RETROGRESSIVE CIVILISATION AND EXTREME LEFT POLICIES, DIVORCE INEQUALITIES/FUTURE GENERATION. (KD)


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What of the nine innocent civilians who were killed in Maseru while they were at a party, and I just want it contextualised and I want his name not to be forgotten among others. You may or may not know that the Quinn family gave evidence before us in Durban and some of the perpetrators involved in that killing have applied for amnesty, the bitter irony is that they all received medals after that event and Zondo was sentenced to death. I just thought I would mention that. MS SOOKA : Paula, you use the words "you want the judges called to account", I was just wandering exactly what you meant by that if you could just unpack that please?

That is all I am saying, so I am on a vengeful mission. Thank you very, very much Paula. We are most grateful. I think we should take a break and consider all these opinions that have been thrown at us and we will get back at 2. NADEL wishes to express his sincere gratitude to the Commission for having it being present at this what is certainly a historic occasion. It is historic in many senses, Mr Chairperson, but unfortunately it is also historic in the default of our Judiciary to be here today and together with everybody else, Honourable Chairperson, we would certainly like to see the Judiciary here so that they themselves are not judged in default.

The submission has been broken up into four areas and my colleagues will assist us in making the submission and Honourable Chairperson, if you will allow us we will proceed through the documents at great speed. At the outset for those who have our document, we wish to just place on record our dedication of this submission to all activist lawyers who were in advice offices in the courts, in community organisations, in exile, in research and in the teaching of law contributed selflessly to the struggle against apartheid.

Honourable Chairperson, the TRC has provided judges and lawyers with the unique opportunity to reflect introspectively and publicly on their role and that of the legal system in the commission of violation of human rights under apartheid. This historical moment requires lawyers and judges to take up the challenge of explaining to the victims, survivors, the nation and indeed the international community why whether wittingly or not deliberately or in protest, in silence or in clamour they allowed themselves to be used by the apartheid state in the furtherance of its perverse ideology, in the violation of the most fundamental rights of humanity and in the most vicious and violent subjugation of the majority of the people of South Africa.

In doing so Honourable Chair, we hope to contribute to some measure to your mandate in terms of the Act and more importantly to assist, albeit modestly, in laying the foundation for a true and lasting reconciliation in healing that our country so desperately needs and demands from all of us. The political context of the Commission, the constitutional rights, values and the mechanisms of the Human Rights Commission, the Public Protector, the Gender Commission, the Youth Commission and the Land Restitution Commission, was important in our acceptance of the amnesty measure.

The real success Honourable Chair of this Commission is therefore inextricably linked with and dependent on the effectiveness and the success of each of these institutions and more importantly on the extent to which social economic conditions of the majority of people of South Africa are properly addressed. In this regard we note with concern the lack of adequate delivery by the government in its programmes to address economic and social needs of impoverished South Africans. Besides the political considerations for amnesty the capacity and willingness of the prosecuting authorities to bring to justice the perpetrators on gross human rights violations and other abuses were simply not convincing.

That the victims and survivors of these violations might have to undergo further trauma as complainants in the criminal process without the real possibility of the perpetrators being convicted further persuaded us on the expediency, by the expediency of the amnesty measure. We are mindful though of the serious limitations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. There are lawyers and activists committed to human rights, our dilemmas with regard to the amnesty process remained.

We refer more appropriately to the submission made this morning by Prof Hinds in which he sets out the various concerns at international law and the extent to which our amnesty process meets our international obligations. Also Honourable Chair, in accordance with our international obligations together with the International Association of Democratic Lawyers we have collaborated in an international monitoring project of your Commission which we hope will provide a critical window to the TRC and which will also at the end of your deliberations also produce an independent report.

Honourable Chair we then make a submission with regard to the contextual examination of the legal system. The conquest of Africa brought about a systematic framework of laws that denied the indigenous people the most fundamental of rights. The repressive regime of laws and policies legitimised the pillage of natural resources such as land, gold and diamonds and paternalistically eroded existing customary laws, values and practices.

In this context the ideological framework of apartheid and its legal system was part of a continuum of the early policies and laws of human servitude and subjugation. The law of 19 th and 20 th century South Africa favoured the property and employing classes. These and other issues expressed in statute form an asymmetrical property and power relation one might sum up as and I quote "I am your owner, you are the tenant, he is a squatter".

We then submit Honourable Chair, the international context and we will not repeat it because of the time, we will say in concluding the introductory piece, the challenge facing your Commission is considerable, as elusive as the truth was in many respects under the apartheid justice system so too will the Commission be confronted with many different forms than versions of truth.

Justice, true and simple will in all likelihood not be achieved for the victims and survivors of apartheid. Reconciliation remains the greatest challenge. It cannot simply be legislated or prescribed from above, nor will it be achieved by mere apologies and contrite hearts. The Commission however holds out the desperate opportunity to create at the very least an environment in which the reconciliation of society can begin to take place.

Honourable Chair, to then deal with the substantive part of the submission, my colleague Mr Hussein will talk to us about the legal response to legislative and executive actions assisted by Michelle Norton. I hand over to Zanade. Firstly, on page 3, Mr Chairperson, we deal with the legislative framework and executive implementation around the construction and maintenance of apartheid. We have listed all of the Acts and their consequences on page 3. Under the Pass laws which were repealed only in an estimated 12 million blacks were arrested between and By the end of only approximately white families had been moved from their homes and resettled in group areas compared with 58 coloured families and 30 Indian families.

An estimated 3. The contribution in response of lawyers - Mr Chair, when we look at this I think the context is properly provided by having regard to what Sir Seedat Ramphal, QC the former Secretary General of the Commonwealth remarked, and this is not in your submission. He said -. We simply cannot opt out making a sterile professionalism a masquerade for inertia". The fact that such political authority was constituted in an illegitimate, undemocratic and racist manner made no difference to their beliefs.

And Mr Chair, this is an important issue, this question of positivism. So to argue as the positivists do, that we were simply there to apply the law is taking cosy refuge in this positivism and I submit a refuge which they are not entitled to and this will underpin a lot of our submissions to come. The development and practice of law in South Africa occurred in a dichotomous way, laws which denied the majority of the people basic human rights, which demonised communities and which were the mortar and brick of one of the most repressive systems witnessed in modern times were by and large not attacked with the necessary vigour by South African lawyers.

