One of the guys in my membership program asked me a question recently that really made me think, regardless of the fact that I had already given it a lot of thought. I don’t normally discuss the topics we talk about in my membership program publicly, but this question was such a good one that I wanted to address it here. (I am reprinting the question with the permission of its original asker.)

I’ve been thinking a lot about whose well being I actually have a responsibility to. Is it the world? That seems impossible, and full of SP bullshit. Is it ONLY myself? That seems like an easy way to alienate everyone. Where do you draw the line? Family? Friends? Those you do business with? Your employees? Your local community? Those with a shared culture or ideology? Your country? At what point does altruism and self-interest end and SP begin? At what point are you not giving tough love, but just being an asshole instead? – Tim

Good question. Who exactly are you responsible for?

Before I give you my answer, it might make more sense to put this in context of other common answers encouraged by Societal Programming.

The Left Wing View

If you’re more progressive left in your worldview, your hierarchy of responsibility probably looks something like this:

1. Your very close family members (spouse, kids, and perhaps parents).

2. Yourself.

3. Your close friends and other family members.

4. The entire world.

Naturally you view yourself and your family as something very important. That’s standard human stuff. But then, you probably view the entire world and the entire human race as something you feel responsible for. Things like religion and nations probably don’t mean a lot to you, but things like problems with the environment and nuclear weapons you consider extremely important, since these things threaten “the world.”

You probably feel responsible for “everyone” to save and protect the entire world, particularly the poor and/or those you view as oppressed. Witnessing people not caring about the world or global humanity probably makes you very upset.

The Right Wing View

If you’re more conservative right, “traditional” in your outlook, and your hierarchy of responsibly looks very different from the left-winger. It probably looks something like this:

1. God, Jesus, or whatever your religion is.

2. Your close loved ones.

3. Yourself.

4. Your extended family.

5. Your nation.

6. Your race.

Like the left-winger, you hold your close family members as pretty important. Again, that’s normal human stuff. Very unlike the left-winger, you probably hold your religion, your nation, and your race as extremely important. To you, your nation (and possibly your race) comes first. That doesn’t mean you’re necessarily against other nations or races (though many of today’s angry conservatives are), but it certainly means that caring about “the entire world” doesn’t make a lot of sense to you. You feel a need to care about your nation/race first, and then maybe address other nations/races later (or maybe not at all).

While seeing people not care about “the world” makes left-wingers upset, seeing people not caring about your country makes you upset.

Ayn Rand’s View

Now let’s look at a polar opposite of these two societal viewpoints that were espoused by Ayn Rand and objectivists like her. In her view, your responsibility hierarchy looks like this:

1. Yourself.

That’s it! Her view was to be 100% selfish and not give a shit about anyone else unless you chose to, and even then, only if those people were worthy and deserving of such attention.

Obviously, this belief flies in the face of both left and right Societal Programming, and is thus not very popular, nor ever will be.

My View

As you might imagine, my view is pretty far from both the left and the right. It’s a little closer to Ayn Rand’s view, though it’s not nearly as extreme.

My responsibility hierarchy looks like this:

1. Yourself.

2. Your inner circle, defined as your children (if any), your spouse or equivalent (if any), and possibly your parents.

3. Value-for-value relationships.

I shall explain.

My number one responsibility is to myself. Not my family, not my religion, not the world, not my nation, not my race. None of these things matter to me if my life sucks. Therefore, my first priority is me, to make sure my life doesn’t suck. Since everything in my life is my fault, absolutely no one is going to make my life awesome except me. I mean this. My girlfriend, my dad, my friends, my kids, my customers, Donald Trump, Jesus, Bernie Sanders, Milo Yiannopoulos, NONE of these people will make my life awesome or fix my problems. None of them! Not one!

Most of these people don’t give a shit and the very few that do care have their own problems to fix, thus they don’t have the time to make my life awesome for me.

Therefore, it’s up to me. This is why they tell you, during the airline safety speech, to put the oxygen mask over yourself first before you start helping other people with their masks. I can’t help the world (or my family, or my nation) if I have no money, am never getting laid, or have horrible health. It starts with me. I am the very first person or entity I need to address in my life. Everyone and everything else comes second. They have to.

Once I know I’m taken care of, now I can help others. I can address the next people on the priority list, those of my close family members. “Close” family members are defined as the family members I chose to have. That would be my children (if I have any, and in my case, I do) and my spouse or equivalent (again, if I have one, and I sort of do now).

In both these cases, you chose to have your kids (I hope) and you chose to have your spouse. No one forced you; you chose these people. This is unlike your parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, etc. These people were forced upon you; you did not choose to have them. Therefore, you are not responsible for these people unless you choose to be.

In my case, I choose to be a little responsible for my parents. I have not chosen to be responsible for anyone else in my extended family, nor will I. I have many siblings and I love them all, but their lives are their own problem. I’m busy enough managing mine.

I personally chose my parents because unlike many people, I had a good childhood and have two really good parents. If you have shitty parents, I think it’s a mistake to choose to be responsible for them. Respect and responsibility is earned. If your parents sucked, they didn’t earn it.

I don’t care if they “had you” and “raised you.” They “had you” because they wanted to have you. As I’ve said before, having children is one of the most selfish acts you can employ. (That includes me when I had my two kids.) You didn’t have kids because you wanted to help the world. You had kids because you wanted to have kids for your own selfish reasons. This includes your parents when they had you.

In the case of your kids, I think you should be 100% responsible for your kids until they become adults, which in most societies is age 18. Both of my kids are now 18 or over, so I no longer feel responsible for them in the traditional sense, but when they were under 18, I was very much responsible for them. I selfishly brought them into existence so it was up to me (and their mother) to take care of them.

Just because my kids are over 18 doesn’t mean I’ll now throw them to the wolves and not give a shit about them. Of course I love them very much and care for their futures. One of the biggest reasons why I delayed leaving this collapsing country until (likely) 2025 is because I wanted to make sure my adult children were both settled into adulthood before I left. So obviously I care. It’s just that I’m not responsible for them anymore. They’re adults now. Their responsibility is to themselves.

When my girlfriend, Pink Firefly, moves in with me, I will feel a little responsible for her. I said a little. She’s not a child; she’s an extremely capable and independent adult; that’s why I love her. So I’m not going to take full responsibility for her; that would be stupid. But in terms of who I’m responsible for, she’ll definitely be number two on the list, right under number one: me.

