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Left or Right: Which is more realistic/idealistic

 
 
Reply Mon 14 Jul, 2008 12:50 am
Continued from another thread...

okie wrote:
Diest, to discuss idealism for a moment, I do find that to be very fascinating, and I think there is a very basic difference from whence people draw their foundational beliefs. My idea of it is as follows.

I think liberals are more idealistic in terms of mankind being basically good, that the whole idea of evil is not taken seriously. Thus decisions are based upon shades of gray. In contrast, conservatives definitely believe in the concept of good and evil, with right and wrong having more definite boundaries and distinctions between them.

In accord with the above, liberals tend more to believe that the elimination of wars, and that utopia or something close to utopia can be achieved on earth, mainly through government helping them to achieve it. This also includes the elimination of poverty, etc. etc. In contrast, conservatives accept history as being a realistic example of what to expect in the future, and so a strong defense is deemed more necessary and crucial, that wars are more or less inevitable to protect freedoms, that poverty will likely never be eradicated, etc. etc., and that the best course of action is to encourage individual freedom and responsibility, both to minimize suffering, such as poverty, etc., and to remain free by winning any war against those that may have evil or misdirected intents.

Liberals tend to see government as the best answer to social ills, while conservatives tend to turn to religion or their belief in God as the personal solution to their ills. Liberals tend to be more group minded, while conservatives believe in more individually directed responsibility and freedom.

There is alot more to it than the above, but that is sort of a very quick introduction to it. as I see it. And to summarize, I think the conservative view is more realistic in terms of what the world is really like, while the liberal view is more idealistic and what they wish it to be like.

The difference between these two views are manifest in virtually every issue, from gasoline prices to foreign policy.


okie put together a pretty thoughtful collection of his opinions as to why he views liberalism to be idealistic. I've heard a number of arguments describing the other as being true. I thought to myself this would make a good thread to collect the arguments into one place and discuss the real idealistic, realistic, and practical values of both philosophies and if/how they ever overlap.

I can't remember who posted this, but I remember a quote which has stuck in my head for a while now... I'll paraphrase...

Quote:
There aren't any bad political ideas, only oversimplified ones.


I don't agree with conservatism, but not because I think it's bad, but because I think it's oversimplified. I feel it lacks the dynamics to address the spectrum of issues which we face as a country.

Thoughts?
K
O
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 7,698 • Replies: 83
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okie
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Jul, 2008 01:05 am
Thanks for the thread. To address your point of oversimplification, I believe some problems do have simple solutions, because they may have simple root causes. That doesn't mean they can be easily fixed, or completely fixed.

I once took a class, for my work, called Problem Solving and Decision Making. It seemed silly, but some of the points learned there I have valued as very valuable, and they were actually quite simple.

One point was that problems cannot and will not be solved until the correct cause of the problem is identified, and that is the reason why so many problems are never solved. The solutions often address the symptom, not the cause. Many examples were cited. One political example I can use is poverty. The solutions often proposed do not address the cause, but they instead address the symptom. Poverty is a symptom, not a cause of the problem.
0 Replies
 
okie
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Jul, 2008 09:18 am
Interesting, I come back here this morning, and nothing, nobody has posted, Diest. Perhaps that illustrates a point. At the root of Liberalism and Conservatism is an underlying cause for those political attitudes. I think views on various issues can be classified as symptoms or marks of an underlying philosophy, but the foundational beliefs are what drives the views, and there seems to not be much interest yet in discussing it, or identifying it, so that agreement can be sought on a deeper level.

I think Americans did agree on a deeper level in the past, but that rift is growing wider now, I think. I would submit to the discussion here that it is a spiritual problem, or a basic problem of how we view human nature and the world around us. Meanwhile we haggle over issues, but do we realize there is little hope of agreement if our basic underlying philosophy is being fragmented within our society. The cute little ads we hear all the time, diversity is our strength, is I believe hogwash. Sure, diverse ideas and approaches can be helpful on a certain level, mostly at the surface, but there has to be unity that underlies it all. A patchwork quilt turns out nice, but it all needs to be held together with a common thread and pattern.
0 Replies
 
Gala
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Jul, 2008 09:36 am
Liberal thinking at one point in this country flourished-- during the presidency of FDR. We no longer have the luxury of time or affordable living to live like this-- the corporaton has taken over and it's no longer possible to make a little bit of money and still lead an okay life.