On the other hand South African lawyers excelled in the formulation and application of other branches of the law which did not have a direct bearing on human rights such as Company Law, delict, the Law of Contracts, Property Law etc. They argued that they were professionals who were there to apply the law, they were not there to challenge the laws that were made. An excuse was found for their inertia in sterile professionalism as Sir Ramphal puts it, worse still, as we will indicate in the course of our submission, there was a significant number which went beyond giving a spurious air of respectability to the South African legal system by actively defending it even in its most inhumane manifestations to the hilt.

Relatively few lawyers made themselves available to represent or advise the victims of state action. The need for legal assistance at the time was enormous. I quote:. Weekly we interviewed the delegations of grizzled weather-worn peasants from the countryside who came to tell us how many generations their families had worked a little piece of land from which they were now being ejected.

Our buff office files carried thousands of similar stories from the towns and if and when we started our law partnership, we had not been rebels against South African apartheid, our experiences in our offices would have remedied the deficiency. The consequences of this neglect by lawyers of their obligations were far-reaching. John Jackson has observed -. Unfortunately very few would agree to represent a black in these Courts especially since there is little chance of being paid. Most attorneys are far happier pretending that such courts and such proceedings do not exist.

We quote further on in that submission also from John Jackson which I will omit - the centrality of legal measures meant that lawyers, prosecutors, magistrates and judges were key role players in the apartheid system. Millions of individuals criminally prosecuted for contravention of apartheid laws came before the courts. Countless victims of government action under these laws sought the protection of the courts, to little avail. Magistrates in particular performed a range of functions in both their administrative and their judicial capacities.

When one looks at judicial decisions, judges were inevitably called upon to review actions and decisions taken under the aforementioned legislation. In their review of the executive implementation of the apartheid project, the record of our Supreme Court judges leaves a great deal to be desired. Although the reservation of separate tables had not been effected in accordance with the Separate Amenities Act the court was prepared to assess the "reasonableness" of that reservation in the light of the import and ethos of that legislation.

The fact, said the Chief Justice, that such action could have been taken is not entirely irrelevant. The case of Lock-out was an early landmark on the road of judicial acquiescence in the apartheid experiment. Validating a proclamation which divided the City of Durban into group areas, allocating the best areas to whites and leaving relocated Indians without suitable accommodation in the interim, the highest court took a wholly uncritical approach of the legislation which was to cause untold suffering for decades.

Despite the absence of express authority in the Act, despite government assurances to parliament in introducing the legislation that it was not intended to apply unequally and in spite of the legally supportable alternative approach found in the judgment of the court a quo, the court including the Chief Justice, Steyn C J and Ogilvy Thompson JA who succeeded him took the view, and this is important to note, Mr Chairperson. It necessarily involves the movement out of group areas of numbers of people throughout the country. Parliament must have envisaged that compulsory shifts of persons occupying certain areas would inevitably cause disruption and within the foreseeable future substantial inequalities.

Whether all of this will prove to be for common wheel of all of the inhabitants is not for the court to decide a la positivism. The question before this Court is the purely legal one whether this piece of legislation impliedly authorises towards the attainment of its goal the more immediate and foreseeable discriminatory results complained of in this case, in my view for the reason given, it manifestly does. The legacy of this decision it has been observed was two and half decades of dereliction of duty and we refer to what Prof Dyzenhaus said earlier this morning about dereliction of duty by the Courts which have invariably relied on the Lock-out case to reject challenges based on the unreasonable exercise of powers under the act or the absence of alternative accommodation.

As in Lock-out there was no indication in these judgments that judges felt compelled against their inclination to sanction apartheid policy. We then go on to quote another Appellate Division case which confirmed Lock-out. So therefore, Mr Chairperson, there was in fact room for manoeuvre for judges within that repressive legislation, and depending on the commitments or otherwise of those judges they either found room to manoeuvre for the sake of Human Rights or found no room to manoeuvre.

I am running out of time so I will not quote that. We deal thereafter with the Magopa case. This was a case where the Appellate Division afforded the greatest protection possible against drastic executive powers of removal, but unfortunately without any consequent relief for the Bakwena people who had vacated the land after the failure of their urgent application to the Supreme Court for an interdict restraining their threatened removal. The matter turned on the interpretation of the provision of the Black Administration Act in terms of which the removal order was issued.

In particular the form of parliamentary resolution required to authorise a withdrawal of a community. Adopting an interpretation which offered the least available protection to a community under threat of removal in line with the decision almost ten years earlier of Seyawula, Van Dyk J dismissed the application in the Supreme Court and refused the applicant leave to appeal against his decision. The Bakwena tribe pursued their final legal option petitioning the Chief Justice for leave to appeal.

Whilst their petition was pending the Bakwena people were removed at gun-point from their land. Leave to appeal was granted three months later. By the time they had succeeded in their appeal the court effectively finding the removal ought to have been invalid and concluding the court should have granted them interim relief the land had been expropriated by the State. The Magopa case is one of the countless instances in which judicial restraint of executive powers was defeated by executive action or by immediate statutory changes to close the gaps in the law.

But also forcefully illustrated in this case is the judicial choice available in the interpretation of oppressive legislative provisions.

The Appeal Court supported the interpretation which had been rejected with tragic consequences for thousands of people in two previous cases in the Supreme Court. The observations made here by the role of the lawyers were even more strongly demonstrated in relation to the implementation of the security system which the State put into place which was designed to overcome resistance to the apartheid government.

For the victims of this system legal relief was far more elusive with judges far less inclined to restrain an all powerful security machinery. Mr Chairperson, my colleague, Miss Michelle Norton will deal with the maintenance of state security and the legislative frameworks surrounding it. In this part of our submission we are going to look at the role of lawyers in respect of legislative and executive action taken to suppress political resistance.

During the decades of National Party rule the executive authorities acquired increasingly broad statutory powers to restrain opponents of the government. Judges on occasions contributed substantially to legislative measures by their recommendations which they made as members of Commissions of Inquiry. The Internal Security Act which sanctioned and consolidated existing security measures was the product of a commission headed by Appeal Court Judge Rabie.

The government focused heavily on the judges role in its efforts to legitimise the legislation. The Minister of Law and Order described the Bill as a culmination of a thorough investigation by an independent Commission of Inquiry which emphasised the necessity for the measures contained in this Bill. Mr Justice Snyman, who chaired the Commission of Inquiry into the events of the Paarl uprising in November went far beyond his terms of reference to recommend a range of special procedural provisions to deal with the PAC.