So if you want to visualize my list more clearly, it would be me, then partially Pink when she moves in, then somewhat my kids, then somewhat my parents, but only if they need my help as they age. They may not or my siblings may step up and provide that care. Either way is fine with me.

That covers my inner circle of people that I am responsible for. I am responsible for literally no one else. Society, my race, my country, Jesus, the world, none of these things are important to me, since A) most of them are self-sustaining, self-correcting systems and B) many of them are behaving in irrational, suicidal ways, hate people like me, and don’t want my help, as I explained here.

The world? It will go on, regardless of what you or I do or don’t do. Even a world-wide environmental crisis that actually threatens humanity won’t ever happen, because humans will invent something that fixes the problem at the very last minute. They always do.

My country? If the USA fails (and it eventually will), no problem, I’ll be somewhere else, far away. If that country fails, no problem. As an Alpha Male 2.0, disconnected from the system and with location independent income, I’ll just move somewhere else. There will always be functioning nations in the world.

My race? Well, I’m white, and most white people these days are suicidal when it comes to the future of their race so I stopped giving a shit about that quite a while ago. If my race fails (and it will; white people are going bye-bye), I don’t give a shit. Today’s Asians are smarter and more industrious anyways, and mixed people are quite attractive. Hell, I’ve already created at least one white person (my daughter), so any obligation to my race I ever had was fulfilled long ago.

Religion? Western religions have already failed, so I don’t need to worry about that, particularly living the Alpha 2.0 lifestyle of location independence, financial diversification, and nonmonogamy.

If I’m not responsible for any of these things then what the hell am I responsible for outside of my inner circle? Am I just a selfish asshole who just sits around and rides on society’s success without giving anything back? Not at all. I’m responsible for the many value-for-value relationships I voluntarily create.

Value-For-Value Relationships

Societal Programming teaches you that you are responsible for certain entities (family, the world, God, your nation, your race, etc) because that’s “what is best for society.” Forget about you, society is more important, you unimportant peon. Sounds great. Where do I sign up for that?

Of course, this pre-assumes that you know exactly what is best for society, and you don’t. Neither do I. We’re just guessing as to what is best, mostly based on subjective factors such as Societal Programming, our own personalities, and our own current conditions.

A smarter way to go through life, and a path more conducive to long-term happiness, is to ignore all that subjective, emotional, philosophical crap, and focus on individual relationships you create that are based on value-for-value.

Value-for-value means I voluntarily give you something you value, and in exchange, you voluntarily give me something I value. Obligation has nothing to do with it. Societal Programming (usually) has nothing to do with it. You have something I want, I have something you want, so we trade, voluntarily. No one forces us. Value-for-value.

My only responsibility is to provide you the value you promise. Your only responsibility is to provide me the value you promise. That’s it. No worrying about the world, the country, Jesus, the environment, white people, black people, or anything else.

A simple example is that if you want to learn how to get laid more easily, and you buy one of my dating books, we engage in a brief value-for-value relationship where you learn how to get laid, and I get about $40. I personally think you’re getting the much better end of the deal, since I would have KILLED to pay around $40 or $50 to learn a proven system on how to get laid back when I was 23 years old. But that’s okay, since I have the ability to engage in many of these relationships instead of just one or two. I can sell many books a day, every day, and do. So you get laid and I get my financial goals met. Win/win. Value-for-value.

If, for some reason, I lie to you and my books don’t provide value, that’s okay, since I have a 100% lifetime guarantee on my books. You can return them any time and get your money back, no matter how long you’ve owned it. To my knowledge, I’m the only guy in the PUA community or manosphere who does this. This is because, unlike most other gurus in this space, I focus on value-for-value. I want to make sure you get value; that’s my only responsibility in life outside of myself and my inner circle.

Value-for-value doesn’t just apply to business transactions. If you have a FB, you give her value she wants (sex, and perhaps attention), and she gives you value you want (sex). If you have a friend you enjoy spending time with, you give him something of value (friendship, attention, support, social interaction) and he gives you back the same. Value-for-value.

You could argue that sometimes you get the shittier end of the deal, like the FB who sucks up a lot of your time for just a few minutes of sex. That happens sometimes, but remember, everything in your life is your fault, so you have the power to next that bitch and go get sex from someone else whenever you want (I have done this). You can also fire customers who are problematic (I have done this), dump friends who are toxic (I have done this), leave jobs that make you unhappy (I have done this), and even soft or hard next family members who treat you like shit (I have done this).

This is because I only do value-for-value relationships. I allow no other kinds of relationships into my life. My life and my happiness are too important. Value-for-value means I’m getting value too, not just you. If you’re getting value but I’m not, I’ll eject your ass out of my life and get back to being happy, providing value to others while receiving value in return.

When you base your life around value-for-value, suddenly, you don’t really give a shit about society, your country, or any of that other political stuff. You’re too busy being productive and happy. You live a happy life while making others happy. It’s a pretty good deal.

Even better, when you focus on value-for-value, you actually make the world better. The people who make the world worse are those focused on sucking value but not returning any, such as the guy who lives on government welfare while playing video games all day instead of working, the single mother who keeps cranking out babies with losers, or the millionaire hedge fund manager who rips off his customers but keeps getting bailed out by taxpayer dollars regardless.

By focusing on value-for-value, you actually improve the economy and the lives of those around you at least a little. You’re part of the solution rather than part of the problem, even if you don’t actually care about society.

This is why, despite the fact that I don’t give a shit about society, I actually help society much more than many people who accuse me of hurting it because of my lack of interest in it. I’m focused on creating massive economic activity and bringing happiness to others, while many other people are focused on voting for authoritarian politicians or trolling people on the internet whom they have political disagreements with. Which of us are helping society more?

Therefore, in my strong opinion, your primary responsibility is to yourself, followed by those in your inner circle (children, spouse, and perhaps parents), then followed by many large and small value-for-value relationships you create. I realize that what I’m saying conflicts massively with the Societal Programming in most of your heads, and I expect to get huge disagreements about that in the comments from both left-wingers and right-wingers alike. Regardless, if you focus on those three things and ignore everything else, you’ll always be happy, always be productive, help society even if you don’t give a shit about it, and be a good person.

