Discussion Question of Right & Wrong: Should these girls be killed?

Discussion in 'Novel General' started by Eishun, Jan 9, 2022.

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Should he have spared the 2 girls?

  1. Yes! They had no power and no say over their own actions!

    19 vote(s)
    82.6%
  2. No! The MC had to make examples of them or his authority would suffer!

    4 vote(s)
    17.4%
  1. Fluffums

    Fluffums 【R-18 Researcher】【Seeker of Moe】

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    I don't get the idea of "exile" or "feeding to zombies" as a punishment in a zombie apocalypse. "Oh no! The world is being overrun by zombies! Let's make even more!!!" Don't they have enough enemies already?

    The correct answer is: Forced labor for everyone.

    The single most precious resource in a zombie apocalypse is humans. Food might be hard to acquire though I wonder why no one ever even considers going to a farm but as long as people are capable of doing labor a camp of survivors should never get rid of them. Even that rapist/murderer has more value alive than dead (could be a test subject for a zombie vaccine or something, or to test if water or unknown plants/animals are safe to consume, something like that).

    Plus, the girls can be safely separated from the rapist under guise of punishment, while helping them overcome their trauma by keeping them busy, and also give them time to get to know other people in the group so they know who they can turn to if they need help.
     
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  2. Diagon Alleycat

    Diagon Alleycat Well-Known Member

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    In apocalypse stories, it's next to impossible for the MC to be a "hero" due to decisions needing to be made in order to preserve what community exists. Sometimes, the stories feel as if they are by authors self-inserting themselves into a "revenge fic" and using the apocalypse element to put people he hated onto the chopping block. In that case, the author was letting off steam.
     
  3. rwxwuxiaworld

    rwxwuxiaworld Well-Known Member

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    I don't know the novel in question, but let me play devil's advocate here.

    There is a famous story regarding Sun Tzu, the author of the Art of War. Once upon a time, the King of Wu wanted to play a joke on/test Sun Tzu by challenging him to train the king's concubines into soldiers. Sun Tzu accepted the challenge, divided the concubines into two platoons, and assigned one of the king's two favorite concubines to be the commanding officer of each platoon. He demonstrated military drill movements, then gave the order to 'turn right'. In response, the concubines just giggled at him. Sun Tzu said, 'If a general gives orders that are not thoroughly understood, the general is at fault.' He then drilled the concubines a second time, then gave the order to 'turn left'. Again, the concubines just giggled. Sun Tzu then said, 'If a general gives orders that are clearly understood but not followed, the officers are at fault', and he ordered the beheading of the two favored concubines, over the protests of the king. Two new 'officers' were selected from the concubines - and after that, every single maneuver was carried out flawlessly.

    What is the point of this story? That when it comes to military discipline, the ability to carry out orders without question and without excuses is paramount, in order to ensure the cohesiveness and the survival of the unit/army as a whole. This is known as military discipline, and traditionally and historically, in a professional military the 'self' must be subsumed into the 'group' to a certain extent - and this has been true in almost every military doctrine, from Asia to Europe to the Americas, so don't think this is a 'Chinese thing'. I found this great French quote from the 1700's: "It is not so much the multitude of soldiers that makes an army formidable as the ability to make them adaptable and firm, and to make of so many different members a single, living body of the same spirit [...] only a very short amount of time is needed, as Homer said, to throw the soldiers into forgetting and contempt for these laws. What is most annoying is that one could only reestablish them by the terror of punishment; which is very annoying and very difficult.

    Now, let's come back to this novel in question. Based on what's been said in this thread, they are in an apocalyptic scenario where mass death of everyone involved is a possible in even the best of times, making military discipline far more critical than in the 'real' world - and these are not the best of times. Some soldiers are in a mutinous mood, and there has already been one insurrection which nearly wiped out the entire squad. At a time like this, one thing is paramount - reestablishing the iron fist of military discipline 'by the terror of punishment', even if those punishments are draconian and disproportional based on 'normal' values.

    A lot of comments here stem on fairness - ie, was it 'fair' for the two girls to be punished by exile when they were victims. I submit that the very premise of the question is wrong - the two girls don't matter to begin with, any more than the other eleven individuals mattered. The question should be, were the chances of the survival of the group as a whole improved by his orders?

    Based on the limited information in this thread, I would argue a resounding YES. The loss of two individuals is negligible in terms of improving the chances of the group's survival. In contrast, the message this MC sent to the remainder is clear - no excuses will be accepted for a failure to follow orders. You lost a leg? Hop. You lost both? Crawl. You were deathly ill? Have someone carry your dying carcass to the meeting - or, of course, get permission in advance to stay in your sickbed. There is nothing more important than military discipline - and you should fear your commander more than you fear anyone or anything else, be it zombies or rapists.

    By leaving the two women alive, an asterisk would have been placed on the message*, muddling it - the implication would be that there are justifiable excuses for not following orders. Which is of course true - but that wasn't the message that the group needed at that time.