His recommendations, which are detailed in our written submission, show the judge in the role of an enthusiastic partner to government in conceiving and crafting security legislation which deviated from common law. The response of lawyers and legal academics to these legislative developments was on the whole deplorable.

The structures representing the organised legal profession generally failed to condemn or even to criticise the increasing inroads into the rule of law. Professional protest, where it did take place, was made by individual structures of the attorneys and advocates profession. When advocates condemned in August the indemnity and ouster provision in the emergency regulations this was done in the name of several individual bar structures.

We trust that the Commission will hear from the GCB the rationale behind its decision to engage in protest behind closed doors. In the Chairperson of the GCB indicated that the organisation had at times made carefully documented and justified protests but without publicity. In the case of the Terrorism Act he said "we put many of our misgivings to the Minister and to other government bodies which may not be mentioned.

The repeated failure of professional structures to take a unified public position on human rights violations suggests an absence of fundamental values which they were bound to uphold, defend and promote. In the late Barend van Niekerk warned lawyers that by remaining silent at the helm of their clinking cash registers they were not only perpetuating injustices but were also lending them the aura of respectability.

This is an exceptional comment, Chairperson, from a legal academic at this time. Turning to executive action, it is clear that extensive use was made by the security apparatus of the statutory powers provided. In the period that we have been looking at thousands of individuals were subjected to banning orders, tens of thousands It is extremely important then to consider what protection or recourse our legal system offered to the victims of these violations. The courts, with a few distinctive exceptions, failed to use the power which they had to check the authorities and ameliorate the effects of this repressive legislation.

Judges failed to circumscribe the subjective discretion of officials in their decisions to ban, to restrict and to detain individuals. In their own proceedings they took a passive and uncritical approach to statutory intrusions on the normal criminal process. The courts imposed very few constraints on officials exercising the power to effect detention.

When the conditions in which detainees were held came under judicial scrutiny the conditions imposed by the authorities were general upheld denying detainees their most fundamental rights. In addition the Courts took a very narrow view of their own power to investigate allegations of abuse in detention. The record of judicial review of executive action is disappointing for decisions consistently favouring the executive. But what is most remarkable in these cases is the absence of any judicial condemnation of the laws in question.

Judges have answered criticism of their role by pointing to a powerlessness in the face of repressive laws. Where then is the articulation in their judgments of the constraints under which they were operating and the regret with which they facilitated governmental policy?

In an area where judges had much greater discretion, namely the assessment of evidence obtained in detention, they missed a significant opportunity to check police abuses. In the case of Gwala the Court accepted the evidence of a detainee who had been solitary confinement for over days. The Courts ignored expert scientific evidence of the mental and psychological effects of solitary confinement and their evidential implications. Trial judges had a large measure of latitude in assessing the credibility of witness and determining what was reliable evidence.

Judges in political trials were exposed to detailed accounts by accused persons and witnesses of abuses suffered in detention. Faced with conflicting versions of what had happened in the secrecy of interrogation facilities judges in their overwhelming majority of cases rejected allegations of police abuses and admitted the evidence in question. As Minister Mac Maharaj pointed out in an article in the weekend newspapers -. In , two people died, by it was 19 and in Steve Biko became the 46 th person to die in detention.

Judges persistently rejected outright the allegations of detainees before them. It is difficult, given the context, to accept that judges exercised the caution which the law and the circumstances demanded of them in assessing evidence of what had happened in confinement. In the case of the late Linda Magali, already documented before this Commission, Mr Justice F Steyn found a confession to have been freely and voluntarily made despite compelling evidence, two broken front teeth, that the accused had been assaulted in detention.

He found that Lt. Struwig is physically and mentally a strong, impressive but peaceful person. As a witness he gave an impression of credibility and honesty. In my view it clashes with all reasonable probability that a man in his position and experience in the Special Branches of the Police would make use of physical force to intimidate a witness. In my opinion it is more probable that a group of young educated opponents of the existing order could conspire to testify that they were forced by mistreatment to such confessions. The unavoidable evidence of broken teeth undoubtedly made this conclusion inescapable.

Detainees whose bruises and lacerations had healed and detainees whose suffering was of a psychological nature had very little success in persuading the courts of their ill-treatment. The late Harry Gwala and his co-accused made consistent allegations of brutal and systematic assault and torture during their trial in Their allegations were particularly pertinent given the fact that their comrade and co-detainee Joseph Mdluli had died the day after they were all detained.

He found the various police offices to be mild- mannered, excellent witnesses, patently honest, completely reliable and trustworthy, a thorough gentleman and a gentle giant. The defendants on the other hand were hesitant and nervous and therefore untruthful, not a frank or satisfactory witness, a liar, thoroughly discredited and had deliberately fabricated evidence. Harry Gwala, though not obviously untruthful did not make a favourable impression and was simulating when he appeared to be overcome by emotion on describing his treatment in detention.

They called for safeguards to be implemented as a matter or urgency and argued that until these were in place, courts of law should disregard all detainee evidence. Mr Justice Friedman, of the Cape Provincial Division, is understood to have resigned from the Board of the Institute of Criminology in order not to be associated with the publication of the study. Even in finding evidence of barbaric ill-treatment in the Mogali case the Appellate Division failed to reprimand the police offices responsible or to condemn outright the abuse of detention. Visits by magistrates were one of the few statutory mechanisms of protection for detainees.

Magistrates were often the only persons outside the Security Branch authorised to visit and report on detainees. There is overwhelming evidence, however, that magistrates failed to provide any significant protection for detainees suffering abuse. Muller of the Johannesburg Security Branch testified at the Aggett inquest that he had never met a magistrate visiting a detainee on the 10 th Floor of John Vorster Square during the six years that he was stationed there. Where visits were compulsory, detainees have reported "superficial visits and interviews".

Indeed magistrates were often perceived to be hostile and as Michael Dingaki has expressed it, a detainee needed two things, guts to report in such an atmosphere and extreme optimism to expect the slightest good to come out of a complaint to a visiting magistrate. Detainee Billy Niye, who suffered a perforated eardrum and a damaged eye at the hands of Security police expressed his frustration in a statement to a magistrate who had visited him.