I think it's equal parts-- conservative thinking has gotten us into a whole heap of trouble, especially when it comes to this mythic idea of less government is better. I seem to see a whole lot of government expansion in the last 8 years.

As for liberals-- they are the hypocrites. Everything is fine for them as long as it's not in their backyard. At least conservatives are unabashedly greedy and more upfront about it. So, I guess that makes them more realistic...
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Jul, 2008 09:55 am
I think fundamentally, the difference between classical conservativsm and classic liberalism is that conservatives are of the "if it isn't broken, don't fix it" school of thought and liberals are of the "continuous improvement" school of thought. Both have their strengths and weaknesses, but I think the liberal point of view has more of both. Classical liberals tend to have a vision of a better world, but are also willing to take chances with others lives to get there. They have lots of new ideas, but don't have a great respect for others who may disagree or present opposing views. The concept of democracy was a liberal invention. So was communism.

Today, we are far away from the classical definitions, IMO. Both sides are of the opinion that the other side is broken and only they know how to fix it. I see the "conservatives" of today acting just like the liberals above. They have some very strong ideas of how things should be, are willing to roll the dice to test the theory even if the downside risk is considerable and don't take the opinions of others with different views into consideration.
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Jul, 2008 10:04 am
"liberalism" is like the North Star, it's not a destination, it's a direction.
0 Replies
 
kuvasz
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Jul, 2008 12:18 pm
Words of wisdom from a Nobel prize winning economist who is revered by free market Conservatives (until they read the following linked essay).

by F.A. Hayek

Why I am not a Conservative."

http://www.geocities.com/ecocorner/intelarea/fah1.html

Quote:
This brings me to the first point on which the conservative and the liberal dispositions differ radically. As has often been acknowledged by conservative writers, one of the fundamental traits of the conservative attitude is a fear of change, a timid distrust of the new as such,[5] while the liberal position is based on courage and confidence, on a preparedness to let change run its course even if we cannot predict where it will lead. There would not be much to object to if the conservatives merely disliked too rapid change in institutions and public policy; here the case for caution and slow process is indeed strong. But the conservatives are inclined to use the powers of government to prevent change or to limit its rate to whatever appeals to the more timid mind. In looking forward, they lack the faith in the spontaneous forces of adjustment which makes the liberal accept changes without apprehension, even though he does not know how the necessary adaptations will be brought about. It is, indeed, part of the liberal attitude to assume that, especially in the economic field, the self-regulating forces of the market will somehow bring about the required adjustments to new conditions, although no one can foretell how they will do this in a particular instance. There is perhaps no single factor contributing so much to people's frequent reluctance to let the market work as their inability to conceive how some necessary balance, between demand and supply, between exports and imports, or the like, will be brought about without deliberate control. The conservative feels safe and content only if he is assured that some higher wisdom watches and supervises change, only if he knows that some authority is charged with keeping the change "orderly."

This fear of trusting uncontrolled social forces is closely related to two other characteristics of conservatism: its fondness for authority and its lack of understanding of economic forces. Since it distrusts both abstract theories and general principles,[6] it neither understands those spontaneous forces on which a policy of freedom relies nor possesses a basis for formulating principles of policy. Order appears to the conservative as the result of the continuous attention of authority, which, for this purpose, must be allowed to do what is required by the particular circumstances and not be tied to rigid rule. A commitment to principles presupposes an understanding of the general forces by which the efforts of society are co-ordinated, but it is such a theory of society and especially of the economic mechanism that conservatism conspicuously lacks. So unproductive has conservatism been in producing a general conception of how a social order is maintained that its modern votaries, in trying to construct a theoretical foundation, invariably find themselves appealing almost exclusively to authors who regarded themselves as liberal. Macaulay, Tocqueville, Lord Acton, and Lecky certainly considered themselves liberals, and with justice; and even Edmund Burke remained an Old Whig to the end and would have shuddered at the thought of being regarded as a Tory.
[/b]
0 Replies
 