    Thus, 'by the terror of punishment', iron discipline was restored, a potentially catastrophic insurrection was quelled, and the survival of the group was ensured. The MC did nothing wrong and is to be commended.

    /devil's advocate.
     
  4. AliceShiki

    AliceShiki 『Ms. Tree』『Magical Girl of Love and Justice』

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    I mean... This makes sense to some extent, but the rapist guy is also someone that needs to eat to survive, so he does consume resources.

    So like... If you have a use for a guinea pig, you might as well use the guy, but... Otherwise, I think it would be safer to get rid of him? I mean... His actions could cause trouble within the group, after all, essentially making him not only a waste of resources, but also a potential danger to the cohesion of the group as a whole... So I think his potential use as a future guinea pig wouldn't make him worth maintaining when considering the circumstances.
    I mean... Ruling by fear is useful, of course, but it's also dangerous in the long run because it creates hostility towards you, especially if the punishments carried out are seem as unjust/unfair.

    Like, to quote Machiavelli...
    But the question is... In this situation, wouldn't the MC be able to be both?

    Yes, he can and needs to be feared. A recent insurrection happened and there are some real problems within his group. He absolutely needs to get rid of those problems ASAP... But I don't think that much was gained from giving this absolute message without asterisks on them at all. Rather, I think that the over stability within the group in the long run would be much easier to maintain with the asterisks within the message, than without.

    I agree with Machiavelli. It's best to be both loved and feared... And a leader that is loved from saving women from being raped, and feared for murdering the rapist and exiling the people that do other less troublesome things, would probably be in a much better position than one who is just feared for being willing to kill any who dare defy his orders, no matter the circumstances.

    Because like... Well, if a single mistake will kill you... Then, if you make a mistake, wouldn't you want to either cover it up, or try killing the leader before he finds out? Because like... You'll be dead no matter what, so might as well do everything you can to survive at this point, once the mess already happened and stuff. That's probably what will happen when the leader is purely feared.
    If the leader is both loved and feared though, the one who made the mistake might try to hurry up and report the mess, so that it can be dealt with quickly, causing the minimum amount of damage possible.

    Of course, there is the problem of people trying to take advantage of the "loved" aspect of the leader, but it still seems like the community would be much more stable if it doesn't have a merciless tyrant leading it, even when taking this downside into equation.
     
  5. rwxwuxiaworld

    rwxwuxiaworld Well-Known Member

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    In a 'normal' situation where you are trying to establish a country, I would tend to agree with you - but per the OP, the people in the story appear to be literally in the middle of a dangerous military mission, in hostile territory, enroute to heading back to a safe location. It takes much more time and effort to be loved than to be feared, and it certainly doesn't look like the OP has the time to be both. This is also why Machiavelli specifically singles out that when a prince is on a military mission, inspiring dread is paramount: "But when a prince is on a campaign with his army, with a multitude of soldiers under his command, then he absolutely mustn’t worry about having a reputation for cruelty, because that reputation is what holds his army together and has it ready for duty."

    At this point in the story, he doesn't appear to be someone who is in a safe place who has the luxury of slowly building up a stable princedom - he's a mid/low-level commander in hostile territory with mutinous troops, and he's just trying to ensure that they all survive this trip to a safe location. That's his only goal - and I would argue his actions were justifiable and beneficial in the service of that goal.

    In addition to that, I would honestly say that in this story, I really doubt that sparing those two girls would earn the MC much 'love'; post-apocalyptic novels tend to have people with very jaded morals, and quite frankly if the other soldiers were the type who would 'love' the MC for rescuing rape victims, they wouldn't have been fine with the rapist being in their midst while holding two girls hostage for so long to begin with.
     
  6. Nimroth

    Nimroth Someone

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    That works well enough until your followers are so scared off you that they rather kill you before the enemy, which is also something that historically do happen.
     
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  7. rwxwuxiaworld

    rwxwuxiaworld Well-Known Member

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    I think you are more talking about fear+hate, rather than fear alone, which is something Machiavelli also discussed - "Still, a prince should try to inspire fear in such a way that if he isn’t loved he at least isn’t hated, because being feared isn’t much of a burden if one isn’t hated; and a prince won’t be hated as long as he keeps his hands off his subjects’ property and their women. When he has to proceed against someone’s life he should have a proper justification—a manifest cause—for doing so; but above all things he must keep his hands off people’s property, because a man will forget the death of his father sooner than he would forget the loss of the property his father left to him."

    Note what Machiavelli said here - a proper justification, a manifest cause. I think the situation in this particular story would qualify. These executions were not carried out of malice or for personal gain. Everyone's trying to survive in hostile territory, and the lack of military discipline and inability to follow orders from those thirteen was threatening everyone's life.
     
  8. AliceShiki

    AliceShiki 『Ms. Tree』『Magical Girl of Love and Justice』

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    I mean... I'd say that the 11 "assholes" mentioned by the OP were lacking the discipline... The 2 girls just had the inability to follow orders because... Well, they were detained and had no way of going to the meeting. Inability is a word that fits well here, since they were truly unable to follow the orders due to outside circumstances beyond their control.
    I mean, I kinda get what you meant with this part of your first post, but... I just don't see how it makes any sense? Since at the end of the day, if you can't do it, then you can't do it. Even if you want to crawl to the meeting, you just won't be able to do so if someone ties you down to a bed.