I requested that you bring this to the attention of a Judge and you said you were not in a position to do so. You said you could only report to the Director of Security Legislation. I find myself in a helpless position in the hands of the police. Given the closed system of magisterial visits, Chairperson, it is crucial that this Commission examine magistrates and the reports which they filed to determine how their duty was performed, how often reports of abuses were made and if they were, what action, if any, was taken by the authorities.

Also relevant is the role of the Supreme Court judges in respect of visits to detainees. Did judges take any steps to assert their right under the Prisons Act to visit any prisoner at any time? The legal system also failed in many ways to provide recourse or redress for victims of official abuse. There are very few examples of police officers being prosecuted for assaults on detainees, where statistics do exist they reveal a shockingly low percentage of prosecutions following detainee allegations of assault by police officers.

In the Magali case the Appellate Division found that the police officers had severely assaulted Linda Magali to compile a confession and named Sgt Mateo and Lt Struwig as the main perpetrators. The Attorney General failed to prosecute these or any other members of the force implicated in the assault.

Attorneys General also failed to prosecute a great proportion of the police officers implicated in the deaths of government opponents. Attorney General Niel Rossouw declined to prosecute any of the nine police officers who fired indiscriminately on Athlone youths in the Trojan Horse tragedy of His decision was made in the face of an inquest court finding that police officers were responsible for killing of three youths and that there was negligence on their part.

The record of Attorneys General raises serious questions about the proper exercise of their duties in a context where their action or inaction had strong implications for the way in which members of the police force used their wide powers. Where the law did take its course the outcome frequently perpetuated a sense of injustice.

The police officers found guilty of assaulting Billy Niye and injuring his eye and ear were fined R and R50 respectively. In those few instances where members of the Security branch were prosecuted following the deaths of activists, convictions were extremely uncommon. The inquest mechanism consistently failed to provide and objective determination of facts. There was little confidence in the capacity of magistrates as State officials to find the truth in cases where State officials were under suspicion.

The magistrate conducting the inquest into the death of Alphius Nkabinda at Mpofomeni in had in his executive capacity issued the permit for the Inkatha Rally that lead to the killings. Inquests into the death of government opponents have invariably been cursory, superficial and produced verdicts exonerating suspected of perpetrators. In the procedures they adopted in their neglect of evidence and in the impression of hurried conclusion, magistrates conducting inquests created a strong impression that discovery of the truth was subverted in the interest of protecting police.

We felt it important to highlight the Trojan Horse case because it represents in some respects a turning of the tables on the Security establishment and it shows how judges exercised their discretion when it was the Security Forces that had been on trial. The Commission is aware of and has heard evidence of the police operation on the 15 th October that subsequently gained notoriety as the Trojan Horse tragedy which had claimed the lives of Shaun Magmoet, then 16 years old, Michael Miranda, then 11 years old and Jonathan Claasen, then 18 years old. We want to say that this particular insert is dedicated to the memories of Shaun, Michael and Jonathan and other victims of violation of human rights by the police and Security Forces in particular.

It is dedicated to those like Shaun, Michael and Jonathan who were hardly adults, let alone activists and yet they had become targets of the Apartheid Regime. Also the absence of the rule of law had not merely failed citizens of the country but they permitted the grotesque Although the deaths resulting from the police brutality, evidenced by the Trojan Horse case may not be considered remarkable within the context of human rights violations that were pervading the country at that time, in and , but it is the nature of that operation that acquired new and sinister significance as a means of oppression.

The Apartheid Regime, despite arming itself with draconian security legislation an over-zealous police force and prosecuting authority, a compliant bench, we would submit, it was beginning to publicly engage in new guerrilla-type sting operations against the rebelling communities and in particular against the youth. For the convenience of the Commission we would just want to highlight the salient features of the planning and execution of the Trojan Horse operation and then perhaps proceed to make some comments on the exercise of the judicial discretion in the trial itself and the assumptions made by the trial judge.

The salient features of the Trojan Horse matter for those who do not know was as follows:. On the 15 th October in an attempt to quell burgeoning unrest in Athlone, a densely populated area in Cape Town, a railway delivery truck loaded with large wooden crates, and in which eight policemen armed with shotguns and side arms were concealed was sent on patrol.

To all outward appearances the vehicle was an ordinary delivery vehicle meant to elicit the attention of stone-throwers as a soft target. By virtue of the police on the vehicle being armed only with shotguns loaded with lethal triple A ammunition and side arms and no teargas or lighter crowd control birdshot, it was apparent that the intended response to any attack upon that truck was to be punitive and lethal.


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No warning shots had been fired and at the end of a continuous fusillade of shotgun fire, in an approximately degree radius lasting approximately 17 to 20 seconds, 39 rounds had been fired. As a result of that shooting Shaun Magmoed, Michael Miranda and Jonathan Claasen were killed, on the spot, and at least 15 other people were wounded. People were arrested at the scene by the police subsequently included some of those who were injured were subsequently prosecuted for public violence at a trial.

Ten more minutes. I think that the point being raised about judicial discretion is quite considerable. If I can then deal with the question of the judicial discretion subsequent to that, it is now trite that subsequent to that there was an inquest at which the magistrate found that the police were responsible and thereafter the Attorney General, despite compelling evidence that the policemen had acted unlawfully and excessively refused to prosecute the matter.

The trial judge in this particular case had made certain assumptions and findings and I will deal briefly with some of them. But to say that is a far cry from refuting the idea that monotheism shaped the scientific pursuit with its belief in the orderliness of the universe. Ultimately, the question is about where the weight of the evidence lies, not just whether there is evidence on both sides of these questions.

With respect to 2 , it is really hard for me to see how philosophers can continue to maintain this view. Marriage rates are down, suicide is up, people are addicted to every possibly addictive agent. This review is another hackneyed regurgitation of the lies told about the middle ages by liberal, communist, and other modernist historians.

Reason can be used to justify anything. Everything good about the Enlightenment was rooted in Christianity. Great observation. Thank you. Reason is Eurocentric and has been used to dominate other people, so we must go away from reason in a more subjective direction. Criticizing Enlightenment thought has become fashionable across the political spectrum.

For the past several decades, more and more academics have called reason into question, especially the sort of rationalist worldview that emerged in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. And started to think for themselves and stop worshiping the past. I personally think Christianity was incidental to the Enlightenment.