Gala
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Jul, 2008 12:43 pm
engineer wrote:
I think fundamentally, the difference between classical conservativsm and classic liberalism is that conservatives are of the "if it isn't broken, don't fix it" school of thought and liberals are of the "continuous improvement" school of thought. Both have their strengths and weaknesses, but I think the liberal point of view has more of both. Classical liberals tend to have a vision of a better world, but are also willing to take chances with others lives to get there. They have lots of new ideas, but don't have a great respect for others who may disagree or present opposing views. The concept of democracy was a liberal invention. So was communism.

Today, we are far away from the classical definitions, IMO. Both sides are of the opinion that the other side is broken and only they know how to fix it. I see the "conservatives" of today acting just like the liberals above. They have some very strong ideas of how things should be, are willing to roll the dice to test the theory even if the downside risk is considerable and don't take the opinions of others with different views into consideration.


Yeah, you got it right about liberals not being too patient with people who disagree with them.

I think the classical definition of either side is long gone. I think we have the Internet, in part, to thank for that. I see Obama acting kind of conservative, lately, with his faith based intiative and MCain with an environmental policy.

Although, fundamentally, and here is the catch-- being a conservative means certain issues (if you want to get to be president) you are against--abortion, stem cell research, gay marriage, etc. In the olden days Republicans calling card was fiscal resposibility-- in other words, less taxes, smaller government, etc. Now that's turned upside down, we're getting our keisters taxed to the heavens because of this wars, etc.
0 Replies
 
Gala
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Jul, 2008 12:44 pm
dyslexia wrote:
"liberalism" is like the North Star, it's not a destination, it's a direction.


Can you try a little harder than that? This is a bit too corny. And, you could say the same thing about the conservatives, as well.
0 Replies
 
kuvasz
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Jul, 2008 01:56 pm
Gala wrote:
dyslexia wrote:
"liberalism" is like the North Star, it's not a destination, it's a direction.


Can you try a little harder than that? This is a bit too corny. And, you could say the same thing about the conservatives, as well.


Patience for one who fails to exhibit it?

Oh well, shall one attempt again, a metaphor?

Lets try "its not the destination but the journey" or "its not the life but the living that counts."

Or more bluntly, "its not enough simply to give the correct answer, you have to show the mental calculations about how you got there."

Because each of these items illustrated as right wing concerns, viz.,
Quote:
abortion, stem cell research, gay marriage


do not contain a systematic philosophical basis that can be debated, extrapolated, or interpolated for consistent intellectual rigor by the Right in other cases. Instead the positions held are based entirely upon an authoritarian perspective and cannot be debated logically.

One can be "against" abortion (as I am), but to state so simply because God condemns it shows a paucity of intellect. To be against stem cell research, again because it would result in abortions shows a lack of understanding the scientific background on the subject. To be against gay marriage because the Bible says so indicates the Sophist-like selectivity of the Holy text, and one which rightfully is scorned by thinking people.

In dealing with the Right, even the most articulate, and reading their most well written essays on conservative philosophy and goals, I'm constantly impressed with their lack of substance. They seem to be without principles, calling what guides them a philosophy seems to be giving them far more distinction than they deserve. Rather their thought seems to be nothing more than crumbs and shards raked together from various sources-- Hobbes, Locke, Smith (invisible hand leading towards utopia), Marx (economic determinism), Freud, where they get their constant urge to play on middle class fear, and numerous others -- and shaped together into a formless mass which they mold to the desired situation. There is no philosophical system on the Right, rather only cynical opportunism mascarading as coherent thought, a fig leaf of virtue to hide their whoring ways.

I have no respect for them because they have no sense of shame. They are more akin to the Bolsheviks of Russia than to anything American. For them everything comes down to attaining and retaining power and cashing in, nothing more.

It is not that the Right, or "conservativism" is a dirty word, rather that it exemplifies a position of holding no overarching coherent philosophy, except pure, unbridled greed.

