a tension between the utilitarian ideal of maximizing the commonweal (at least to the extent the populace can properly perceive what's in its own interest), and the sacred rights of individuals, since in pure utilitarianism, the aggregate amount of good/happiness (or whatever metric you choose) should be maximized, and those whose discrete rights need to be trampled in order to do it can simply go to hell.

This was the *tyranny of the majority* that Madison especially feared, and why he insisted on the Bill of Rights, even though many of the other founders thought it not necessary, as most of those rights were believed to be 'self-evident' and exist in a state prior to, and independent of, government, which was a human construct. And it represented an explicit DO NOT TRESPASS sign for the government on the 'property' of certain rights that the people retain.

1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, and I'll allow all here to decide whether, in fact, as Tom said, the UDRoM is a "repudiation of Natural Law":

Here is the intro he specifically referenced, in its entirety:

"The representatives of the French people, organized as a National Assembly, believing that the ignorance, neglect, or contempt of the rights of man are the sole cause of public calamities and of the corruption of governments, have determined to set forth in a solemn declaration the NATURAL, UNALIENABLE AND SACRED RIGHTS OF MAN, in order that this declaration, being constantly before all the members of the Social body, shall remind them continually of their rights and duties; in order that the acts of the legislative power, as well as those of the executive power, may be compared at any moment with the objects and purposes of all political institutions and may thus be more respected, and, lastly, in order that the grievances of the citizens, based hereafter upon simple and incontestable principles, shall tend to the maintenance of the constitution and redound to the happiness of all. Therefore the National Assembly recognizes and proclaims, in the presence and under the auspices of the Supreme Being, the following rights of man and of the citizen:" (emphasis mine)

A couple of the articles:

"The aim of all political association is the preservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of man. These rights are liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression."

"Liberty consists in the freedom to do everything which injures no one else; hence the exercise of the natural rights of each man has no limits except those which assure to the other members of the society the enjoyment of the same rights. These limits can only be determined by law."


2:43 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

The penultimate paragraph describes liberty as the exercise of will.

One would have to know what natural law is to see the abandonment of it here.

3:25 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

But all praise to Montesquieu, who was enamored with the English style of government after the Glorious Revolution. It's to his credit that he died 30 or 40 years before the French Revolution, and is responsible for none of its foolishness.

The Americans did a much better job with him.

3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One would have to know the difference between human rights and the circumscription of government power to see natural law's affirmation here.

And the exercise of will is a type of liberty. It's what Isaiah Berlin described as *positive liberty*, as opposed to *negative liberty*, which is the freedom from constraint.

The UDRoM clearly recognizes this where it says that:

"Liberty consists in the freedom to do everything which injures no one else; hence the exercise of the natural rights of each man has no limits except those which assure to the other members of the society the enjoyment of the same rights. These limits can only be determined by law."

The exercise, or lack thereof, of will has nothing to do with Natural Law, except to the extent that one citizen's, or the government's, actions infringe on the endogenous rights of a person.

3:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I should make the distinction, by the way, that for purposes of this discussion, the founders of our nation clearly believed in "Natural Rights", more so than any type of more broad "Natural Law".

They saw the law, and government in general, as a human construct. The "naturalness" of the rights of man, however, were separate and prior to any law or government.

3:47 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

They [the Founders] saw the law, and government in general, as a human construct.

Not so, sorry. That is the modern revisionism, altho what you describe is indeed the French Rights of Man, and why I call attention to that crucial delineation.

Under the Founding ethos, one does not have the liberty to do what is contrary to the "law of nature and of nature's God," as the D of I puts it.

However, I will agree that the Constitution isn't necessarily a natural law document: the interpretation (and codification) of the natural law was reserved to the states.

As for the evolution of today's concept of "human rights," that's a very long, bumpy and winding road, and cannot be penetrated by a few trips to the Wiki.

4:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All you're doing is grafting the whole concept of Natural Law onto one phrase in the Declaration that is completely irrelevant to what a person's personal liberty entitles them to do. The founding "ethos", at least in the Declaration, was an expression only of that the government of King George lacked legitimacy in the colonies because it lacked the colonists' consent and because it regularly violated their inherent rights.