58 Comments on “Who Are You Responsible For?

  1. It’s such a simple idea, that in order to help other people, you need FIRST to help yourself. It’s so obvious, and applies not just to individuals, but to all entities including states and countries and organizations, but it’s so rare a mindset. Like people who think it’s the USA’s job to let in the entire 3rd world, for example. There will be no USA to help out if that happens. It will, so obviously, be a net loss.

    Another thing people underestimate is the generosity of those who are fulfilled in life, emotionally, financially. People who have done well for themselves, for the most part, want to help others do well for themselves. Personally, the more I elevate myself, not only am I better equipped to help others, but my desire to help also goes up. And people are more inspired by what I’ve accomplished. It’s a win/win/win situation.

    Keep up the good work BD. You’re one of my few online inspirations.

  2. I hope I am the first to say very well stated. I fully or nearly so any way agree with you. There may be 2% or less situations in which you put your loved ones first in extreme situations like subjecting yourself to grave harm because someone is trying to beat your loved ones and cause serious physical harm to people such as Pink Firefly, your son, your daughter and your parents. However in most situations, 98% or more, you are correct that you need to help yourself first then you will be able to help those you care about.

  3. white people are going bye-bye

    AFAIK, it’s only the world percentage of white people that is going down, but their true numbers are still going up. White people will still be an important demographic next century, and white extinction is largely a myth (hell, even if they are decreasing in numbers, which they aren’t, a generous 1% yearly decrease means more than 60 years to get halved and 125 years to get divided by four). Not every white population is having kids below replacement level, and white GenZ are probably gonna be very long-lived anyway.
    That being said, I do worry a little because I’m a sucker for hot white women, and I’m always happy when I see white adults with a cute little blonde kid, gives me hope.

  4. Personally, I agree with the post. It does make life way happier & better to be living this way.

    Nevertheless, I don’t think most people feel “responsible” to help the World / Race / Religion / etc.
    They are only grouping because – as you said – there are things they think threaten them.

    My Race is under attack – I gotta do something because few people are doing anything, and this way we will all be extinct.
    My Religion is under attack – I gotta do something because few people are doing anything, and this way we will all be extinct.
    Our Jobs are under attack – I gotta do something – because few people are doing anything, and this way we will all be extinct.
    Etc.

    Coming from that place…
    “I’m NOT living in a Value-for-Value world. I’m in Survival Threat mode.
    How can Blackdragon ask me to go on living my life merrily, when I ‘know’ that the statistical odds of me getting killed – and a LOT of people like me getting extinct – are rising?
    I don’t wanna be responsible for others either, I just don’t wanna die!
    And there is no way I am not doing anything to prevent that.”

    What do you say to that?

  5. Unless of course it’s a woman. In which case, you don’t give her the value that she ‘Thinks” she needs 😉

  6. Wow, this is why I am a faithful reader–you clearly bring to the forefront what I only thought in the periphery.

    I just don’t like needless exertion and typically channel my efforts with sense and a purpose… anything that even slightly drains my precious life force to no useful end, I drop like a hot potato (race politics, family, the world, ideas, etc).

    Since elementary school, I chose to be alone than befriend parasites and only surround myself with value for value relationships like you describe. No other reason but it felt better and I was happier.

    I am a very giving, selfish person. Life is more simple and pleasurable this way.

  7. Ayn Rand’s View

    That’s it! Her view was to be 100% selfish and not give a shit about anyone else unless you chose to, and even then, only if those people were worthy and deserving of such attention.

    Actually your view is nearly a 100% dead bang recitation of Ayn Rand’s view on responsibility. She is often misunderstood to be saying “look out for number 1 and screw everyone else.” That is not the case at all.

    What Ayn Rand actually says is that you should behave in a way that is consistent with one’s own self image and never to your own personal detriment. You provide for your children because that is the kind of parent you want to be. You provide for your parents because that is the kind of child you want to be. Her definition of “selfish” is not screw everyone else but behave consistent with your self image.

    In an essay she wrote she gives an example to demonstrate this point.

    You are walking along a beach and you see someone drowning. There is literally no one for miles and if you don’t save the person there is a 100% chance that person will drown. Now you have no idea if that is Hitler drowning or Mother Teresa. You also know that no matter how strong a swimmer you are there is at least a small chance they will take you down with them when you try to save them.

    Her point is it is a SELFISH act to attempt to save that person because your self image is inconsistent with allowing a helpless person to drown. It would actually harm you (and your self image) to allow that person to drown even though there is some chance you will lose your life doing so.

    The long winded point I am trying to make here is that so long as the responsibility you are taking is based on your own thoughtful consideration and what maximizes your happiness it is probably the right call. Not because your family says you should or society says you should but because it is what is consistent with the person you want to be.

    I completely agree with your value-for-value point. It is right out of Ayn Rand’s playbook. I called it Value-based Affection in interpersonal relationships (friendships and romantic relationships) but it is basically the same thing you are describing. In Atlas Shrugged, Hank Reardon financially supported his useless brother, hateful wife and waste-of-space mother. Ayn Rand had no issue with it because that was the kind of brother, husband and son he wanted to be. Her issue was that they spit in his face while he was taking care of their needs.

  8. @Ashwin

    I’m black in America so am made to feel my race is under attack and I should be in survival mode when, personally, my mind spirit and situation sees otherwise. Learn to physically defend yourself. Don’t be swayed by fear. Stay informed. Reality>Feelings. Spot the race parasites (these “revolutionaries” will kill your soul if you let them). Start taking the steps to move out the country or at least build a life that is location independent.

    You can still be your #1-2 even while in a minority / oppressed group. If you’re serious about only having value for value relationships, you can avoid a good chunk of this nonsense. I sure did and my black woman ass hasn’t been happier. I don’t fret over what I can’t control.

  9. To be honest, I have not seen too many people who don’t put themselves first.

    1. Yourself

    2. Whatever order depending on your left/right, religion, etc. I think this is SP in USA. It’s called imdividualism

  10. I also think it’s important to not make yourself responsible to any particular ideology. It will end up owning you.

  11. It’s such a simple idea, that in order to help other people, you need FIRST to help yourself. It’s so obvious, and applies not just to individuals, but to all entities including states and countries and organizations, but it’s so rare a mindset. Like people who think it’s the USA’s job to let in the entire 3rd world, for example. There will be no USA to help out if that happens. It will, so obviously, be a net loss.

    Correct.