The nature of Western Europe, with its plethora of constantly warring states, divided by religion, politics, language, culture, the only common tongue Church Latin and that known but to a tiny minority, was what made the Enlightenment occur. There was no Enlightenment in Han China. No Enlightenment in the Muslim polities. Centralized tyrannies or would-be tyrannies all, even the tiniest of states. Any advancement in the human condition was opposed or suppressed for the sake of political or economic stability.

The idea that there was some great revolution in science is a lie by modernist historians. There was much moral and scientific progress in the middle ages. If anything, by introducing nationalism, democracy, and racism, the Enligthenment was a disaster. Atheists will always squirm when faced with this problem, because Hume was right.

It just means that human morality is rooted in human values and human nature. But the author was implying that, despite all these different values, we can somehow use reason to agree on a single morality. Does reasoning lead to forgiveness or mercy? Reason is critical to our functioning and flourishing but it is only an instrument. Atheists want to valorize human nature and believe that the extirpation of religious faith will unleash its best potential. The chances or likelihood that such a development would unleash our worst potential is ignored.

What else would it be rooted in? Religion can actually impede moral progress by sacralizing outdated answers to moral questions, e. I used to believe that maybe people can do the right thing by others without the threat of hell hanging over our heads. And moral relativism is a disaster. June, I have this debate with myself daily. Many have taken on the social justice warrior persona. On the other hand, our society has decided that virtue signaling is moral superiority of thought that seeks to control others with no consideration or fear.

They will lie cheat and steal while claiming their moral superiority. It boggles the mind. Sure, sure, it was all Greek Logic and Judaeo-Christian norms. I love how you have neglected to point out that the Ottoman Empire killed and enslaved lots of white, brown and black people. One of my favorite articles that sort of speaks to your limited view is by Christopher Hitchens concerning the Barbary pirates and Thomas Jefferson.

Fact — West slaughtered millions of white people in various European wars. Maybe, because war and death are universal and see no color. That is because colonization and are not uniquely western. They had been happening in the East for hundreds if not thousands of years before America even existed. Sure it was wrong, but you have to consider that it really is not even a western thing. Your sarcastic comment only highlights how uninformed you are about colonization and slavery. Shop around a bit. A giant kumbaya sing along, I suppose. You ever notice how these folks are fixated on colonisation and not on conquest?

The words conquest, conquer, defeat, and their synonyms remain absent from their grievances. Why is that? The author seems to think he is insightful by pointing out the flaws and compromises of Christian leadership, which is basically saying man is imperfect even when they are Christian. Wow — my eyes have been opened!!! The proper question to ask, which is what Shapiro does, is compared to what? The world is a big place, so what non-religious or non-Christian-Judeo group did a better job of minimizing the weaknesses and imperfections of man to move society forward in a more innovative, egalitarian, and prosperous manner?

What non-Western culture has led the way in arts and science, political freedom, human rights? It might be the only thing that gets people to think as they March us to their dystopian Utopia. Frankly, the guy gets on my last nerve. He also has more of a collectivist flair than I am willing to accept. I do enjoy Jordan Peterson because of his approach. I also enjoy his approach because his focus is on the individual not the collective.

Just so happened that most people in their contemporary societies were, or had to be. Atheism was not such a popular, or safe, frame of mind back in the day. SC — other groups have made occasional contributions, although in the case of the Chinese they were not very outgoing in popularizing them outside China. Olson- I absolutely agree that reward and punishment are required. But I find that to be a concept easily managed by reason.

I also absolutely agree that as religions go, the Judeo-Christian frame of mind is certainly more tolerant than some of the others, especially in modern times although back in the day, as you alluded to, sometimes not so much. In the Greek translation of the Bible the Kione Greek word for church is Ecclesia, which means assemblage or congregation. In other words the church is not the building or the religion. The fact that the assemblage or congregation or the leaders thereof could behave poorly does not invalidate the Logos The Word of God.

The fact judges and politicians have used the U. Constitution to justify sterilization of the mentally challenged, alien and sedition acts and racial segregation does not invalidate the Bill of Rights. It should not be surprising that people would mistranslate, misinterpret or abuse the Word of God to justify their own ends.

Conflating the misdeeds of supposedly religious people with the religion itself, is not Reason. The author is correct that Reason does not require faith. However that does not mean that faith can not and is not sometimes misplaced in Reason. Reason is an excellent way to approach challenges but Reason can often be utilitarian or rely on cost benefit analysis.

Such reasoning can be insufficient for moral dilemmas. Historically, Hinduism and Buddhism have been significantly more tolerant than Christianity. We should all hope that the same happens with Islam. What would faith based morality say? You would doom the indigenous people of many countries to a life expectancy in their twenties? A harsh life of hunter gathering, constant tribal warfare, which in my country at least resulted in the entire destruction of every child in the tribe and rape and enslavement of every woman? So you think that was great? So great indeed that instead that you are currently spending your days hunting naked with a spear, and when that fails finding enough grubs, ants, and lizards to keep you alive until tomorrow?

In my country, for many prominent , indigenous people the western world found their grandparents in the ss. They grew up convinced it was better.

The first time to have regular food for yourself and your children. For the first time the opportunity to spend their days in work that did not involve the risk of death for your self and your children. For the first time a sick child could be healed, rather than left behind, to die alone in the constant search for food.

For the first time their children actually had a childhood. They could play and go to the school rather than from babies spend their time constantly trying to find grubs and insects. Naturally, I would presuppose that faith based morality would chose self sacrifice. However that does not necessarily mean that Reason would reach the opposite conclusion. My questions would be does reliance on Reason absolve one from guilt, remorse, feelings of obligation? Does Reason have a conscious?


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Farris- I posed that question in that way cuz i have no idea what either answer would, or should, be. Given your answer, though, I would ask whether the default faith basis is to save the other person at expense of the self, without knowing anything else about either individual apart from the presumption that the driver is older than the pedestrian. Even more difficult for reason, because if only one of two can be saved, it would be a determination of relative value, which itself would have to factor in attained value as well as future potential, in all possible permutations.

As for whether reason absolves one of those things you listed, I would say it does for the programmer. We have quite a few Indian H1b people in our city. They assimilate well and my daughter has many such friends. As she was researching Indian culture from food to religion, she came across Sati. It absolutely blew her mind. We had many discussions about it. I used to think the left were feminists. But their embrace of Islam and chiding colonization that actually elevated the status of women in many underdeveloped countries, says different.