All that phrase says is one group of people have the right "to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them".

And somehow out of that you get that the founders believed that law and government was some pre-existing, and therefore necessary and immutable thing?

And of course the Constitution isn't a "natural law document". And I have no idea what you're talking about when you say that the interpretation (and codification) of law was reserved to the states.

My copy of the Constitution assigns the interpretation of the law to the courts, and the states are given no authority of any sort. Various POWERS are devolved to the states, but they have absolutely no role in *interpretation* whatsoever.

Forget about any wiki or anything like that. You really need to hit the history books and The Federalist Papers.

5:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And by the way, all one need do is read the French Declaration and US Declaration side by side to see that you're creating some great distinction largely out of whole cloth.

The underpinnings of both are inviolable human rights ("Natural Rights" if you wish).

All of the other stuff you're appending is your own projection of what you WISH they represent.

5:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, and also they're underpinned by the idea that the people are sovereign.

5:24 PM  
Blogger The Mystic said...

Summary of this thread:

Tom: France sucks.
Winston: No, it doesn't. They helped us a lot.
D.A.: I concur.
Anon: Me too.
Tom: It's more likely that Britain is the source of that help. Also - here's a reason why I can later say we should all be Christian.
Mystic: I'm irrelevant 'cause this discussion is stupid.
Tom: Yes, you are irrelevant, but France still sucks because Britain is more likely to have helped us than they are.
Anon: Britain, France, and the US all helped one another.
Tom: True. France sucks, though. Oh, and "will" and "truth" delineate the difference between classical and modern philosophy.

Clarity coming:

Winston: "So the French DID help, and Tom's wrong about the French sucking. Also, wtf is with your 'will' thing? That's wrong."

Clarity leaving:

Anon: "Natural Law = Human Rights, which existed before government, which was established around Human Rights."
Anon: "Here are some reasons to believe France contributed to US thought.
Tom: "Not if I make weird claims. But one French guy was cool 'cause he liked Britain."
Anon: "I don't get your weird claims."
Anon: "Also, quit saying 'Natural Law' as though the Founders were all Christiany about the founding of the U.S. It's more like natural rights."
Tom: "Wrong, French think that, Founders = good little Christians founding Christian nation. Our current idea of human rights are hard to understand, and you're stupid."
Anon: You are.
Anon: Times infinity.
Anon: Plus one.


All I can tell is that Tom seems to think the French suck and then has some weird views about the Founders' views. Maybe we should be a little more focused so this isn't so weird.

Or maybe it's just me.

5:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a pretty good summary Mystic, although I should try to avoid personal insults. That's my bad.

As for the substance, I would just say put the D of I, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights next to each other and see if you can discern ANY concept which might plausibly be related to Natural Law other than that men are inherently possessing of certain rights.

You see, I'm a little picky in that I require actual EVIDENCE for claims that are made, including mine.

9:11 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

You're correct if you just ignore that one thing.

Rousseau's General Will replaces the law of nature and nature's God as the highest order. Further remediation is a waste at this time.

11:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shorter Tom: I have no evidence for my position.

9:56 AM  
Blogger The Mystic said...

I'm not even sure what the positions being held by either of you are.

10:25 AM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...


Rousseau's General Will appears twice in the French Rights of Man, yet I can't find any support for it in the American constitution, which is heavily anti-majoritarian. (In fact, as a learned correspondent elsewhere on the internet pointed out, one of the great flaws of the French Revolution was its inability to deal with dissent.)

But Anonymous is encouraged to disagree with me: perhaps some evidence of Locke's repudiation of natural law, or Rousseau's support of it. Anything besides, no Tom, you're wrong and you should write a treatise on it here in the comments section to prove you're not.

If anyone wants to check my assertion, a bit of honest googling will lend support. Perhaps some support for a contrary view will turn up, and I'd love to hear it. In the meantime, get off my back.

2:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your first claim was that natural law was a part of the founders' ethos, which I agreed with to the extent that they believed in *natural rights* that inhered in man.

However, you attempt to inflate the meaning of one clause in the document to imply that the underlying sentiment of the Declaration was a belief in Natural Law, as well as a single phrase in the DoRM to prove the opposite there.

The obvious point is that if the founders of our country really believed that it should be based on Natural Law, they would have specified what that law was. And they did so, ONLY to the extent that they believed we possess certain rights and those rights need to be protected. That's why governments are instituted among men. That these rights were sacrosanct and needed protection were the only things at all about Natural Law that were important to colonists, since their declaration and enumeration are the only thing even remotely close to declaring hallowed legal concepts which can never justly be trespassed upon.

It's all there in black and white - the abridgements of rights that the King committed, the multiple grievances of the colonists against him.

Then you assert that the states are responsible for interpreting the law and instituting Natural Law, which is a new one to me. And you retreat to telling me what Locke and Rousseau said, as if that is somehow dispositive of what the founders themselves thought than their very statements, writings and actions.

Finally, you switch back and forth between the D of I, which on the basis of one sentence you hold up as the exemplar that the American Revolution was based on Natural Law. And of course you'll find neither support nor repudiation of any underlying concept of law in the Constitution, since as I already mentioned, it merely represents a granting of powers to the government from the people. It is hardly a philosophical document. In fact it is a recipe for making POSITIVE LAW, with protections for the rights of individuals and minorities. What's strange about this is that the portion of the Constitution that deals most closely with the protection of minorities, as well as individuals, is the Bill of Rights, which bears a striking resemblance to - the Declaration of the Rights of Man!

All of this seems to be done in some effort to defend treasured beliefs of yours about the Natural Law-ness of the American Revolution and the heinousness of those crazy French, who did indeed take things too far during their revolutionary days.

11:56 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

It is you who are reading phrases from the documents and forming conclusions. There's much more to the thing than that.

Locke on natural law, and there's far far more:

4. To understand political power aright, and derive it from its original, we must consider what estate all men are naturally in, and that is, a state of perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions and persons as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of Nature, without asking leave or depending upon the will of any other man.

A state also of equality, wherein all the power and jurisdiction is reciprocal, no one having more than another, there being nothing more evident than that creatures of the same species and rank, promiscuously born to all the same advantages of Nature, and the use of the same faculties, should also be equal one amongst another, without subordination or subjection, unless the lord and master of them all should, by any manifest declaration of his will, set one above another, and confer on him, by an evident and clear appointment, an undoubted right to dominion and sovereignty.

5. This equality of men by Nature, the judicious Hooker looks upon as so evident in itself, and beyond all question, that he makes it the foundation of that obligation to mutual love amongst men on which he builds the duties they owe one another, and from whence he derives the great maxims of justice and charity. His words are:

“The like natural inducement hath brought men to know that it is no less their duty to love others than themselves, for seeing those things which are equal, must needs all have one measure; if I cannot but wish to receive good, even as much at every man’s hands, as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire, which is undoubtedly in other men weak, being of one and the same nature: to have anything offered them repugnant to this desire must needs, in all respects, grieve them as much as me; so that if I do harm, I must look to suffer, there being no reason that others should show greater measure of love to me than they have by me showed unto them; my desire, therefore, to be loved of my equals in Nature, as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to themward fully the like affection. From which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural reason hath drawn for direction of life no man is ignorant.” (Eccl. Pol. i.)*

* Richard Hooker, The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity.