    Helping others at the expense of yourself is a suicidal mindset.

    white extinction is largely a myth

    The only myth part is the timing of it. It won’t happen in 100 years, but it’s still going to happen.

    They are only grouping because – as you said – there are things they think threaten them. My Race is under attack – I gotta do something because few people are doing anything, and this way we will all be extinct.
    My Religion is under attack – I gotta do something because few people are doing anything, and this way we will all be extinct.
    Our Jobs are under attack – I gotta do something – because few people are doing anything, and this way we will all be extinct.

    If you prioritize it, you prioritize it. The reason you’re doing so is an entirely different conversation.

    I see both my country and my race “under attack” in many ways, but I still don’t care, since both of these entities are suicidal and don’t want my help anyway.

    Coming from that place…
    “I’m NOT living in a Value-for-Value world. I’m in Survival Threat mode.
    How can Blackdragon ask me to go on living my life merrily, when I ‘know’ that the statistical odds of me getting killed – and a LOT of people like me getting extinct – are rising?
    I don’t wanna be responsible for others either, I just don’t wanna die!
    And there is no way I am not doing anything to prevent that.”

    What do you say to that?

    The 2% Rule.

    What are the odds a terrorist is going to blow up your house or that global warming will kill your children?

    She is often misunderstood to be saying “look out for number 1 and screw everyone else.” That is not the case at all.

    Yes, but that isn’t what I said.

  12. Great text BD. But you should just have said that you think like Ayn Rand and then procceed to wirte everything you wrote. That’s actually what Rand’s saying when she says you should have only one priority. It’s Praxeology, its do only what you want, and sometimes what you want is to help and protect others, but it’s still what you want.

     

    The whole text is a great analogy to the economy and why free market flourishes in an environment fully controled by selfish decision makers (playing under the same rules)

  13. The only myth part is the timing of it

    Given the turmoil that technology will soon cause even if its pace stays slow, any prediction beyond a century is meaningless, so being confident that whites will be extinct “but in more than a century” is beyond misguided – the very causes and ideologies that are now putting whites in danger are barely more than a century old, so you can see the incoherence of such a long term bet on the stability of current trends, when we’re diving into the most unpredictable century ever.
    But since the subject isn’t very important to me, I’ll drop it here.

  14. you should just have said that you think like Ayn Rand and then procceed to wirte everything you wrote. That’s actually what Rand’s saying when she says you should have only one priority.

    I agree I didn’t state Rand’s views very completely.

  15. Yes, I agree with Ayn Rand. I have never seen anybody who has a different first priority. Maybe
    Jesus, but He was not a man. I simply disagree with you that people have first priorities different from “themselves”, although the order of all other priorities differs.
    Granted, people help others, but only after they help themselves. I would go further and state
    that everybody’s first priority is themselves, especially in the USA, where individualism is a part of SP.

    You go through Church to get communion and life everlasting, maybe Jesus will give you money (prosperity) too. A selfish reason.

    Men marry to get a fucking cooking cleaning appliance. Most men remarry to get just that. Women don’t remarry despite benefitting financially, at least not the independent ones. Being a cooking fucking cleaning appliance sucks. She does not fuck?
    Some divorce, most get it on the side (divorce is expensive). Anything you do is for selfish reasons.

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-4-9-million-settlement-in-death-of-metally-ill-homeless-man-kelly-thomas-20151123-story.html

    Here is a prime example. The dad has a house. The mentally ill son was homeless. Dad does not
    Give a shit about son being homeless, then profits from his death. To the American public this is
    Normal because son is grown up and should care for himself (Schizophrenics can’t l, but that’s besides the point).

  16. I think the priorities of people become much more understandable when you combine genetics and “memetics” (google it). Genetics, pretty straightforward: we are not only wired for the survival of the genes inside us because they also exist inside our relatives, so we’re instinctually driven to care about our relatives, and it takes a particular personality type and/or a painful mental effort to truly detach from your parents, siblings, etc, even when you know they’re making your life difficult (but doable nonetheless). Plus, tribalism too: we’ve been reusing our tribal wiring and investing it into “tribes” such as nations, religions, races, sports teams, etc.

    Memetics are bit trickier: memes are ideas/ideologies that behave like viruses of the mind. As Ian said, “it’s important to not make yourself responsible to any particular ideology. It will end up owning you.” Memes own us, and when you passionately defend and idea or try to spread it, you are essentially being the propagating vector of a virus trying to jump from one host brain to others. That’s why the followers of the most contagious memes – religions and pseudo-religions like communism etc – often sound like zombies repeating vague slogans. Because in a sense, they *are* zombies.

    When I discovered this, I began to become convinced that it’s a really, really bad call to die for an idea. Memes are things that hack your brain so that you consume your life and your strengths into something from the outside, when you could have much more consistent happiness by refusing to be a vector. Of course every idea, even “don’t be a slave to memes, focus on long term happiness”, is also a meme, but awareness of these things allows a more informed choice of what to fight for.

  17. “Even a world-wide environmental crisis that actually threatens humanity won’t ever happen, because humans will invent something that fixes the problem at the very last minute. They always do.”

    Isn’t it safe to assume that the people who invent things that fix world-wide existential crises are people who feel obliged to help the rest of the world?

    Even if the final discovery is made purely as a selfish drive for survival, it is usually built on top of shared knowledge and discoveries that wouldn’t have existed had it not been for people who were interested in furthering the sum of human knowledge specifically because they feel responsible for the world.

    Since the world is dependent on the left’s sense of responsibility to the world, isn’t it a good idea to support left ideals? (e.g. Free university education)

  18. Nevertheless, I don’t think most people feel “responsible” to help the World / Race / Religion / etc.

    They are only grouping because – as you said – there are things they think threaten them.

    They aren’t grouping because. That would imply causes and consequences, some degree of logic and rationality. Instead they are compelled to take action by those who exploit the “us vs them” division by pulling on emotional strings. Us good! Them bad! Them do thing—us destroy thing!

  19. On a related note, the rational only trumps the emotional when there’s a tangible practical need for rationality. Here’s an article on that point that also considers the concept of responsibility for someone: http://lesswrong.com/lw/nb/something_to_protect/

  20. I have been a long time lurker but perhaps reason alpha 2.0 resonates with me is we have similar values. I too have always placed myself first and “some” family…and all ppl in my life were chosen for value for value relationships.

    Thank you!

