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Friday, October 18, 2013

Lost in Translation, Right Might Not Mean Right

I have written before about how the left sees words as important and tries to redefine them in ways that benefit the left,
Words evolve. They take on new meaning over the years. Social and political movements appropriate certain words, redefine them, and then use them to shape the ideological battlefield. The classic example of that, of course, is "bolshevik" and "menshevik." The Bolsheviks were, in fact, the Mensheviks and vice-versa. The word bolshevik, derived from the word meaning "majority," was appropriated by the radicals who were in reality the minority of the old Social Democratic party. The minority labeled the majority the minority and got away with it. Clever. There are many other examples of this in history such as the insistence on calling nazis and fascists right-wing when they are clearly left-wing products.
The left is very good at this since, in most if not all of the West, the left controls not only academia, but the legal, press, entertainment and arts industries as well as governmental institutions where the words are crafted, recrafted, defined, redefined, and ruled in or out of fashion.

I thought of this, again, while reading an interesting post on Europe by Walter R. Mead at The American Interest. Worth the read. In it he describes many of the phenomena I have discussed several times before (here, here, and here, for example--there are many more) re the unfortunate effects of the Euro and the EU on European politics and standards of living. I am not going to go over all that again, and Mead does a good job of covering it.

I am more interested in what he reports about the European "right." He informs us that,
In France, the people I spoke with worried about the rise of the National Front. According to some polls the ultra-right could emerge as the biggest party in France in the next round of regional and European elections. The French Socialists under the increasingly unpopular President Hollande don’t seem to have much idea about how to move forward; their most popular politician at the moment is a Minister of the Interior who is trying to compete with the National Front for the anti-immigrant vote by breaking up encampments of Roma and denouncing them as immigrants who don’t want to assimilate.
And,
One of the reasons Europeans are so fearful of the Tea Party is that they assume that because it is right wing and populist it is like the National Front in France or Golden Dawn in Greece. Today’s small government American Tea Partiers are much farther from Huey Long and Father Coughlin in their political views than some European right wingers are from the darker demagogues of Europe’s bloody past, and until the European establishments understand this, they will likely continue to misjudge the state of American politics.
This is very similar to what I have found in my own trips to Europe, reading the European press, and just talking with my European relatives and friends. The standard accepted notion of the political "right" in Europe is nazism, fascism, and anything else that the ruling elite does not like.  In France, as I wrote before, Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Front (FN) mentioned above by Mead, is facing legal charges for having dared compare hordes of Muslims in the streets of France to hordes of Nazi occupiers. Here you have a political leader, who might be heading the biggest party in France, being labelled a far-right extremist because she makes disparaging comments about nazis and the flood of aliens swamping France's cities and society. The comfortable elites don't like Le Pen, so she gets labelled a far-right nut. If one bothers to read the platform of the FN, one won't find much there that meets the definition of "right." I have said the same, and repeat it now, about the EDL (English Defence League) in the UK, there, likewise, is not much about the EDL's platform that would qualify it as "right,"
Having read much of what the EDL has written and gone to its website, I am not clear what it is about their positions, remarkably well-written and thoughtful for a bunch of "football hooligans," that makes them far-right. I do not know what their economic policies are and what they think about socialized medicine and welfare payments or the size of government. The positions they take on defending England from Islamic extremism, however, seem very reasonable and something most Americans could support. I don't find them racist, at all. Again, I don't know them well, and might be embarrassed by some smoking gun firing "racist bullets," but I get suspicious when the media and the political establishment dismiss a grassroots movement as "far right extremists" and provide no evidence.
In Greece, we see the government elites trying to ban the Golden Dawn for being far-right fascist extremist--forgetting, of course, that fascism is a left wing pathology. Some of their positions are certainly not ones I agree with, and they fall outside of the mainstream of European elite political thought, but I get suspicious of efforts to ban "far right" groups and wonder what might really be behind it--probably not hard to guess.

The European press, when writing about American politics, routinely labels the Tea Party or even many GOP politicians as "extreme right" knowing that in their readers' minds that will conjure images of nazis and fascists. Both the European and the American elite media and politicos agree on depicting any organization that opposes rampant immigration as "far right." As with the label nazi or fascist, this is curious litmus test considering how it was, in the US anyhow, for years that the labor unions, including the one once run by the now sainted and late-Cesar Chavez, were rabidly anti-immigration. In addition, of course, Democratic-run labor unions in the USA were virulently anti-black.