And if you think I cannot back up my beliefs with objective facts, consider the following:

Quote:
Enron And the Gramms

By BOB HERBERT
The New York Times
Published: January 17, 2002

When Senator Phil Gramm and his wife Wendy danced, it was most often to Enron's tune.

Mr. Gramm, a Texas Republican, is one of the top recipients of Enron largess in the Senate. And he is a demon for deregulation. In December 2000 Mr. Gramm was one of the ringleaders who engineered the stealthlike approval of a bill that exempted energy commodity trading from government regulation and public disclosure. It was a gift tied with a bright ribbon for Enron.

Wendy Gramm has been influential in her own right. She, too, is a demon for deregulation. She headed the presidential Task Force on Regulatory Relief in the Reagan administration. And she was chairwoman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission from 1988 until 1993.

In her final days with the commission she helped push through a ruling that exempted many energy futures contracts from regulation, a move that had been sought by Enron. Five weeks later, after resigning from the commission, Wendy Gramm was appointed to Enron's board of directors.

According to a report by Public Citizen, a watchdog group in Washington, ''Enron paid her between $915,000 and $1.85 million in salary, attendance fees, stock options and dividends from 1993 to 2001.''


http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A01E0D81038F934A25752C0A9649C8B63
0 Replies
 
okie
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Jul, 2008 02:38 pm
kuvasz wrote:
[It is not that the Right, or "conservativism" is a dirty word, rather that it exemplifies a position of holding no overarching coherent philosophy, except pure, unbridled greed.

Can you describe "greed" as you understand it?
0 Replies
 
kuvasz
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Jul, 2008 03:40 pm
okie wrote:
kuvasz wrote:
[It is not that the Right, or "conservativism" is a dirty word, rather that it exemplifies a position of holding no overarching coherent philosophy, except pure, unbridled greed.

Can you describe "greed" as you understand it?


Well son, my understanding of the meaning of greed, as well of its reprobation is the same one used throughout the entirety of Western civilization since Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, viz., greed is by definition excessive desire for money or possessions.

Virtue is a principle of temperance and moderation, which achieves a middle ground or mean between the vice of excess and the vice of deficiency of a moral quality. So, as bravery as a moral virtue achieves a mean between recklessness and cowardice, generosity as a moral virtue achieves a mean between wastefulness and greed.

And if you don't like Aristotle, the same admonishment against the aforementioned definition of greed is also presented by Jesus Christ and the Buddha.
0 Replies
 
mysteryman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Jul, 2008 03:53 pm
Gala said...

Quote:
Although, fundamentally, and here is the catch-- being a conservative means certain issues (if you want to get to be president) you are against--abortion, stem cell research, gay marriage, etc. In the olden days Republicans calling card was fiscal resposibility-- in other words, less taxes, smaller government, etc. Now that's turned upside down, we're getting our keisters taxed to the heavens because of this wars, etc.


As a conservative, I have to say you are wrong about this.

I dont know any true conservatives that are against anything you just mentioned...abortion, stem cell research, gay marriage, etc...

What true conservatives are against is the fact that the govt has decided that we have to support it.
None of the things you mentioned are bad, but those are all things that should be out of the govts control.
Abortion is a matter that should be left up to the individual states to decide, as is gay marriage.
Stem cell research is better left up to scientists and private research,not the govt.

The difference between most of the politicians that call themselves conservatives today and true conservatives is simple.
A true conservative believes that the Constitution means exactly what it says and should not be read any other way then how it is written.

As a conservative, I want the govt to be large enough to do ONLY what the Constitution says it can do, and I want it to be small enough that it has zero control over a private citizens everyday life.

IMHO, Bush and the current admin are not by any stretch of the word conservative, no matter what they want you to believe.
0 Replies
 
okie
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Jul, 2008 04:37 pm
kuvasz wrote:
okie wrote:
kuvasz wrote:
[It is not that the Right, or "conservativism" is a dirty word, rather that it exemplifies a position of holding no overarching coherent philosophy, except pure, unbridled greed.

Can you describe "greed" as you understand it?


Well son, my understanding of the meaning of greed, as well of its reprobation is the same one used throughout the entirety of Western civilization since Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, viz., greed is by definition excessive desire for money or possessions.