  21. I am firmly in the “What you do for others, you do for yourself” camp, up to and including self sacrifice. That’s not to say that SP doesn’t…..how to put it, perhaps adjust the levels of people you would do these things for.

  22. I love this article. Somehow I’ve never heard about Ayn Rand’s view but I always feel and do things that way: Me and closed ones first, then value-to-value relationship

    Do you have a little brother or sister? Do you have responsibility to provide for them financially if your parents can’t? Don’t get me wrong I love my parents and little bro to death, just not sure if providing for him is my somewhat responsibility, or just an act of kindness?

  23. You are walking along a beach and you see someone drowning. There is literally no one for miles and if you don’t save the person there is a 100% chance that person will drown. Now you have no idea if that is Hitler drowning or Mother Teresa. You also know that no matter how strong a swimmer you are there is at least a small chance they will take you down with them when you try to save them.

    @John Galt: I’m curious, what does Rand do in this case? Tried to google the essay but no result

    @BD: May I ask what would you do?

  24. 1. Yourself.
    2. Your inner circle, defined as your children (if any), your spouse or equivalent (if any), and possibly your parents.
    3. Value-for-value relationships.

    I agree, however, how do you deal with the ‘tragedy of the commons’ problem, that is ‘a situation within a shared-resource system where individual users acting independently according to their own self-interest behave contrary to the common good of all users by depleting or spoiling that resource through their collective action.’

    The world, the environment etc. are shared resources, and many a value for value relationship exists that are good for the people involved in said relationship, but bad for everyone else or society at large. If everyone lived by our responsibility hierarchy who would create governments and laws which manage this problem?

    Again, I agree with the hierarchy as it relates to personal happiness, however:

    Even better, when you focus on value-for-value, you actually make the world better.

    Is not necessarily true in many instances. Eg. drug dealer selling drugs to a user, Heavy industry without any regulations imposed producing for as cheaply as possible for a buyer without a consideration to the surrounding environment.

    How about fishing trawlers depleting natural fish stocks to unsustainable levels to fulfill high market demand at a reasonable price? Win-win for the trawlers and consumers today, bad news for future generations, classic tragedy of the commons problem.

    So I can see how arguments labeling our responsibility hierarchy as selfish have some merit, and it would probably be a big problem for the world if everyone followed it.

  25. @Leon

    My recollection was that it was a published essay in a book of essays she wrote.

    I don’t think Rand said what she would do but I also think she couldn’t swim making the point moot in her case.  She didn’t believe in selflessness or altruism. Her point was that a person that should have tried to save the swimmer but didn’t would be tormented the rest of their life because they behaved in a way that was inconsistent with their self image. Perhaps a different person that couldn’t swim or had a different value system would be able to not save the swimmer and not be tormented by it because it wasn’t at odds with their self image.

    She also used the example of a parent being in a situation where they had to chose between saving their own life or that of their child. She said the sane action is ALWAYS to choose the greater value. If you value your life over your child’s then the correct action is to save your own life. If you value your child’s life over your own you will save their life. She wouldn’t argue if that was right or wrong per se as long as you behaved consistent with your self image (aka what makes you happy).

    She described the concept of sacrifice as choosing that which one values less over that which one values more and that it was a form of insanity.

    A bit extreme to be sure but it does make the point.

  26. It’s so obvious, and applies not just to individuals, but to all entities including states and countries and organizations, but it’s so rare a mindset. Like people who think it’s the USA’s job to let in the entire 3rd world, for example.

    Not quite. It’s not the USA’s job to help the 3rd world, however, it is the USA’s responsibility to not fuck over the 3rd world either. If the USA focuses on growth at all costs (which it does) it leads to imperialism, which is bad. At the individual level, however, it is crucial to keep one’s own health and well being above all else because everything else follows from that.

  27. Even a world-wide environmental crisis that actually threatens humanity won’t ever happen, because humans will invent something that fixes the problem at the very last minute. They always do.

    This is pretty ignorant. First of all, technology doesn’t work like that. Technological advancement happens in a cumulative manner over years of trial and error (scientific research). Secondly, the technology to mitigate climate change for the most part already exists, but the elites don’t want it to succeed because they are already heavily invested in fossil fuels. We are so heavily invested in extracting nonrenewable resources that we’re willing to blow up a bunch of brown people across the ocean for them. Lastly, scientific research is not always a “value for value” relationship. Science is hard and shit fails. There must always be a significant amount of investment put into pure shot-in-the-dark projects in order for progress to happen. Myopic views toward research will fuck us over in the end, because the millions put into creating ever more sophisticated tools of murder are not being used on other projects since they don’t see a return until far off in the future.

    The only other major “world-ending” environmental crisis besides climate change, namely the threat of nuclear war, probably won’t happen unless some leader of a major nation goes full retard. So there’s no technological solution to this, it’s purely political (meaning that there must be some non-zero effort put towards not putting retards in office).

  28. BD, what would you do if one of those you deem yourself responsible for, particularly a spouse, started having long term problems. If these problems persist and end up meaning that the relationship is a bad deal for me, how long would you go before nexting? I am having trouble along these lines with an MLTR who has started suffering with mental health problems.

  29. Rand was right – it’s all about how you see yourself, IOW your identity.

    Identity is a trap. People and organisations will cynically use your identity against you to make you do their bidding (e.g. buy stuff, fight wars, man-up).

    Be flexible in how you see yourself because that will give you maximal freedom of action. In fact there is some evidence that the life story we each hold dear about ourselves is far from the factual account of past events that we think it is – it is changeable and highly manipulable (by our own consciousness and by outside forces).

    Hold your identity lightly, in case it ends up harming you.

  30. BD, good article. I agree with your list of who we are responsible for in our lives. If people want to add society or world issues to their list, that is their right but your list keeps it simple and promotes common sense. I feel that many people don’t put their needs first or understand why it is important. Everyone should take time to do things they enjoy, and take care of themselves mentally, financially, and physically . Many women are really bad at that concept. They put everything ahead of their needs and end up stressed, burned out, and unhappy. (It reminds me of your article of women wanting to be unhappy). We can not be our best as professionals, parents, partners, friends or family members if we don’t take care our ourselves first. All we have to do is make it a priority and then take the initiative to make it happen. Women drive me crazy with constant complaints about how stressed they are, or tired, etc. They have the power to change their mindset and be happy and take care of themselves. Just do it and quit complaining!
    I agree with taking care of children and helping them get their footing as adults. My children are all young adults and getting on theIr own and I want to make sure that they get a strong foundation into adulthood. They know that I expect them to be responsible, work, pay their bills and make good decisions and won’t let them live in my basement bumming off me until their 30. However, I am here to help them at a distance with advice and help if needed.
    I also think your point of value to value relationships is smart. It is a common sense way to handle possibly toxic people in our lives. I started a long time ago cutting toxic people out of my life as much as possible and I am much happier for it. It is not smart to put up with their negativity, drama, or nonsense if you want to be happy.

