The Good and the Bad of Ron Paul Rebuttals

In a previous article, I defended Ron Paul as the only qualified candidate for the U.S. Presidency. In brief, it is because Mr. Paul is the only candidate who meets the criteria of being a God-fearing brother who favors a constitutionally restricted Federal government that he alone is worthy of a vote. God does not authorize Christians to vote for pagans or for those “Christians” who give mere lip service to the U.S. Constitution and thus break their oath. But even truly qualified candidates are not without problems, and in this essay I field the good and bad objections to Congressman Ron Paul as the next Commander in Chief.

From the myriad Ron Paul objections I’ve gathered from political forums, conversations with friends and colleagues, and from Big Media, it’s my conviction that Dr. Paul is often rejected and favored for the wrong reasons. Paul naysayers wrongly loathe his desire to decentralize our expansive Federal powers (the Bad Rebuttals), when that is precisely the reason he should be admired. Many Ron Paul fanatics, on the other hand, faultily cheer his raw libertarianism, which in my view is his fatal flaw. The right objections to Paul’s libertarianism – essentially a critique of religious neutrality – I call the Good Rebuttals.

The Bad Rebuttals

All bad Ron Paul rejections and objections affirm an unconstitutional and near idolatrous view and use of the Federal government. Below are the top few.

Paul wants to downsize the U.S. military, making the U.S.  susceptible to more terrorism.

This objection is mere boogeyman tactics, is technically guilty of the fallacy of appeal to fear, and is easily answered. Ron Paul:

I want to cut [overseas] military money, I don’t want to cut defense money. I want to bring the troops home, I’d probably have more bases here at home. We were closing them down in the 1990’s and building them overseas, that’s how we got into trouble so we would save a lot more money and have a stronger national defense, and that’s what we should do, but to say that we’d be weaker is absolutely wrong…Another important thing you should consider is the fact that the military is behind me more than the others. I get twice as much money as the active military…than all the other candidates put together.

I think that moment represented a clear snapshot of modern political debate: One politician simply ignores the other and instead appeals to the blind patriotism and emotions of the taxpaying audience who can extend his power, wealth, and fame.

Our servicemen don’t seem too concerned about this Ron Paul objection; Paul is their top choice for sending campaign donations. They also know that Paul wants to reopen many closed U.S. Military bases in order to secure our land using the best equipment available.  Moreover, it is true that Paul, along with many of the founding fathers, repudiates massive standing armies in preference to nonintervention and free trade with other nations. Paul indeed wants to downsize the Leviathan scope of our military which is spread across the globe in 135 nations with more than 900 bases. But a return to a natural and constitutional military role of defending U.S. soil and U.S. liberties hardly equates leaving our nation vulnerable to terrorism. It actually makes our country more secure.

Terrorist groups like al Qaeda are motivated for the very reason that our troops are unjustly present in their countries, not because they hate our wealth and freedom. For example, until recently the U.S. has been bombing Iraq for 10 years and applying rigorous sanctions on them for 20. There is now a Vatican-sized U.S. embassy in Iraq, symbolizing our eternal occupational presence there. These actions undoubtedly facilitate alienating effects. We know this not on speculative grounds but from research and even the words of the terrorists themselves. We’ll discuss this in the next Ron Paul objection.

Ron Paul thinks 911 is our fault.

Everyone remembers former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s noisy posturing in the 2007 presidential debates as he scolded Ron Paul for his remarks on the terrorist events of 911. Ron Paul:

I’m suggesting that we listen to the people who attacked us and the reason they did it.

Giuliani then gained the affirmation from the humanistic audience by implying that Paul’s explanation for the attacks was more absurd than any he’s heard. “I would ask the Congressman to withdraw that comment and tell us he really didn’t mean that,” Giuliani retorted.  The audience erupted in praise.

I think that moment represented a clear snapshot of modern political debate: One politician simply ignores the other and instead appeals to the blind patriotism and emotions of the taxpaying audience who can extend his power, wealth, and fame. Notice that Giuliani offers bluster and insult while Ron Paul graciously responds with fact. But because Paul intimated that the U.S. policies may have been culpable for the attack, Giuliani and the herd minds wouldn’t tolerate it. When did love of country ever exclude a belief that our Federal government may be doing things that hurt us? For those interested not in emotive reactions but in defensible positions, you may be interested in the data behind Paul’s remarks.