The American right, especially as represented by the Tea Party/movement is, in fact, one that favors smaller government, lower taxes, less regulation, and more individual freedom, responsibility, and accountability. It favors liberty, and is the antithesis of communism, fascism, nazism, and socialism, all left wing phenomena which minimize the individual and elevate the state. The Tea Party/movement is a classic liberal one from when liberal meant liberal--as it still does in Australia--not what it means in today's American politics, to wit, believer in more and more government. It is tough to find a similar pro-liberty movement in Europe, perhaps the UKIP, as Europe is a place where the political battle is conducted overwhelmingly on the left side of the field.

Be very leery of the label "far right" and reject the notion that "right" and fascism lie on the same side of the political spectrum.  Jim Crow, the KKK, segregation, and slavery are fruits of the Democrat loom, just as nazism and fascism spring from the same cesspool as communism and socialism.

41 comments:

  1. Very insightful. We conservatives have to stop allowing the left to define the terms of the argument. We cannot continue to allow the labels to stick--admittedly hard to do when most of the media is against us.

    As Jonah Goldberg has pointed out, Stalin labeled Trotsky a fascist the moment he was purged from the inner circle. And the left has been getting away with it ever since. As far as I can tell, almost all of the liberal media (and definitely all of my leftie friends) think the Tea Party--if not the conservative movement in general--is founded on some offshoot of evangelical Protestantism, which of course couldn't be farther from the truth.

    But it suits their purposes.

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    1. What strikes me about the Democrats today is that social issues dominate their concerns. They saw Republicans are obsessed with abortion, prayer in schools and gay marriage. To the contrary, that is the whole political scene to the left. Most Republicans are libertarians with concerns about civil society. Their concerns focus more on schools and education than prayer.

      It's more than projection. It's their entire message. I have a daughter who is a lefty. She, at least, I can talk to. She was very concerned about teaching creationism in schools in the south. I asked her which was more important; reading or creationism ? She had to admit that the former was far more important. There is hope for her.

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    2. Exactly. It's astonishing how universal the liberal misconceptions are of conservative beliefs--from my leftie friends all the way to national pundits. As far as I can tell, they all think that conservatives are nothing more than Pat Robertson automatons whose sole purpose is to ban the Pill and harsh everyone's free sex vibe.

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  2. What then is a right wing horror? Surely, the left can't have all the losers?

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    1. Libertarians? Ron Paul? :)
      Well, they scare me... :)

      - reader #1482

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    2. A right wing horror? Any conservative who can handily whip a liberal in a debate.

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    3. Don't be too scared by Ron Paul. His foreign policy, if you call it that, is weakness like Obama, conceivably worse; but when people speak of being scared by a government, they seldom mean by the weakness of its foreign policy.

      And his domestic policy is to leave you alone. What could be less scary than that?

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  3. Great Post ! And thank you.

    You can tell who the BBC do and do not like by the language they use:

    Right Wing - "OK, but I would not vote for them."

    Far Right - "We hate you !"

    Extreme Far Right - "We utterly despise you and think you should be dealt with, ruthlessly !"

    Moderate - " A Centre Left organisation (Soft Socialism) that we approve of."

    Left - "Left Wing organisation that you may not approve of, but we don't care because we do."

    Extreme or Extremist - "A Terrorist organisation that kills people we do not like or could not give a hoots about because they vote 'the wrong way', so tough."

    Gordon Brown MP, our former Chancellor (man who controls the purse strings) relabeled government expenditure as, "Investment".

    Yes, poring money down the drain as investment. You couldn't make it up.

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    1. Down here in Australia we just got rid of a useless Labor Treasurer, a useless party hack called Wayne Swan who couldn't count to 21 without taking his shoes & socks off and dropping his pants. Thanks to him and othe leftist bozos we went from a 20B surplus to a 300B deficit in 6 years.

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  4. You'd think with Orwell's brilliant work on this very topic that more people would get it. Sadly, they don't.

    (With Orwell, I guess it took one to know one, and maybe only Orwell could go to Oceania. of course, we know how the left treats apostates)

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    1. Good point. It's also interesting how so many people think Orwell was writing about the right in 1984, but obviously missed the whole Stalin comparison (Big Brother, with his luxuriant moustache...)

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  5. Rushing around to attend a couple funerals today Dip but, for info on UKIP (likely on he EU's counterparts too but I'm not sure) hit D&N on your sidebar, UKIP in search ... for Australia, next time 'David from Oz' comments, ask him for a good Aussie blog.