  31. Hey are you having trouble with the pay pal page? I try to make a purchase on coaching but it doesn’t let me.

  32. I have never seen anybody who has a different first priority.

    Correct, all human action is selfish. But that doesn’t change what I said. Helping your children or your nation at the expense of yourself or your own happiness is still selfish.

    Isn’t it safe to assume that the people who invent things that fix world-wide existential crises are people who feel obliged to help the rest of the world?

    No. It’s more safe to assume that such people are folks like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, etc; men who have already selfishly taken care of themselves by making billions of dollars to the point where they don’t even think about money anymore, and thus can now focus on other things (the world, etc). They still put themselves first, the world second.

    In other words, what guy with no money and no pussy and shitty health, living on his buddy’s couch, is going to invent something to fix the ozone layer?

    By the way, Bill Gates, an Evil Billionaire™, has done more good for the entire human race than any other person in human history. Could he have done this if he was working at McDonalds?

    Do you have a little brother or sister?

    Yes. Several of both.

    Do you have responsibility to provide for them financially if your parents can’t?

    Nope. That’s their problem.

    Don’t get me wrong I love my parents and little bro to death, just not sure if providing for him is my somewhat responsibility, or just an act of kindness?

    That’s up to you. If you feel responsible for them, then go ahead and take care of them financially. I don’t think that will make you very happy, but I’m an individualist, so to each their own.

    I just know that I would feel bad for my siblings, but I wouldn’t feel responsible for them. They’re adults. They can take care of themselves. I have my own inner circle to worry about.

    (To be fair, if I was worth $100 million, then maybe I would support them at that point because I wouldn’t care; but that’s an entirely different scenario.)

    May I ask what would you do?

    I have three businesses, one of which is this, but I’m mostly a business consultant. http://www.calebjones.com

    I agree, however, how do you deal with the ‘tragedy of the commons’ problem, that is ‘a situation within a shared-resource system where individual users acting independently according to their own self-interest behave contrary to the common good of all users by depleting or spoiling that resource through their collective action.’

    You create small governments at the local level, enforced locally only. Read this as an example.

    Is not necessarily true in many instances. Eg. drug dealer selling drugs to a user,

    Correct, but those are the exceptions to the rule.

    Heavy industry without any regulations imposed producing for as cheaply as possible for a buyer without a consideration to the surrounding environment.

    Again, the need for a local government. I am not an anarchist.

    But none of that is relevant to your individual hierarchy of responsibly. As always, I’m taking to YOU here, just YOU, not your country, city, or society. I don’t care about those things.

    First of all, technology doesn’t work like that.

    Yes it has. The whale oil shortage in the late 1800’s. The fuel crisis in the late 70’s. Y2K. So many other examples; all of these things were suddenly fixed by a sudden invention (or sudden burst of last minute hard work) to prevent global catastrophe.

    Human being are lazy as shit, but when disaster is right around the corner (not in 20 years from now, but right around the corner), they tend to suddenly get off their fat asses and fix stuff. History has shown this countless times.

    Lastly, scientific research is not always a “value for value” relationship.

    I never said it was. But it usually is.

    The only other major “world-ending” environmental crisis besides climate change, namely the threat of nuclear war, probably won’t happen unless some leader of a major nation goes full retard. So there’s no technological solution to this, it’s purely political

    Incorrect. We have the technology right now to build a nuclear missile-proof shield around the entire USA. But as you said, neither the elites nor the idiot masses are interested in such a thing, since everyone is too busy screaming about the important issues like transgender bathrooms and what to say at college campuses, so we don’t have any nuke protection.

    BD, what would you do if one of those you deem yourself responsible for, particularly a spouse, started having long term problems.

    I would stand by her and help her as best I could.

    If these problems persist and end up meaning that the relationship is a bad deal for me, how long would you go before nexting?

    You’d have to be more specific with your example. I can’t see myself nexting my spouse because of a medical problem.

    I am having trouble along these lines with an MLTR who has started suffering with mental health problems.

    Dude, an MLTR is not a spouse. Nicely next her ass and move on.

    Hey are you having trouble with the pay pal page?

    No. Email me.

  33. Yes it has. The whale oil shortage in the late 1800’s. The fuel crisis in the late 70’s. Y2K. So many other examples; all of these things were suddenly fixed by a sudden invention (or sudden burst of last minute hard work) to prevent global catastrophe.

    Again, you are still showing how exceedingly ignorant you are about science and technological development. Here’s the reality about all of those:

    Whale Oil – Kerosene was not a “sudden invention” meant to replace whale oil. Read this: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/making-sense/this-post-is-hopelessly-long-w/

    Fuel Crisis of 1979 – Fuel efficient cars already existed outside of the USA and weren’t invented just to unfuck people from the USA’s oil crisis. Research in fuel efficiency has been going on at universities across the world for at least a century and still is ongoing. Plus, “build a smaller car than the stupid Americans” isn’t much of a technological innovation. For more info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malaise_era

    Y2K – This wasn’t really a technological innovation at all. It was just a bunch of programmers that had to figure out clean ways of rewriting their code to cause the least disruptions possible and make sure no automated systems did something retarded like shoot nukes at Russia. No ‘inventions’ were necessary. Y2K was just pure laziness because everyone already knew it was going to happen, they just didn’t do shit until the last minute. There’s no science involved.

    Incorrect. We have the technology right now to build a nuclear missile-proof shield around the entire USA. But as you said, neither the elites nor the idiot masses are interested in such a thing, since everyone is too busy screaming about the important issues like transgender bathrooms and what to say at college campuses, so we don’t have any nuke protection.