In 2006, an authoritative US intelligence report concluded that the war in Iraq increased the threat of terrorism rather than reduced it. Did Rudy fail to read that report and similar studies? Ron Paul has written about another piece of research:

Robert Pape, a researcher at the University of Chicago, did a study of six years and 2,200 terrorist attacks that was based on ten thousand records from publicly available databases. He concluded: “We have lots of evidence now that when you put the foreign military presence in, it triggers suicide terrorism campaigns… and that when the foreign forces leave, it takes away almost 100 percent of the terrorist campaign.” He has written a book explaining his thesis. Such studies help vindicate what I’ve been saying my entire public life: Invading other countries is a bad idea, especially if the goal is to stop terrorism; quite the opposite will be the result. [ref]Paul, Ron (2011-04-19). Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom (Kindle Locations 3520-3524). Hachette Book Group. Kindle Edition.[/ref]

Why do the terrorists say? Ramzi Yousef, currently serving a life sentence for bombing the World Trade Center in 1993, said in court:

You keep talking also about collective punishment and killing innocent people to force governments to change their policies; you call this terrorism when someone would kill innocent people or civilians in order to force the government to change its policies. Well, when you were the first one who invented this terrorism.

You were the first one who killed innocent people, and you are the first one who introduced this type of terrorism to the history of mankind when you dropped an atomic bomb which killed tens of thousands of women and children in Japan and when you killed over a hundred thousand people, most of them civilians, in Tokyo with fire bombings. You killed them by burning them to death. And you killed civilians in Vietnam with chemicals as with the so-called Orange agent. You killed civilians and innocent people, not soldiers, innocent people every single war you went. You went to wars more than any other country in this century, and then you have the nerve to talk about killing innocent people.

And now you have invented new ways to kill innocent people. You have so-called economic embargo which kills nobody other than children and elderly people, and which other than Iraq you have been placing the economic embargo on Cuba and other countries for over 35 years.

The Government in its summations and opening statement said that I was a terrorist. Yes, I am a terrorist and I am proud of it. And I support terrorism so long as it was against the United States Government and against Israel, because you are more than terrorists; you are the one who invented terrorism and using it every day. You are butchers, liars and hypocrites.

According to a letter sent to the New York Times by Yousef and his associates, their motive was not jealousy of America:

We, the fifth battalion in the LIBERATION ARMY, declare our responsibility for the explosion on the mentioned building. This action was done in response for the American political, economical, and military support to Israel the state of terrorism and to the rest of the dictator countries in the region.

Osama bin Laden has virtually said the same thing here, here, and here. Again, Ron Paul:

Plainly speaking, when we fight terrorism by exacerbating the very reasons for that terrorism, we increase the violence against us. [ref]Paul, Ron (2011-04-19). Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom (Kindle Locations 3513-3514). Hachette Book Group. Kindle Edition.[/ref]

The choice is simple: 1) Take a sobering look at our deplorable foreign policy and its perception by the terrorists who’ve actually attacked us; or 2) Support our disgraceful military intervention methods and reject the testimony of these terrorists simply because nearly all U.S. officials say so. What is not an option is to call Paul’s advised opinion absurd.

Paul wants to eliminate key Federal departments and services such as the Department of Education and Social Security.

Yes, Paul wants to eliminate many departments and services which are unconstitutional and which inexorably contribute to our behemoth national debt. So, they are not key at all. For starters, Paul’s basic plan:

Cuts $1 trillion in spending during the first year of Ron Paul’s presidency, eliminating five cabinet departments (Energy, HUD, Commerce, Interior, and Education), abolishing the Transportation Security Administration and returning responsibility for security to private property owners, abolishing corporate subsidies, stopping foreign aid, ending foreign wars, and returning most other spending to 2006 levels.

It’s interesting that while many people are complaining about the intrusive and near perverted disservices of the TSA at airports, few of them are praising Paul for being virtually the only government official calling for the abolishment of the sinister and unnecessary department. He’s even co-sponsored a bill that would open TSA agents to prosecution for their order-taking harassment and perversion.