Virtue is a principle of temperance and moderation, which achieves a middle ground or mean between the vice of excess and the vice of deficiency of a moral quality. So, as bravery as a moral virtue achieves a mean between recklessness and cowardice, generosity as a moral virtue achieves a mean between wastefulness and greed.

And if you don't like Aristotle, the same admonishment against the aforementioned definition of greed is also presented by Jesus Christ and the Buddha.

I'm not your son, to start with.
Excessive desire for money or possessions, okay, but I would expand on the definition by saying it is an excessive desire to acquire or possess more than what one needs or deserves.

So if you desire what you need but if you don't deserve it, that is also greed.
0 Replies
 
Diest TKO
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Jul, 2008 06:08 pm
Who decides what someone deserves okie?

I think that you have mischaracterized the left. If someone earns a modest wage, I don't think they should have an above modest lifestyle. I do think however that they need a roof over their head and food no matter what they deserve.

The notion that I've heard introduced lately here of class-envy (or something to that tune) is a interesting notion, but you extrapolate to much from simple observation.

Liberals don't think that a lower class person should live as a middle class, and a middle class should live as a upper class, etc. I think liberals believe that every class should be sustainable and (with effort) upgradeable.

I feel that the conservative vision of what an American should do to achieve success is based of non-uniform situations, which the conservative does not address. Any attempt to address this by liberals is simply dismissed as "a handout." The idea that everyone can achieve success via conservative principles is far too idealistic.

I see conservative stances on topics like abortion, and I'm left wondering what world they think they live in? In terms of what is practical and dealing with an uncomfortable reality, many conservatives would rather stick their head in the ground... or rather, their bible.

Note: MM, I'll leave you to debate with the conservatives on this topic, because despite your claim, their is no shortage of people who call themselves "true conservatives" ready to expand government on this issue and related issues.

If anything is shocking to me about okie's thoughts on liberals, it's that they have and over-idealistic view of mankind's good nature, AND that they are somehow bitter. The two ideas are really in conflict, and perhaps more relevant, I think very unrelated to liberal views all together.

If liberal views are in anyway forged by assumptions about mankind, I'd say it's the opposite of how okie claims. I think liberals cannot avoid the reality of greedy men and women.

Perhaps a moment to make an aside. I honestly believe that both left and right get bamboozled by a third group, who care for nothing but themselves. They exploit both groups in different ways, IMO. But that can be saved for another time.

I see modern liberal philosophy about dealing with the world we currently live in. Not the past. For their ideas on the future, some work, some don't. I'm fine with that, and I accept it going in. I think it's dishonest how conservatives frame their views as being a sure thing.

Free market is a great idea, and we use many parts of the idea, and we benefit greatly from it, but it's not perfect. It exists on a paying field which has never existed, and I don't expect ever will. Conservatives claiming else wise are being over idealistic IMO.

Having a tax system which favors the wealthy, doesn't work.

The trickle-down effect, doesn't work.

... at least in the world we live in. And that's my point for now: The world the conservative lives their mind in, is not the same one we walk.

T
K
O
0 Replies
 
kuvasz
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Jul, 2008 07:34 pm
okie wrote:
kuvasz wrote:
okie wrote:
kuvasz wrote:
[It is not that the Right, or "conservativism" is a dirty word, rather that it exemplifies a position of holding no overarching coherent philosophy, except pure, unbridled greed.

Can you describe "greed" as you understand it?


Well son, my understanding of the meaning of greed, as well of its reprobation is the same one used throughout the entirety of Western civilization since Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, viz., greed is by definition excessive desire for money or possessions.

Virtue is a principle of temperance and moderation, which achieves a middle ground or mean between the vice of excess and the vice of deficiency of a moral quality. So, as bravery as a moral virtue achieves a mean between recklessness and cowardice, generosity as a moral virtue achieves a mean between wastefulness and greed.

And if you don't like Aristotle, the same admonishment against the aforementioned definition of greed is also presented by Jesus Christ and the Buddha.

I'm not your son, to start with.

Were you my son I would order DNA testing, immediately.