Possibly because many Indians — particularly those of us living in the West — have never heard of it before. Women across the word, eh? Okie dokie, name 20 countries across the six populated continents that did so in the absence of colonial regimes. For one, sati was a rare practice. On average, there were about satis annually during this period among a population of about 57 million. In the Madras Presidency, even fewer satis were recorded: a total of in the six years from to , an average of about 40 per year for a population of 15 million.

It was only after Indian and British reformers protested against the practice that the governor-general seriously considered banning it. Before doing so, however, he consulted Sanskrit scholars, local administrators and Indian soldiers, many of whom were indifferent to the practice because it was so uncommon, or because they came from areas where it was virtually nonexistent. This emboldened him to eventually ban it. A rather arbitrary target, perhaps intentionally so. Thailand was never colonized, and women gained the right to vote in They were among the first in Asia to have achieved this.

In Mongolia, which had never been colonized, women had equal legal rights. A brilliant, spirited defence of our civilisation that puts the accuser on the back foot. Ahistorical nonsense. Thailand has a life expectancy of Japan has a life expectancy of around In some cases, life expectancy went into reverse during imperialism.

By , three years after independence, it had risen to more than 35, but this was after Indians started to play an increasingly prominent role in their own governance. This rather abysmal track record is not particularly surprising, though: the British Empire spent meagre amounts of money, per capita, on health and indeed education, on which the British record is even worse, with only 12 percent of the population being literate by the end of British rule.

Economically, the picture is much the same. Per capita income growth in India was a miserly 0. The tegion now called India was dominated by another invading empire for years. What changed during that period? You have failed to respond to any of the points I made, and instead bring up a red herring, albeit a very common one. Yet, India is itself one of the most multicultural places on Earth, with hundreds of different languages and cultures.

Who is to say that those living in India today would not have been better off had it not been unified? In any case, since you brought it up, there were other periods in history where most of the Indian subcontinent was unified. Indeed, the Maurya Empire c. Finally, if the Maratha Empire — and not the East India Company — had come to rule India, it is not at all inconceivable that India would have been unified. If, in the second line of your comment, you are referring to the Mughal Empire, it did not exist for years though it is true that Muslims did rule substantial areas of India for around years.

I do not know why you think I would attempt to defend the Mughal Empire — like all empires, including the British Empire, it had its benefits and drawbacks, with the latter likely outweighing the former. Ex British colonies are some of the most rich and successful socities that have ever existed in human history. That now includes India.

I agree with this point — the British Empire was merely one of a long line of empires that existed on the Indian subcontinent, and like all of them came with its benefits and drawbacks. Nevertheless, the evidence suggests that the earlier that India had become a self-governing, democratic republic, the better off its people would have been.

This could have been achieved as early as the s, a mere decade or two after the Crown had wrested control of the subcontinent from the East India Company. The Mughal Empire would have declined and ended, with or without the British presence. And the fighting did continue, of course, because the British Empire dragged India into two of the bloodiest wars in history, which mainly involved Europeans slaughtering each other. Empire was and remains armed robbery.

They do it for the money. They were simply in need of better security arrangements moreover they were unlucky. If a colonised people have derived some secondary benefit from their colonisation, in spite of whatever murder, abject subjugation and cultural annihilation they have suffered, they could have enjoyed these same benefits via some more benign exchange that remains within the aspirational scope of human imagination.

Who said otherwise? India would no doubt have advanced on its own without Europe but at a slower pace. Even if this was more than a half-truth, it would still be a red herring. However, it is nothing more than a half-truth. For it was likewise the case that Europeans benefited tremendously from non-European inventions, ideas and practices, without which Europe and the entire world would have been set back many centuries.

All of these breakthroughs, and more, had not yet been achieved in Europe when, centuries later, the mathematicians of the Islamic world — Arabia and Persia — transmitted them into Europe along with the work of the Greeks, which they had likewise meticulously translated. The Islamic mathematicians then made substantial contributions of their own, particularly in the field of algebra a word which comes from the Arabic word al-jabr.

Similarly, in medicine and surgery, the Arabs and the Persians synthesized the work of the Greeks, the Indians who were the first to carry out cataract and plastic surgery and the Romans, and made significant contributions of their own. Experimentation — central to the scientific method — was introduced into Europe through the writings of al-Biruni and al-Haytham, two of the early pioneers of the practice.

The story of how inoculation — the principle underlying modern vaccination — was introduced on a widespread basis into Europe by Lady Mary Montagu, after having witnessed it on her travels to the Ottoman Empire, is yet another example of how the spread of ideas and practices does not require colonialism. It most likely originated independently centuries earlier in China and India, and was spread to the Islamic world and then Africa before making its way into Europe and the United States slaveholders in the United States independently came across it after hearing about it from slaves, who told of inoculation being practiced in West Africa.

We know that the Indian-controlled areas the so-called princely or native states were more economically innovative and dynamic than the British-controlled areas the first Tata steel plant, for example, was set up in Jamshedpur, an area outside British rule. We also know that they invested substantially more in public goods such as health and education than the British-controlled areas, and in some cases introduced free and universal education decades before the British-controlled areas.

It was only in , when Britain had ceded control of the education system to Indians, that legislation for compulsory, universal primary education was passed. And as soon as India became independent, spending on health and education was boosted substantially, and annual income per capita growth shot up. In my country the indigenous culture had not changed in 50 years, perhaps more. Their culture outlawed agriculture, which women and children who were the ones who suffered the most, did sometimes attempt, by encouraging the growth of native yams.

In fact the culture was against any change in the status quo. If the continent had not been discovered accidentally by Europeans ,mapped and settled by the British, when would the culture or their living standards rise? When would his life have improved ever wise? He would have been dead like his mother? Similar to Britain as well. Universal public education to age 10 was only introduced in The first census of India, in , suggests an adult literacy rate of 3.

Is twelve per cent not about four times better? Yet under its own enlightened governance, child labour still exists. India is sadly the home to the largest number of child labourers in the world. Heck, many people still prefer open-air defecation despite lavatories being built for them and education campaigns conducted. Universal compulsory primary education in India was resisted by the British for decades upon decades, despite the campaigns and protestations of Indian activists and politicians, from Jyotiba Phule onwards.

It was only from , when Indian ministers took charge of educational matters, that universal compulsory primary education was finally put into legislation in the British-ruled areas of India. And even then, actually enacting this legislation proved difficult and in many cases impossible, due to the British bureaucracy. This was, you will note, forty to fifty years after the Elementary Education Acts of , and in Britain.