If you can’t grope another person, if you can’t X-ray people and endanger them… if you can’t take nude photos of individuals, why do we allow the government to do it? – Ron Paul

It’s difficult to conceive why a person would object to Ron Paul on this point. Some argue that while it’s suitable to cut the TSA and other liberty-robbing agencies, Ron Paul has gone too far in opposing the Department of Education and Social Security!

Regarding education, Paul’s stance is straightforward:

It’s quite clear that there’s no constitutional authority for the federal government to be involved in education, regardless of what the Supreme Court has claimed. Ideally, education in a free society would be the responsibility of the parents or the individual or local community, not the government. There is no constitutional prohibition for states or local communities to be involved in education, and up until the mid-twentieth century, education was the responsibility of the church, the family, and the local community. [ref] Paul, Ron (2011-04-19). Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom (Kindle Locations 1015-1018). Hachette Book Group. Kindle Edition. [/ref]

The essence of our freedom to homeschool is precisely the contradiction of the goal of the 14th Amendment. Once our autocratic rulers deem home schooling a cult or a “rebellion to be put down” (much like Waco, Ruby Ridge, etc.), they’ll use the 14th against Farris and us all.

Federally sponsored government education is the attempt to create a monolithic society of docile, dumb, and duteous Statists – nothing more. It endorses the fraud of pluralism which says that disputes can be resolved to the satisfaction and equitable treatment of every viewpoint of every tax payer. They can’t:  One religious (ultimately faith-based) worldview will prevail and Christ will either be honored or dishonored because He repudiated neutrality (Matthew 12:30). The solution is that parents should be free to choose their own type of education and to pay for it themselves, rather than being coerced to pay for the humanistic and Statist education of their neighbors.

For those concerned with  Michael Farris’s 14th Amendment argument that Paul is a bad choice for home schoolers because because he doesn’t support the legal reasoning by which home schooling has made progress in the states, see Kevin Gutzman’s thorough response. Allow also my brief thoughts.

The 14th amendment is not only fraudulent, but it actually nullifies the Constitution, undermining the whole document and erecting a centralized despotism in place of the once autonomous and independent states of the Republic. The first 11 Amendments functioned to limit Federal power. Subsequent Amendments abruptly swung to function as strictures and limitations on state and individual power.  Frankly, the use one of the most nefarious “legal” precedents in American history as a cornerstone for home schooling protection is evil. As Joe Fallon has written, the 14th Amendment is the justification for the massive, intrusive, and coercive powers the Federal government uses against the states and the citizens. The essence of our freedom to homeschool is precisely the contradiction of the goal of the 14th Amendment. Once our autocratic rulers deem home schooling a cult or a “rebellion to be put down” (much like Waco, Ruby Ridge, etc), they’ll use the 14th against Farris and us all.

Strangely, I recently heard one vocal Ron Paul advocate express criticism of Paul’s desire to end Social Security. This person seems to have forgotten the very core of Paul’s platform is a belief in the personal liberty to live your life and take care of yourself free of Federal intrusion. It’s your job to provide for your future just as it’s your job to provide for your health. Federal government does not exist to provide you a nest egg and strong bones – that’s the role of self-government. Ron Paul:

The government’s definition of insurance is grossly misleading. Social Security is not, properly considered, insurance. Government-provided health benefits are not insurance either. And even such institutions as tax-funded flood insurance are not really insurance. All these programs are more accurately considered transfer payments. They redistribute wealth from one group to another. The rhetoric about insurance is just a cover to give these institutions legitimacy, effectively fooling people as to their true nature. [ref]Paul, Ron (2011-04-19). Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom (Kindle Locations 2061-2064). Hachette Book Group. Kindle Edition.[/ref]


Ron Paul’s Abortion Stance is Not Pro-Life

The argument is that Paul is really pro-choice since he  rejects a constitutional amendment that would ban abortion, while instead favoring individual states handling this issue. Ron Paul:

The pro-life opponents to my approach are less respectful of the rule of law and the Constitution. Instead of admitting that my position allows the states to minimize or ban abortions, they claim that my position supports the legalization of abortion by the states. This is twisted logic. Demanding a national and only a national solution, as some do, gives credence to the very process that made abortions so prevalent. Ending nationally legalized abortions by federal court order is neither a practical answer to the problem nor a constitutionally sound argument.