    I call complete bullshit until you cite a source. We already have a bunch of missile interceptor systems, but they can’t intercept every possible type of missile. There’s also this problem: “An April 2000 study by the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Security Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology concluded that “[a]ny country capable of deploying a long-range missile would also be able to deploy countermeasures that would defeat the planned NMD system.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_national_missile_defense#Technical_criticism)

  34. I’m obviously not going to have a detailed back-and-forth on the specifics on all of these historical technological events, since that’s way too off-topic for this blog. If you want to think I’m wrong, that’s great. If you seriously want to think that the entire human race is fucked because we will be completely technologically powerless to fix some future environmental problem we can see coming, that’s great too. I choose to believe otherwise, based on all the historical data I’ve read.

  35. BD just read some SP from foxnews

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/02/10/why-sleeping-in-separate-beds-will-kill-your-marriage.html

    E.g.

    “the best of couples — highly committed, highly communicative couples — carry some resentment, and even some hostility toward one another.”

    “Be wary of falling into the trap of thinking that the sign of a healthy relationship is lack of conflict. Healthy relationships have all kinds of conflict”

    “The hard work of any relationship (and it’s harder with kids) has to be done,… It’s that togetherness and shared pain that creates the unbreakable bond.”

  36. Thank you. Which e-mail should I use? It’s probably my own computer screwing up and so I can fix that by using another one.

  37. BD just read some SP from foxnews

    Yep. Right-wing SP is usually just as irrational as left-wing SP.

    Which e-mail should I use?

    theonlyblackdragon @ gmail.com

    It’s probably my own computer screwing up and so I can fix that by using another one.

    Then do that.

  38. I was struck this morning by how deep the SP programming goes to make each of us responsible for the world’s problems. My 8th grade daughter was at an awards ceremony for being on the honor roll, and the motto for the event, which was repeated often, was “The power of one to change the world”. So, congratulations, kids, you did well at school now it’s your responsibility to fix the world.

  39. I don’t disagree with your hierarchy. Though most people are already acting in their own self-interest and just making up rationalizations for why they aren’t.

    It gets very complicated when you have a social species like humans where status and reputation within the group are crucial to one’s own self-interest, and thus being viewed as cooperative, altruistic, and willing to help others increases one’s status. Thus it is a feedback loop and very, very hard to separate out self-interest from serving the interests of others. Even a soldier who is purportedly sacrificing for the good of the group is, in a sense, serving his own interests because while he’s risking his own life, he’s also taking that risk in exchange for glory, adoration, and respect from his society (besides the pay and benefits).

    The fact is that dominance over others, on the one hand, and social status, on the other, are often at cross-purposes and one has to choose. Most of us would like to have both, but that is not typically an option. Ghandi and Martin Luther King are beloved…we have holidays for those we think sacrificed or fought for others. No one has holidays for Genghis Khan or Wall Street bankers. Dictators do successfully both dominate people and force them to pretend to love them, but no one speaks well about dictators after they die…it’s an extraordinarily unusual person who can implement that much social control and force over others. There are many more aspiring than successful dictators.  Ayn Rand and the libertarian greed-is-gooders try to have their cake and eat it too by convincing people that you can have both. Maybe if you are really, really good at social influence. But most people cannot have both. In fact, Bolshevik Vladimir Lenin, who ruined Ayn Rand’s life by taking away her family’s wealth and thus informed her philosophy, did live by his principles and lived an incredibly ascetic life where he did not partake of much of the benefit of being as powerful as he was…which is why people adored him.

    So you can have people’s love because you’re viewed as someone who sacrifices for the good of others…like Lenin or Ghandi or Bernie or a common soldier or nun. Or you can enjoy the benefits of good living to the fullest possible extent and risk being hated or executed in a revolution. Or you can be very clever at hiding your self-interest with virtue-signalling while enriching yourself, like Hollywood celebrities. But there’s always a trade-off.

    So while I agree with your hierarchy, I also think that trying to draw a line between self-interest and group-interest is sort of a mirage and most people can’t find that line even within themselves. Because much of the time, it’s in one’s own interest to help others. And it’s certainly in one’s interest to NOT help others who only seem to help themselves. Thus aggrandizing one’s virtue almost always pays, whether one’s tribe prefers that you show virtue by paying homage to a deity or to humanity in general or to a particular sports team or whatever.

    Just look at some of the responses here, where people justify their own self-interest by saying it’s a necessity in order to help others. What circular logic! Are you self-interested or not? If you are, you don’t need the justification. And if the main point is to be able to help others, then you’re not actually self-interested, you’re just taking a slow and steady route to altruism. Others try to dodge the question by claiming that helping oneself ends up helping others too, which is often untrue, as many situations are zero-sum, not win-win. The person who says he is self-interested for no reason other than his pure self-interest is the only person who is being 100% intellectually honest, though it isn’t wise to say in public. If Milo Yiannapolis tells us anything it’s that intellectual honesty is not considered a virtue by the masses.

  40. Pretty accurate. I definitely follow Ayn Rand’s view because its the only one that is truly unbiased and treats everything on a case by case basis, which proves to be the least forced and revolves the most around personal choice. Collective thinkers do not care about the individual at all. I always saw it more like this:

    Progressives are responsible for, and must protect the following in this order:

    -Anyone who feels “oppressed:” Pretty much women and nonwhites. Maybe SOME white men, but only if they are 200% behind the progressive cause. ANY disagreement from them and they are cast out.
    -Anyone who makes less than 40 grand a year
    -Maybe your buddies and family, if they agree with you. But if they don’t and you still support them, then you are a “traitor” if you even align with them.

    Tradcons are responsible for, and must protect the following in this order:

    -Anyone who disagrees with progressives but also is not libertarian or an anarchist
    -Anyone who makes more than 40 grand a year
    -Your nation and race.
    -Maybe your buddies and family, if they agree with you. If they don’t and you still support them then you are a “traitor”

  41. So, congratulations, kids, you did well at school now it’s your responsibility to fix the world.

    Yeah, its quite sickening when you think about it. That is one of many reasons why I’m against public school. I can’t believe I ever wanted to be a schoolteacher tbh.

  42. For a guy that doesn’t give a shit about whole world in general you are doing just great!

    You do some applied research in the most biased area of human life and just give away the most valuable end results. That is quite decent altruism.

    I wish there would be that open and effective information about ways of earning income. Or it’s just me naturally better at getting laid then at making income…

  43. My hierarchy is a little different.  At the bottom I would not include “country” so much.  But I would include “community.”