Meanwhile, in the Indian-controlled princely native states, the promotion of education occurred much sooner. The state of Travancore announced a policy of free primary education as early as , and the state of Baroda was the first in India to introduce compulsory primary education in Per capita, these Indian-controlled areas spent twice as much on education as the British-controlled areas of India. At the time, even Brazil and Mexico were spending five times as much, per capita, on education than the British-controlled areas of India. The Indian-controlled areas, overall, allocated 10 percent of their budget to human capital; the British-controlled areas allocated only 4.

The picture on health was much the same, with the princely states investing more money into healthcare. Significantly driven downward by the low literacy rates of elderly people in India. The literacy rate of year olds in India is greater than 90 percent. Actually, it does. It mostly took a hands off approach. The first schools to get public financial support were exclusively Anglican ones. This caused a bit of upset amongst the other denominations in Australia, where Anglican schools were established by the locals in with Anglican vicars in the s.

Non-denominational truly publicly funded schools, called national schools were begun in the s — far earlier than England. The first colony to withdraw government funding to denominational schools was South Australia in In each of the Australian colonies, usually in the s, there were education acts passed locally that established public school systems.

The Act that came closest to establishing all three of these conditions at the same time was the Victorian Education Act of In other colonies and states the conditions that came to be seen as defining Australian systems of public education began as early as and concluded as late as This was the same in Canada, New Zealand, and other colonies. Where schools were started it was either organised by the locals or requirements for endowments attached to charters, where they existed. In , the imperial Parliament formally recognised their independence with the Colonial Clergy Act.

The first schools opened were CoE, and by Indian missionaries were being trained in Calcutta. Anglican schools were valued by the Indian elite. Universal education was established in Scotland by Scots far earlier. Until the creation of the welfare state, Parliament was notoriously skint. It was looking to earn. For much of their history UK colonies were not centrally managed by Whitehall. Until the telegraph the limitations of communications ensured that. And how thorough an instruction could be sent in ten words?

People in the colonies were expected to be far more self reliant and take initiative. The micromanaging, second guessing, and near instant information overload common today has altered our understanding of how it was really for much of history. In other words, Britain spent 18 times as much money per capita on education in other colonies than it did in India.

Again, this is because its officials explicitly stated that they only wished to educate a small class of Indians, so as not to disrupt the colonial system. Further to the above comment, as late as spending on education accounted for only 0. After independence, in , spending on education was increased to 1. The fact of the matter is that the British Empire never had a real nterest in educating the vast bulk of the Indian population — though gestures and largely symbolic moves were sometimes made.

They wanted to educate a small class of Indians; mass education would have undermined colonial rule. Parliament had little interest in spending money unless it was an emergency. Public education throughout the colonies was a mostly a local concern to be organised and funded. Worth remembering that the English are also a colonised people. And the dynasty that colonised them was more or less intact 6 or 7 hundred years later when they turned their gaze to more exotic prizes. An historically enduring and impressive crime syndicate. Much reduced now but by no means a spent force.

To non- Christian and classical Chinese. Not much heart based or inspired reason to be found in anything that Ben Shapiro says or promotes. Quite the opposite in fact. Fickle Pickle, Good job squeezing the Trump mention in there. But no Hitler? No Holocaust? You are capable of so much better. And if you throw in the Holocaust, that is the trump card see what I did there? Shapiro comes across as someone who is demonstrating the role of consciousness in the spinning of yarns to justify himself.

His core is built on identification with Judaism, and the rest of him is a frantic intellectual exercise in justification. He seems to have written a whole book by riding that wave. Christianity was unique in its universal call for charity, self-sacrifice, and love for your enemies. These were values not found in Hinduism or Taosim. Judaism encourages charity, but gentiles are only expected to follow Noachide laws. The idea of inherent human dignity, found in socialism, utilitarainism, liberalism etc. Science tells us nothing about morality. For science to be possible, you also need to assume objective truth in a world run according to understandable laws, one from Christianity.

When Europe was pagan, temple prostition, polygamy, lack of compassion for the poor, and murder of disabled infants were common. Christianity gave us western civilization. You got it. Mankind is imperfect and mankind ran the Church. A nun once posed this to me. Two men are together, one must live and one must die. There is no religion, no afterlife, no forgiveness, etc. Using reason alone, how do you decide to act.

In order to use reason, you must use assumptions. There is no guarantee that each will use the same assumptions nor reach the same conclusion. One may say I want to increase my wealth for my heirs and the other I need to provide for my young family. Who is to say what is good and which is not? This is morality based not on reason, but a faith in God. It defines a constant way of acting. I agree completely. All anyone has to do is to drive across all the nations founded historically on Christian beliefs.

The oldest and generally largest structure in every village, town and city in the West are Christian churches. The churches were the meeting places of the communities where they worshipped Christ and made plans for a better future. The founders of modern science were virtually all Christian. The advent of the hospital and the university are directly due to Christian evangelism; to love your neighbour as yourself and to love the Lord your God with all your mind. Even leading German Sociologist and Historian Jurgen Habermas who calls himself a methodological atheist, credits Christianity with the rise and development of the West.

Universalistic egalitarianism, from which sprang the ideals of freedom and a collective life in solidarity, the autonomous conduct of life and emancipation, the individual morality of conscience, human rights and democracy, is the direct legacy of the Judaic ethic of justice and the Christian ethic of love. This legacy, substantially unchanged, has been the object of a continual critical reappropriation and reinterpretation.

Up to this very day there is no alternative to it. Christianity, and nothing else, is the ultimate foundation of liberty, conscience, human rights, and democracy, the benchmarks of Western civilization. To this day, we have no other options. We continue to nourish ourselves from this source. Everything else is postmodern chatter. A reminder to the article author Jared Pollen and the rest of the people of the West.

Literally, charity is one of the three main pillars of Taoism. In the Hindu epic, the Mahabharata, there is a story about a half-golden mongoose who appears at a great sacrifice from the king Yuddhistira. The mongoose had turned half gold after witnessing a great act of kindness, where a starving family gave up what remained of its food, a handful of rice, to feed a guest. The Mahabharata also declares that the wisest man rejects duality, the difference between I and you, and recognizes that all creatures, from the lowliest rodent to the highest king, are the same and are therefore worthy of kindness and reverence.