Removing jurisdiction from the federal courts can be done with a majority vote in the Congress and the signature of the President. This is much simpler than waiting for the Supreme Court to repeal Roe v. Wade or for a constitutional amendment. My guess is that the scurrilous attacks by these groups are intended more to discredit my entire defense of liberty and the Constitution than they are to deal with the issue of abortion. These same groups have very little interest in being pro-life when it comes to fighting illegal, undeclared wars in the Middle East or preventive (aggressive) wars for religious reasons. An interesting paradox! [ref]Paul, Ron (2011-04-19). Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom (Kindle Locations 175-184). Hachette Book Group. Kindle Edition.[/ref]

Early in the same chapter just referenced, Paul points out that there are many crimes delineated in the Constitution, and thus this criticism of Paul’s abortion stance is uninformed.

Of course, the Constitution says nothing about abortion, murder, manslaughter, or any other acts of violence. There are only four crimes listed in the Constitution: counterfeiting, piracy, treason, and slavery. Criminal and civil laws were deliberately left to the states. It’s a giant leap for the federal courts to declare abortion a constitutional right and overrule all state laws regulating the procedure. If anything, the federal government has a responsibility to protect life— not grant permission to destroy it. If a state were to legalize infanticide, it could be charged with not maintaining a republican form of government, which is required by the Constitution. [ref]Paul, Ron (2011-04-19). Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom (Kindle Locations 113-117). Hachette Book Group. Kindle Edition.[/ref]

Ron Paul is pro-choice state by state only in the same way that he is pro-homicide state by state. He’s a decentralizing Constitutionalist who wants criminal legislation in the hands of those lawmakers to whom it belongs.

The Good Rebuttals


The good rebuttals of Ron Paul boil down to this: Paul’s raw libertarianism assumes religious neutrality which is unworkable and ungodly. Here is Paul on liberty:

Liberty means to exercise human rights in any manner a person chooses so long as it does not interfere with the exercise of the rights of others. This means, above all else, keeping government out of our lives. Only this path leads to the unleashing of human energies that build civilization, provide security, generate wealth, and protect the people from systematic rights violations. In this sense, only liberty can truly ward off tyranny, the great and eternal foe of mankind.

The definition of liberty I use is the same one that was accepted by Thomas Jefferson and his generation. It is the understanding derived from the great freedom tradition, for Jefferson himself took his understanding from John Locke (1632– 1704). [ref]Paul, Ron (2011-04-19). Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom (Kindle Locations 16-21). Hachette Book Group. Kindle Edition.[/ref]

We can note several things wrong with these two brief paragraphs.

1) Liberty is under law, an objective publicly-accessible and codified law, the general equity of which Christian men are to apply to their times. We are free to run in the way of God’s commandments (Psalm 119:32 ), but are not free to do anything which does not hinder the performance of another’s lawless “liberty”. Yet, Paul defines liberty in terms of the autonomous reasoning of Austrian economists. Politics, like all of life, is religiously informed, not religiously neutral. The battle is not between Libertarianism and Keynesianism, but between the Seed of the woman and the seed of Satan, saints and sinners, Christians and anti-Christs. Church/State separation is a farce.

2) While it is true that that some people are prosperous when little government restriction is place on them, it is not true that all are. Only a sanctified Christian public that is walking in the light of God’s word can expect Divine blessing (Deut. 28). Wicked people may prosper for a season, but only as God has placed them on slippery ground to cast them down to ruin (Psalms 73). To such, God’s Word does not prescribe the civil liberties to display public perversions. Yet, most traditionally conservative Ron Paul fans are painfully aware that Paul is weak on sodomites, but I hope they know this is due to his unbridled libertarianism. As Micah Clark has observed,[ref]Email newsletter from September, 2011[/ref] a couple years ago Indiana Congressman Mike Pence lead the Republican House floor effort to defeat a an amendment by Rep. Patrick Murphy to allow openly homosexual individuals to serve in the U.S. Military as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. The amendment passed 234-194, with just three Republicans voting “yes.” Rep. Paul was one of them, though he had previously voted against allowing homosexuals to openly serve in the armed forces. If Paul’s civil politic were informed by Scripture, he would realize that sodomites are a group which belongs shamefully in the closet, not a group that needs special legislative protection.