Excessive desire for money or possessions, okay, but I would expand on the definition by saying it is an excessive desire to acquire or possess more than what one needs or deserves.

So if you desire what you need but if you don't deserve it, that is also greed.

No, that is called being lazy, and being lazy means that one is acting unfairly and shirking responsibility. It has nothing to do with excess except of an excess of rest.

According to Aristotle, the moral virtues include: courage, temperance, self-discipline, moderation, modesty, humility, generosity, friendliness, truthfulness, honesty, justice.

The moral vices include: cowardice, self-indulgence, recklessness, wastefulness, greed, vanity, untruthfulness, dishonesty, injustice. Acts of virtue bring honor to an individual, acts of vice bring dishonor to an individual.

Justice as a moral virtue includes lawfulness (universal justice) and fairness (particular justice). Injustice as a moral vice includes unlawfulness and unfairness.

Fairness requires that the privileges and responsibilities of persons in a given situation be distributed proportionally and equally (distributive justice). Fairness also requires that an unfair inequality or disproportion in the privileges and responsibilities of persons in a given situation be rectified (rectificatory justice).

Rectificatory justice may restore equality, or it can reallocate privileges and responsibilities to persons in a given situation, or may prescribe some form of penalty for persons who have been unjust, or may award some form of compensation to those persons who have been treated unfairly.

It is possible to learn about today even from men who died 2,400 years ago
.
0 Replies
 
mysteryman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Jul, 2008 07:36 pm
Diest TKO wrote:
Who decides what someone deserves okie?

T
K
O


Many on the left say that CEO's dont deserve what they get paid, or that they dont deserve the fringe benefits they get.

Isnt that deciding who deserves what?
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Jul, 2008 08:00 pm
mysteryman wrote:


As a conservative, I have to say you are wrong about this.

I dont know any true conservatives that are against anything you just mentioned...abortion, stem cell research, gay marriage, etc...

[cough choke cough cough, choke ...]

What true conservatives are against is the fact that the govt has decided that we have to support it.
None of the things you mentioned are bad, but those are all things that should be out of the govts control.
Abortion is a matter that should be left up to the individual states to decide, as is gay marriage.
Stem cell research is better left up to scientists and private research,not the govt.

These things should be taken out of government control and be given to the state government to control.

These are precisely the kinds of geniuses that republicans elect to high office.


A true conservative believes that the Constitution means exactly what it says and should not be read any other way then how it is written.

You've been warned about not commenting on something that you know less than zero about. Why do you persist in embarrassing yourself, MM?

0 Replies
 
mysteryman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Jul, 2008 08:06 pm
JTT wrote:
mysteryman wrote:


As a conservative, I have to say you are wrong about this.

I dont know any true conservatives that are against anything you just mentioned...abortion, stem cell research, gay marriage, etc...

[cough choke cough cough, choke ...]

What true conservatives are against is the fact that the govt has decided that we have to support it.
None of the things you mentioned are bad, but those are all things that should be out of the govts control.
Abortion is a matter that should be left up to the individual states to decide, as is gay marriage.
Stem cell research is better left up to scientists and private research,not the govt.

These things should be taken out of government control and be given to the state government to control.

These are precisely the kinds of geniuses that republicans elect to high office.


Yup, It should be up to the voters of each state to decide what kind of abortion laws, gay marriage laws, etc. that they have in each state.
The Constitution does not give to Federal govt authority to decide any of these things.


A true conservative believes that the Constitution means exactly what it says and should not be read any other way then how it is written.

You've been warned about not commenting on something that you know less than zero about. Why do you persist in embarrassing yourself, MM?

So you think the Constitution should be interpreted to suit the situation, instead of how it is written?
And instead of trying to reasonally present your arguments, you resort to insults.
That shows that you have no reasonable arguments.


0 Replies
 
cjhsa
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Jul, 2008 08:06 pm
dyslexia wrote:
"liberalism" is like the North Star, it's not a destination, it's a direction.


Just keep following that star. When you see the glint of the rifle barrel in the moonlight, you've infringed on my sacred hunting grounds.
0 Replies
 
 

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