This is even more expansive than the golden rule of Christianity, which only applies to people. There are also treatises in the Mahabharata that extol vegetarianism, because, as there is nothing a creature values more than its own life, there can be no greater sin than taking a life. Rather than just the dignity of man, we see here the dignity of all life. This is a problem with these discussions: we take the things we like about our belief system and assume that they are therefore unique.

Secondly, Roman Catholic Church as an institution would of course be fallible, open to political realities of the world and corruption. I believe in some cases Church can even act against Judeo-Christian values. And we are not even supposed to be judging Roman Catholic Church here, but how well, the moral and cultural framework it sought to instill in people worked for the West.

Thirdly, for centuries, the only people, who could read were priests. Monasteries were centers of learning. The Jesuits have founded education system, that produced Enlightenment. Most of the Western scientists have been christians. And the argument is that even non-religious have been shaped by Judeo-Christian morality framework in their modes of thinking. And sure, christian education was to make people think a certain way. I agree that Lucifer is the most human character in the work, but that is because we identify more easily with evil than we do with virtue. The whole point is that Satan is full of what we, in our better moments, recognize to be utter BS.

Unlike Mr. The capacity of evil to self-rationalize is basically infinite. A polemic thinly disguised as a book review. Articles like this often have a point, sometimes early on, where one gets the gist and should probably stop reading. Likewise if one rejects it. But I did read on. The almost blind faith in the future preached by so many atheists. FTA:The time may soon come when a more sophisticated neuroscience will render arguments of morality and free will effectively null. The reliance on reason to crush the idea of inherent morality and free will falls apart in my mind when you realize reason is usually an exercise in rationalization.

Where Pollen suggests that we blind ourselves with fiction is so narrow as to not understand that fiction is an amalgamation of facts distilled for clarity. Um, sorry to quibble on what might seem a minor point, but what about the Northern Song dynasty in China It was an enormous intellectual rebirth, fuelled in part by a massive increase in the availability of printed books, which led in turn to new methods of teaching and scholarship.

And many more people lived in China at that time than Europe in the Renaissance. Robespierre, one of the leading men of the Revolution, was a believer, at least certainly not an atheist. It seems to me that it is a current mistake to assume that the leaders of the French Revolution shared a common thinking, as it was, in some degree, with the Nazis or the Bolcheviks.

It is true that the Catholic Church suppressed the Copernican celestial model in favor of Aristotle. But, that is not the result of religion. It is the result of a large organization not wanting to admit that it was wrong… and the church inasmuch said so when they first came down on Galileo and his early telescope.

One can take religious persecution in another direction: the Industrial Revolution. To escape that persecution, the Dissenters moved north, in and around Glasgow, where they were to create both the industrial methods, and the steam engine to power the newly created industries. What a coincidence. I do agree that the principles behind them was a factor… principles that can be found outside of those religions.

An overall excellent review. If Shapiro attacks a Godless lack of morality All Greek, no Jerusalem I think Feyerabend would probably agree that the scientisim that that regime claimed would be little better. The Inquisition is responsible for the murder of several tens of thousands of people for several hundred years of its history. Communism killed more than million people over several decades of its history.

Superb review. As Pinker notes close to the beginning of the book, the tremendous progress that the world — not just the West — has made has been down to universal values, norms and principles that are knowable through reason. These have have been found in many different cultures throughout the ages. Religious pluralism and tolerance would have been found in Asia — particularly India — centuries before the secular age in Europe, which only arrived after religion had torn Europe apart on repeated occasions.

One should listen to and respect the doctrines professed by others. The King desires that all should be well-learned in the good doctrines of other religions. Mohism, an ancient Chinese school of thought emphasizing impartial benevolence and the importance of the general welfare of the population, was practiced thousands of years before the utilitarianism of Beccaria and Bentham. What all of these values, norms and principles have in common is the idea of impartiality, underpinned and informed by our ability to reason. They can be appreciated by anyone, at any time, in any place; they do not depend on where you were born, for example.

As humans, whether we acknowledge it or not, we are governed by the desire to flourish. Reason allows us to appreciate that, just as we wish to flourish, we should not deny that opportunity to others. From first principles. Christianity, of course, was steadfastly opposed to many of these changes. Excellent comment, Vidur. Thank you for your reply. I would disagree that Christianity was necessary for the development of the scientific method, for the principal reason that the scientific method originated in the Islamic world — in Arabia and Persia.

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RETROGRESSIVE CIVILISATION AND EXTREME LEFT POLICIES, DIVORCE INEQUALITIES/FUTURE GENERATION. (KD) RETROGRESSIVE CIVILISATION AND EXTREME LEFT POLICIES, DIVORCE INEQUALITIES/FUTURE GENERATION. (KD)
RETROGRESSIVE CIVILISATION AND EXTREME LEFT POLICIES, DIVORCE INEQUALITIES/FUTURE GENERATION. (KD) RETROGRESSIVE CIVILISATION AND EXTREME LEFT POLICIES, DIVORCE INEQUALITIES/FUTURE GENERATION. (KD)
RETROGRESSIVE CIVILISATION AND EXTREME LEFT POLICIES, DIVORCE INEQUALITIES/FUTURE GENERATION. (KD) RETROGRESSIVE CIVILISATION AND EXTREME LEFT POLICIES, DIVORCE INEQUALITIES/FUTURE GENERATION. (KD)
RETROGRESSIVE CIVILISATION AND EXTREME LEFT POLICIES, DIVORCE INEQUALITIES/FUTURE GENERATION. (KD) RETROGRESSIVE CIVILISATION AND EXTREME LEFT POLICIES, DIVORCE INEQUALITIES/FUTURE GENERATION. (KD)
RETROGRESSIVE CIVILISATION AND EXTREME LEFT POLICIES, DIVORCE INEQUALITIES/FUTURE GENERATION. (KD) RETROGRESSIVE CIVILISATION AND EXTREME LEFT POLICIES, DIVORCE INEQUALITIES/FUTURE GENERATION. (KD)
RETROGRESSIVE CIVILISATION AND EXTREME LEFT POLICIES, DIVORCE INEQUALITIES/FUTURE GENERATION. (KD) RETROGRESSIVE CIVILISATION AND EXTREME LEFT POLICIES, DIVORCE INEQUALITIES/FUTURE GENERATION. (KD)

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