3) Thomas Jefferson did not espouse Paul’s religiously neutral view of liberty. As president, Jefferson included a Christian prayer in each of his two inaugural addresses. He signed bills appropriating money for chaplains in Congress and Armed Services which earnestly “recommended to all officers and soldiers, diligently to attend divine [Christian] services.” In 1803, Jefferson signed an appropriation of funds to be paid to the Kaskaskia Indians who requested that the US build them a Catholic church and pay their priest. He also advocated that the tax-supported College of William and Mary maintain “a perpetual [Christian] mission among the Indian tribes,” which included the instruction of “the principles of Christianity.” Jefferson proposed a curriculum for the University of Virginia which included a provision for a “professor of ethics” whose job was to present “the Proofs of the being of God, the Creator, Preserver, and Supreme Ruler of the universe, the Author of all the relations of morality, and of the laws and obligations these infer.” Jefferson’s actions hardly showcase a libertarianism which exemplifies individual preference and religiously neutrality.

4) Though Locke was a Puritan who professed the Christian faith, he is best known for popularizing the Social Contract theory and for his views on religious tolerance, neither of which are Christian. Regarding the former, he taught that, because human reason is supreme, the State cannot dependably evaluate the truth-claims of Christ-haters, and thus the coercion of religious uniformity would lead to more social disorder than allowing diversity. Regarding the latter, Social Contract Theory typically posits that the contractual agreements among fallen and finite men constitute the legitimate origin and authority of civil government. Man as man, not man as redeemed man, decides which freedoms to surrender and limits the authority of the ruler or magistrate whose duty is to protect the “natural rights” of men.

Prisons are a purely pagan concept. Search the Bible for them and you’ll find that God’s covenant people never had them. They are only referenced when pagans are. Prisons attempt to reform, deter, or quarantine criminals, thereby effectively punishing the innocent through taxation.

On the contrary, the Biblical model is to not enforce a creed upon every person’s mind and soul, but to preclude and punish certain Biblically delineated crimes. That is, while you are free to practice perversions in your closet (which are sins that will be punished by God), you may not practice them in public (which are crimes that must be punished now by man). As the highest authority beyond which there can be no appeal, it is God, not man, who defines the origin and authority of civil government. Tolerance is never pure and total, but is always defined by a religiously informed position. So while Paul’s raw libertarianism does seem to align more with Locke than Jefferson, we suggest that the otherwise honorable Congressman align more closely with Christ.

Let’s get more embarrassingly concrete with this good rebuttal of Paul by looking at one of his material positions, his stance on capital punishment. But before we hear from the Bible, let’s hear from Paul:

For me it’s much easier just to eliminate the ultimate penalty and incarcerate the guilty for life—in case later evidence proves a mistaken conviction. The cost of incarceration is likely less than it is for death penalty appeals drawn out not for years but for decades.

If the government can legally kill, it can do just about anything else short of that. I no longer believe that government should be trusted with this power. All power is likely to be abused, and disproportionately so against the government’s own enemies. This is not to argue that some of the convicted are not truly guilty of the charges and deserve the death penalty, which they might have received instantaneously if caught in the midst of a violent life-threatening act against a loved one in someone’s home.[ref]Paul, Ron (2011-04-19). Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom (p. 33). Hachette Book Group. Kindle Edition.[/ref]

Again, many things are askew here. Prisons are a purely pagan concept. Search the Bible for them and you’ll find that God’s covenant people never had them. They are only referenced when pagans are. Prisons attempt to reform, deter, or quarantine criminals, thereby effectively punishing the innocent through taxation. Scripture endorses the penology of punishment and restitution,[ref]We might say that as a bi-product of punishing a thief by requiring him to make restitution, we are also reforming him by teaching him what God’s law says to his circumstance. This may be so, but the primary model of Biblical penology is the rendering of the appropriate punishment for the crime.[/ref]  and prescribes the penalty of execution for the crime of murder. The magistrate may not turn to the left or right of this judgment by invoking autonomous human reason (Deut. 17:18-20;  2 Kings 22:2). Modern day executions are indeed expensive, but only because they don’t speedily carry out the sentence (Eccles. 8:11) or utilize the costless mode of stoning, the inexpensive bullet, or perhaps the reusable rope. Libertarianism not only ignores God-ordained penology in preference to unbridled personal liberty, but we can also see in its reactionary fear of a government a tendency toward anarchy altogether. During Old Testament times, a holy and just God had prescribed about 19 capital crimes, with full knowledge that certain kings could be trusted more than others. As libertarians are fond of saying, with freedom comes risk.