6. But though this be a state of liberty, yet it is not a state of licence; though man in that state have an uncontrollable liberty to dispose of his person or possessions, yet he has not liberty to destroy himself, or so much as any creature in his possession, but where some nobler use than its bare preservation calls for it. The state of Nature has a law of Nature to govern it, which obliges every one, and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions; for men being all the workmanship of one omnipotent and infinitely wise Maker; all the servants of one sovereign Master, sent into the world by His order and about His business; they are His property, whose workmanship they are made to last during His, not one another’s pleasure. And, being furnished with like faculties, sharing all in one community of Nature, there cannot be supposed any such subordination among us that may authorise us to destroy one another, as if we were made for one another’s uses, as the inferior ranks of creatures are for ours. Every one as he is bound to preserve himself, and not to quit his station wilfully, so by the like reason, when his own preservation comes not in competition, ought he as much as he can to preserve the rest of mankind, and not unless it be to do justice on an offender, take away or impair the life, or what tends to the preservation of the life, the liberty, health, limb, or goods of another.

7. And that all men may be restrained from invading others’ rights, and from doing hurt to one another, and the law of Nature be observed, which willeth the peace and preservation of all mankind, the execution of the law of Nature is in that state put into every man’s hands, whereby every one has a right to punish the transgressors of that law to such a degree as may hinder its violation. For the law of Nature would, as all other laws that concern men in this world, be in vain if there were nobody that in the state of Nature had a power to execute that law, and thereby preserve the innocent and restrain offenders; and if any one in the state of Nature may punish another for any evil he has done, every one may do so. For in that state of perfect equality, where naturally there is no superiority or jurisdiction of one over another, what any may do in prosecution of that law, every one must needs have a right to do.

8. And thus, in the state of Nature, one man comes by a power over another, but yet no absolute or arbitrary power to use a criminal, when he has got him in his hands, according to the passionate heats or boundless extravagancy of his own will, but only to retribute to him so far as calm reason and conscience dictate, what is proportionate to his transgression, which is so much as may serve for reparation and restraint. For these two are the only reasons why one man may lawfully do harm to another, which is that we call punishment. In transgressing the law of Nature, the offender declares himself to live by another rule than that of reason and common equity, which is that measure God has set to the actions of men for their mutual security, and so he becomes dangerous to mankind; the tie which is to secure them from injury and violence being slighted and broken by him, which being a trespass against the whole species, and the peace and safety of it, provided for by the law of Nature, every man upon this score, by the right he hath to preserve mankind in general, may restrain, or where it is necessary, destroy things noxious to them, and so may bring such evil on any one who hath transgressed that law, as may make him repent the doing of it, and thereby deter him, and, by his example, others from doing the like mischief. And in this case, and upon this ground, every man hath a right to punish the offender, and be executioner of the law of Nature.

3:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All of that is fascinating, but the point is that it's far from plausible that those behind the American and French Revolutions in their seminal texts arrived at EXACTLY the same set of inherent rights of man, the one being a rejection of the concept of Natural Law, the other being an embrace of it.

THAT is really the point. And it's obvious that their thinking in each case was an amalgam of many concepts, not a discrete applition of any one thinker's principles. Consider one of Locke's fundamental concepts - the inviolable right to private property. Jefferson specifically considered and rejected this as one of the inalienable right listed in the Dec. Should we take that to mean that Jefferson didn't approve of Locke's philosophy? Of course not. In fact he, and many other of the founders, embraced much of the content of Locke's treatises.

This is of course not to mention that the whole enterprise was fraught with many fundamental disagreements even among the founders (esp. for example between Jefferson and Hamilton). So it's not like their thinking can be treated as in any way monolithic.

And noting that the passages you cut and pasted mainly dwell on the protection of man's individual rights supports my points 1) that that is the extent to which *Natural Law* is at all important in the AmRev and 2) that the abridgement of those universal rights was the motivation for both the American and French revs.

12:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's also interesting how you switch back and forth from the idea that what it says explicitly in the text of the documents is dispositive and the idea that it's not. So, for example, the fact that the DoRM mentions "general will" means that they rejected Natural Law, but their declaration that "the aim of all political association is the preservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of man" is meaningless.

But I'm the one who's "reading phrases from the documents and forming conclusions", and I should realize that "there's much more to the thing than that."

Then you post some long exposition of these concepts, which does nothing to show that they were fundamental precepts of the American Rev. Although of course, I have offered hard evidence that it was the concept of Natural Rights was the sine qua non in both Revolutions.

12:24 PM  

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