    Ark

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    1. Tim Blair is all that I know of. But David from Oz would know best.

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    2. G'day All,

      'Morning Ark and Whitewall.

      Forecast for today here in Melbourne is 25C with 15 to 20 knots out of the North so nice flat seas in my end of the bay. Another couple of hours and I'll be on Port Phillip enjoying myself under sail.

      I digress - something my wife says is a normal state for me. A good blog down here is Cattalaxy Files. www.catallaxyfiles.com/ It espouses all those things like small government, less taxes, freedom of expression and similar dangerous concepts [if you are a leftie]. For a site that pulls the climate loonies apart [for loony read Al Gore, IPCC et al] you would be hard pressed to go past www.joannenova.com.au.

      There are others but not of consistently high quality in their argument - in fact some contributors would be struck mute if they were unable to use four letter words [and their derivatives] in their posts. Don't get me wrong I spent 34 years in Her Majesty's Service and can swear with the best of them - just don't see the necessity for it when posting as it diminishes the message. Different if you are in the process of attitude adjustment in one of your troops of course.

      The Pickering Post has excellent cartoons relating to Aussie politics but is a bit raw with its contributors.

      Keep the faith.

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    3. Damn this advancing age - I forgot to include Quadrant magazine - www.quadrant.org.au. Not an interactive blog but an online magazine definitely worth reading Has some great articles from some very perceptive people.

      Time to head for the water.

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    4. David, thanks for the leads. Over hear we need all the encouragement we can get. Swearing is truly a dying art. I used to do it but a lady told me I was much to handsome for it. So I pretty much quit. She was right of course. Enjoy yourself on the water!

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  6. The Democrats like to stress that "words mean something." So ponder this: Right means true or just; Left means sinister.

    Logos

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  7. A lot of talk to say that Euros and especially Euro media are all lefties and do not know jack squat about America.

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    1. Goes beyond that. The lefties through their control of the media etc define for us all the words we use when talking about politics and economics. Right has come to mean evil.

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    2. Especially, "Tea party" It is being pounded into the heads of the left in every media venue, that the Tea Party folks are evil, terrorist, and racist.

      They foam at the mouth at the news that somebody might have displayed a confederate flag in front of the White House.

      It also doesn't help that there doesn't seem to be a deep bench of conservatives that can step up to the elected office plate. Nobody wants the kind of proctology examine from the press that running for office as a Republican brings except for the loons that don't care. Which sucks because they simply become fodder for the press.

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    3. Concerning "Tea Party Terrorism", it might be time to invoke that other, formerly popular, meme of the left - One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.
      -Rurik

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  8. Down here in Australia and no doubt in the USA also, in political debate it is axiomatic that once you play the 'Nazi card' you have lost the argument.

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    Replies
    1. That goes pretty much here too. In the States, the Race card has always been the go to default position. Though it seems that the card is having a little less effect as people are getting tired of it. When I am writing an opponent who holds an unmentionable political stance and he resorts to the race card, I just call him lazy and shallow. That seems to work.

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    2. That is know here in the US as Godwin's Law. The first person to invoke the NAZIS/Hitler has just conceded that he has no argument.

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    3. Ah! So that's what Godwin's Law is. I have seen it mentioned elsewhere but did not know what it meant. Thanks Brother J.

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  9. Right as in....... correct! Would it be so difficult to forever refer to the democrats as the wrong party? Then again you are headed for a monarchy, so not much point in that.

    The idiotic RINOs are not correct and therefore not of the right, see how simple the concept is?

    A further example of a populist party of the right was the Reform party of Western Canada, our present prime minister was a prominent member so it can claim some success, but to achieve the success it eventually had to bow to reality and adopt some of the weaker members of our very own RINO equivalent the progressive conservative party (that name tells you all you need to know about their RINO-like propensity for more government). Vote splitting was only ensuring that the very leftist liberal party had a longer than necessary hold on the the country, a coalition between Reform and PC was inevitable and necessary.

    Interesting how liberal can mean such very different policies between Australia and Canada.

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  10. G'day all,

    On Quadrant -www.quadrant.org.au - you will find an interesting article on your President. Not very flattering.

    Cheers,

    PS - sailing yesterday was great. Sun was shining, wind at a steady 22 knots out of the north west and flat seas [well almost flat]. GOD was in HIS/HER heaven, Tony Abbott and the liberals are in power and all was well with the world [well Oz at least].