Conclusion

Ron Paul’s raw libertarianism reveals an ignorance of the fact that any type of government and all legislation are informed by a religious worldview whose presuppositions are faith-based and authoritative.  Thus, all men – legislators and judges and presidents – carry their gods into politics because their highest ethical authorities (be it libertarianism, relativism, Reaganism, or Christianity) function as faith-based religions, as gods. What else may one call that ultimate “something” beyond which there is no appeal? Understood in this sense, we can also say that all governments are theocratic – just replace “theo” with your ethical theory. The basic principle of libertarianism – that rights belong to individuals, not groups, and that they derive from our nature and can neither be granted nor taken away by government – functions as a god who cannot be questioned. But who says I should bow to libertarianism?  It doesn’t kiss the King (Psalm 2).

Issue Paul Romney
Is a Christian YES NO
Opposed Individual Mandate & Obmacare YES NO
Opposes Patriot Act YES NO
Opposed TARP YES NO
Opposed Cap & Trade YES NO
Opposed NDAA which gives President power for indefinite detention of U.S. citizens without trial. YES NO
Former Democrat NO YES
100% Pro-Life YES NO
100% Pro-Gun Rights YES NO
Never voted to increase government spending YES NO
Served in the military YES NO
Receives the most contributions from U.S. Troops YES NO
Endorsed by CIA top Bin Laden Expert YES NO
Favors an unjust, murderous strike on Iran NO YES
Perfect record defending the Constitution YES NO

When you read Ron Paul’s Ten Principles to a Free Society[ref]The ten principles of a free society:
1. Rights belong to individuals, not groups; they derive from our nature and can neither be granted nor taken away by government.

2. All peaceful, voluntary economic and social associations are permitted; consent is the basis of the social and economic order.

3. Justly acquired property is privately owned by individuals and voluntary groups, and this ownership cannot be arbitrarily voided by governments.

4. Government may not redistribute private wealth or grant special privileges to any individual or group. Individuals are responsible for their own actions; government cannot and should not protect us from ourselves.

5. Individuals are responsible for their own actions; government cannot and should not protect us from ourselves.

6. Government may not claim the monopoly over a people’s money and government must never engage in official counterfeiting, even in the name of macroeconomic stability.

7. Aggressive wars, even when called preventative, and even when they pertain only to trade relations, are forbidden.

8. Jury nullification, that is, the right of jurors to judge the law as well as the facts, is a right of the people and the courtroom norm.

9. All forms of involuntary servitude are prohibited, not only slavery but also conscription, forced association, and forced welfare distribution.

10. Government must obey the law that it expects other people to obey and thereby must never use force to mold behavior, manipulate social outcomes, manage the economy, or tell other countries how to behave. Paul, Ron (2011-04-19). Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom (Kindle Locations 3969-3981). Hachette Book Group. Kindle Edition.[/ref], you notice that most of them are derived from Scripture and thus are the borrowed capital of the Christian worldview. That’s because Paul is a Christian and his basic naturally and Scripturally informed conscience precedes his libertarianism. But while we pray that Dr. Paul would honor his true Christian religion rather than his man-made libertarian religion, we still support him as a candidate, especially compared to the likely Mormon and Big State choice of most confused Christians. If Lincoln was the great Centralizer, then Paul is the great Decentralizer. We need a presidential candidate brave and feasible enough to get the Feds out of our lives so that we and our state governments may resume the Constitutional business of handling our own affairs.

Judging by Ron Paul’s public position on the Federal government and by God’s providence regarding the Representative’s electability, we think the only reason to show up to the November voting booth is to promote the proper Federal wrecking ball that will allow us people to properly pick up the pieces.

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