    You can take that politically either way.  If you live in a liberal oasis, you help to support that community.  If you’re a two-percenter or sovereign citizen, you support your local county sheriff.  You nurture each other because you know each other.  (That’s a general guiding principle – obviously excluding those who seek to harm or hinder you).   Garrison Keillor once joked all small towns are socialist.  You buy eyeglasses from Otto the Optometrist instead of Pearle Vision not because he’s cheaper, but because you know Otto and his family.

    I don’t know what “race” is and you can always reduce it to absurdity, who’s whiter or blacker than who and what color gauge do you use.  (That goes for “race realists”, the old apartheid Afrikaners with their “percentage” laws,  and SJW’s).  Statistically as Mr. Whitey White-man (heritage is one of the super-whitiest places on earth) more white folk have done me wrong over time than any number of black, Hispanic, Asian or others, so by that silly numerical measure I would be singing Roy Harper’s old SJW screed “I  Hate The White Man.”  Anyway I don’t care if people overall are getting browner.  If that’s a thing for you, that’s YOUR lookout.

    The Ayn Rand quote is a bit of a false flag.  All she was reciting is what in fact is the centuries-old common law: you have no legal duty to rescue or give first aid to anyone, and certainly no duty to  put yourself in peril.  Indeed, if you do rescue, but you screw it up, you’re liable to the victim.   I always enjoy seeing high schoolers’ heads explode when they hear that.   (So-called Good Samaritan laws make that less harsh by immunizing paramedics and such who do perform first aid or rescues).

    Beyond that I rather bristle at the notion I have some “duty” to do this or that, like man up and marry those sluts, or check my privilege for the sake of some special snowflake.

     

  44. Just to note a minor typo: “My race? Well, I’m white, and most while people these days are suicidal”. Guessing you mean white. Of course now I’m wondering if pointing this out is my responsibility…

  45. I struggle with this theme and the questions it raises as well. I appreciate the attention given to this subject by this post. However after reading the post I do not find myself clearer on where the boundaries lie, and specifically how to avoid slippery slopes.

    From the post BD says he is “a little” responsible for his children. He gives one example about how he modifies his life for this accommodation, stating that one reason for his staying in the US for a while longer is to “… make sure my adult children were both settled into adulthood before I left.”

    So far so good. And suppose he does a job consistent with his standards, calls it a day, and in 2025 moves out. Now suppose a few years later one of his children end up in a horrible life situation: addicted to heroin and spiraling out of control (I realize that often things dont “just happen”. ideally these situations should be noticed / stemmed before they go into the danger zone. Nevertheless, Life has a way of blindsiding us and throwing up “black swans”. And so while this example of drugs may not be perfect, I think its reasonable enough to illustrate my point). And so the question becomes: what to do? on the one hand there is a principled decision to be only “a little” responsible. On the other hand it is not (I assume) part of BDs long term happiness to have one of his children pass away, and therefore he would dig in with both hands to avoid such an outcome.

    Another example of a “slippery slope” is how much to be responsible for our parents. On the one hand these people are individuals in charge of their own happiness and destinies. On the other hand – what if we clearly see them doing things which will cause harm down the road? For instance: my father has bad knees, and down the road he will have terrible arthritis, it will be painful, and he may lose his ability to walk. Today he does nothing to take care of himself. And one may stay: “thats his choice”. However when the rubber meets the road in some years and this man is in agony, unable to take care of himself in some basic ways, it will be unavoidable for me to NOT get involved (my decision, consistent with my emotional happiness). This is a personal example, im sure others may relate to something else, parents who smoke for instance. I guess what I am trying to say is: while I would like to be only “a little” involved – because it makes sense in principle – such a stance may be painful for me down the road, thus contradictory to my long term happiness.

    how to square this up? Thank you.

  46. So far so good. And suppose he does a job consistent with his standards, calls it a day, and in 2025 moves out. Now suppose a few years later one of his children end up in a horrible life situation: addicted to heroin and spiraling out of control

    I would help a little, but I wouldn’t take responsibility for my fully adult children. They’re adults. Their life is their responsibility, not mine.

    For instance: my father has bad knees, and down the road he will have terrible arthritis, it will be painful, and he may lose his ability to walk. Today he does nothing to take care of himself. And one may stay: “thats his choice”. However when the rubber meets the road in some years and this man is in agony, unable to take care of himself in some basic ways, it will be unavoidable for me to NOT get involved (my decision, consistent with my emotional happiness).

    The mistake you’re making is devoting your life to taking care of your irresponsible, elderly father will NOT make you happy. It will help you avoid guilt, but that’s not the same thing.

    Same goes for babysitting your irresponsible, fully adult children.

  47. @Fred Flange, stoned philosopher says

    You misunderstand what Rand was saying. It has nothing at all to do with being liable to the victim. It was about the fact that one takes the risk as a selfish act and not a selfless one.

  48. Good article. I am curious about your opinion on this…

    I have a son with special needs that requires supervision/ongoing care. This will be the case when he turns 18, 25, 45 (he is 15).  I am faced with not only saving for my future, but (mostly) for his entire lifetime – this is a daunting task. I am scared what will happen if the Gov’t has to take care of him. That being said, I cant afford to hire a permanent caretaker, so it is shared between several family members including my older son.

    This is the main reason that I do not have a Plan B to leave the US (I would love to) but dont want to leave the burden with my older son — he never asked for this responsibility. This also affects with the A2.0 lifestyle I am trying to build.

    Anyway, in regards to ‘responsibility’ post-18, thoughts?

  49. I have a son with special needs that requires supervision/ongoing care. This will be the case when he turns 18, 25, 45 (he is 15).  I am faced with not only saving for my future, but (mostly) for his entire lifetime – this is a daunting task. I am scared what will happen if the Gov’t has to take care of him. That being said, I cant afford to hire a permanent caretaker, so it is shared between several family members including my older son.

    You’re one of those unusual exceptions to the rule; I have no easy answers. Taking care of your son for the rest of your life will absolutely damage both your happiness and your freedom, but at the same time I can’t say I could abandon my son if I had a similar scenario.

    It’s hard to say what I would do if I woke up tomorrow in the same exact situation, but my guess I would be that I would focus 100%, hardcore, on getting my income high enough were I could pay for full-time or near full-time care for my son, so that I could eventually go enjoy my life. But like I said, no easy answers here.

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