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    1. I grow green with envy . . . and a touch of the ol' seas-sickness . . . I have got to get to Australia before I die

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    2. G'day Dip.

      On the plane with the big white jumping rat on the tail it is 14 hours LA to either Melbourne [the civilized part of Oz] or Sydney [less civilized but with a beautiful harbour]. And we don't take your fingerprints on arrival [yet].

      If you ever decide to come I know at least one person who would like to introduce you to the culinary delights of the place along with some of the world's best beer.

      Cheers,

      David

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  11. UKIP in the UK is, unfortunately, a sham. See Richard North's EUReferendum.

    Everything else you write here I have been trying to articulate myself.

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    1. I did see Richard North's EUReferendum. I didn't see where North shows, or even claims, that UKIP is a sham. Can you be more specific?

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  12. David, that was a good piece on our President "Himself". Also on the page was a piece by Daniel Hannan, whom I have followed for quite a while. I do enjoy seeing the term "Anglosphere" used more often. These are troubling times in America.

    Robert, EUReferendum is a blog I have watched for several years. I like to check in on Richard's Harrogate Agenda. He is a devastatingly good writer.

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  13. For fairly obvious reasons, it was in the common interest of the Communist and the National Socialists to be thought opposite to one-another; that dictated the seating arrangements in the Reichstag. And the Communinsts and other leftists have never retreated from this propaganda high ground.

    Otherwise there is no reason whatever to regard National Socialism and fascism as being varieties of leftism as valid as any other. Of course, that would be a problem for people who confuse "left" and "good".

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  14. Urk. If you must leave out a word, let it not be "not".

    Otherwise there is no reason whatever *not* to regard National Socialism and fascism as being varieties of leftism as valid as any other.

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  15. Words matter. I don't usually waste my time on MSM TV, but for a sense of how the spin was going during the faux "shutdown", I spent 30 minutes early west coast time watching the morning news last week shifting between CNN and FOX.

    Both networks were sympathetic to "their" side, but I was especially struck by CNNs constantly advancing a synthetic "narrative" - for example, about how the Tea Party was responsible for the shutdown,

    and the near hysteria displayed by the anchor all week long- with words like traitorous, and even "someone needs to be punished" in one hyperbolic episode, interviewing Russ Duhout of the NYT. (another blatant effort to "make news" out of the media echo-chamber...)

    Russ at least had the intellectual honesty to be obviously embarrassed to have to even consider the question, but lacked the courage to depart his talking points to confront the essential dishonesty. A sham performance that I just cant stop thinking about- and I finally figured it out-

    Reminded me of my college foreign affairs studies of the Soviet Union, and how it sounded eerily "Pravda"-like: the repeat use of "The Country" and "The Leaders", and "the populace" - as if CNN were above us all, not just reporting the news, but advancing an objective.

    Creepy of course, but in a way, scary actually, that CNN's editors and producers apparently believe in their "elite" position to the point of propagandizing so blatantly on behalf of The Party and Their Leaders.

    When historians look back at this time they will be reminded that CNN was the network that compromised its own news reporting, by bowing to Saddam Hussein's PR guys demands, in order to get access.

    I wonder when the confession will come out again- and just what is CNN getting now for being Valery Jarrett's mouth-piece?

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  16. Long ago, I was called a "fascist" because, among other things, I'm for the major de-regulation of American education, the abolition of the national gov't's Department of Education, and a few other smaller government beliefs (I'm not a libertarian absolutist by any means, and I certainly believe that there are a number of things an intelligent government can do better). I also reached the conclusion that a "fascist", in present-day parlance, is simply someone who has considered the totalitarian socialist vision and said, "no thanks". Hence while I think Mussolini was a buffoon, and Hitler absolutely despicable, I proudly wear the label "fascist".

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  17. Why is it that facism is always descending upon the USA but landing in Europe?

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    1. Because, it was invented in Italy. The Fasces refers to a symbol of the Roman government, a bundle of sticks with an axe head protruding from one side. Those who are Fascist, are in love with the State. If you look on the back of a Mercury Dime, you will see the Fasces of the United states. In the house of Representatives there is a Fasces (Mace) that is used by the sergeant of arms to admonish house members who are disobedient. Last used on Maxine Waters in 1994.

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  18. http://astuteblogger.blogspot.com/2007/02/logical-definition-of-left-versus-right.html

    SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2007

    A LOGICAL DEFINITION OF LEFT VERSUS RIGHT - and what it means in WW4
    We were all raised to believe that the EXTREME Left was communist and the EXTREME Right was fascist - AND THAT THEY WERE IDEOLOGICALLY ANTAGONISTIC. WIKI:
    In modern Western countries, the political spectrum is usually described along left-right lines, based on the seating of the liberal and conservative members of the Legislative Assembly of France in 1791, where liberal and conservative were partly defined by attitudes towards the ancien regime. (See section Historical origin of the terms.) This traditional political spectrum has come to be defined along an axis with socialism and communism, ("the Left") on one end, and nationalism and Fascism ("the Right") on the other. [Umph added.]
    THIS IS AN ACCURATE DESCRIPTION OF THE TRADITIONAL POLITICAL SPECTRUM, BUT IT IS AN UTTERLY FALSE DESCRIPTION OF POLITICAL REALITY.

    In fact, it is Left-wing propaganda. It is propaganda that became de rigeur after Hitler violated the Hitler-Stalin pact and attacked the USSR. It was buttressed by the FACT that Hitler and Nazism were violently anti-Marxist.

    But this is DIFFERENT than saying they were anti-SOCIALIST. In fact, NAZI is an acronym which stands for national SOCIALIST party, and IN FACT Hitler was an ardent socialist. As was Mussolini - who coined the term FASCIST to denote the subjugation of the individual to the collective. Many falsely claim that Hitler and Mussolini argued for control of the economy by CORPORATIONS, but IN FACT: the term CORPORATISM in Italian means UNIONS, and not private companies; and any cursory reading of Mein Kampf and the NAZI party platform and Hitler speeches makes ABSOLUTELY AND INCONTROVERTIBLY CLEAR that Nazism was merely a variant of socialism - AND NOT IT'S ANTAGONIST. (Hitler hated Bolshevism and Marxism and internationalized socialism - which valorized and sought to unify the "proletarian" everywhere; Hitler sought a national RACIALLY based socialism.)

    In light of these FACTS, it is absurd to believe in the political spectrum which places Nazism on the extreme Right, and Communism on the extreme Left. As collectivist ideologies they BOTH belong on the LEFT - along with Fascism.

    The extreme Right is, therefore, logically occupied by ANARCHISM (and not Nazism or Fascism).

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  19. An accurate and logically sound political spectrum has the collectivist Communism on the extreme Left, and the most anti-collectivist ideology - Anarchism - on the extreme Right.

    And in the middle are constitutional democracies - which have somewhat strong states led by governments which are formed by the mutual consent of individual citizens and have laws which are limited by constitutions which circumscribed the powers of the state, and delineate inviolable rights of individuals.

    The middle is quite dynamic, and includes left-of-center states like those in Scandinavia, and right-of-center states like the USA.

    So, when folks like Hitler and Bush are both called Right-wing - IT IS A LIE. A lie perpetrated by the Left - who actually have much MUCH more fundamentally in common with Hitler than Bush OR ANYONE ELSE ON THE RIGHT does.

    Furthermore, anyone and everyone who argues that the state should become more powerful and that individuals should become less free is a statist and a collectivist and a Left-winger.

    And it doesn't matter whether this statism is driven by a desire to enforce economic outcomes (as with SOCIALISM), or by a desire to enforce SECTARIAN RELIGIOUS RULES - AS WITH BAATHISM AND Q'TUBISM/SALAFISM/BINLADENISM.

    This is another reason why the Left is predisposed to appeasement of and alliance with the islamofascists: they are BOTH statist/Left-wing ideologies.

    What is more, POST MODERN Leftism is also anti-modernity and anti-West and anti-Judeo-Christian Civilization - JUST LIKE THE ISLAMOFASCISTS!

    That's why the Left CONSTANTLY runs interference for the islamofascists - in our legislatures, our courts and in the UN. And this is why we must defeat the Leftists at home if we want to defeat the islamofascists abroad.

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-CzaKMSybVhM/UafyjHonCXI/AAAAAAABMPE/T

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  20. The Bible teaches us, in the allegorical story of Adam and Eve, that humanity chose to turn away from God.47 In doing so, we began our descent into materiality and original professional translationThe Christian narrative introduces the man Jesus as the Saviour, the one who can show us the way out of our spiritual darkness into the divine light of God. Soon we forgot our true identities as children of God, created in the image and likeness of God.

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