    And well... If someone holds you locked in place, you will also be unable to give advance notice of your delay since... Well, it's not like you were planning to be delayed, you were forced to.
    And well... For this point, we actually lack enough context to know what the action of the MC would cause, I suppose.

    The girls were being raped, and this was apparently known by most people, yet nobody did anything... We do not know if it was because they didn't care or if because they feared being killed by the rapist if they tried saving the rapist girls, so... It's hard to make a conclusion on whether or not this kind of action from the MC would create both fear and hatred or just fear.
    Mmmmmmm... I get what you're saying, but at the same time, I don't see how getting rid of the 11 troublesome people, and just then, would hinder his reputation or make people try disobeying him again... Because well, he would still have killed 1 and exiled 11 in one way or another... And it's not like he didn't need to not punish the girls either. He could give them an unfair punishment just to make a statement that one should prioritize the orders over their personal circumstances... Just uhn... Well, any punishment that is lighter than exile, I suppose, since they failed to come in time not because of their own will (like the other 12), but because of their circumstances.

    And like... In this very punishment that he is giving, he is taking personal circumstances into account anyways. Because he is killing one and exiling 13, instead of killing 14 or exiling 14... One had committed graver infractions, so he got a harsher punishment... Why can't the two that committed lesser infractions take a lighter punishment then? It just doesn't enter my head.

    I will agree that he doesn't have the luxury to actively put effort into being loved though. Circumstances don't allow for that... But I still disagree with the notion that he should give "impartial" punishment to everyone that failed to follow the orders while completely ignoring the circumstances that made them unable to follow said orders... While at the same time being willing to give a harsher punishment to someone due to that person causing some outside trouble that had nothing to do with the orders given... It feels way too inconsistent in its attempt of being consistent, and also feels like it gets way too little of an extra benefit (having people fear the MC more than they already would with just 11 exiles + 1 death, and having a bigger notion of how important it is to follow orders) when compared to sparing the girls while still punishing them (getting a higher overall likeness, still getting plenty of fear, having 2 more people serving as manpower in a situation where manpower is what they probably lack the most).

    Though if I were to play devils' advocate against my own argument. We don't know the group's size, the overall personality of most of the people involved, how combat-ready they are, how much they care for one another, how jaded the morals of the group are, what happened to the people that attempted the last insurrection, and what are the current feelings of the group towards the current leadership after the insurrection was taken care of... All of this could change the circumstances quite a bit.

    The more the people are uncaring, disrespectful and willing to rebel in general, then the more justified the MC's actions are.
    Also, we do know that the group should at least be mid-sized, since the MC could afford to get rid of 14 people, so... We don't know how much they'd be hurt (on the manpower aspect) by losing 2 extra people that didn't do anything wrong and were just unlucky.
    We also don't know how combat-ready or militarized they are... The girls in question don't seem to be capable of self-defense, but we don't know if they were the majority or minority within the group... If they were the minority and viewed mostly as a burden, then losing them might not be as big of a deal to the group as a whole.
    And well, if the girls weren't particularly close to anyone in the group, then the chances of someone hating the MC for exiling them become smaller as well, so...

    While I still don't think that the action of the MC was the best for the well-being of the group (not during their current circumstances, nor in the long-term), I can say that we don't know enough about the specific details of the novel to be able to say for sure if the action taken was right or wrong, as there are too many things that could change what would be the ideal decision for this scenario.
     
  9. Nimroth

    Nimroth Someone

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    I find it doubtful that allowing for no excuses at all as opposed to few excuses would have a proper justification, sure it sets an example that orders must be fulfilled at all cost, but it also plants an added cause for people to lie to escape punishment, if they are at risk of getting punished by death for mistakes they couldn't avoid.
    You could end up in a situation where fear of punishment for small mistakes leads to people making greater mistakes that endangers the whole group.
    Because of that I would argue that depending on the circumstances, allowing for no excuses can potentially be almost as bad for discipline as allowing for too many excuses.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2022 at 10:30 PM
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  10. NyanTL

    NyanTL New Member

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    you can always tell where these sort of questionares are going to tilt towards. in the end you hear the answer you want to see shine and everyone goes home none the wiser. rather than ask strangers with varying degrees of qualification to talk on death, form your own opinion even if it takes hours.
     
  11. Dragontrainer201

    Dragontrainer201 Well-Known Member

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    Now, I'm assuming based on the MC's ability to execute that one guy and exile the rest that he has no difficulty in giving out punishments. I'm also going to assume that 13 people is considered a small fraction among the ranks. If I were in the MC's position, here's how I would go about this.

    First, after executing the rapist (because f*** that guy), I would actually give out collective punishment to everyone. It could be forced labour or extra exercise drills or whatever, but I would point out the latecomers to everyone else, telling them that they should thank the latecomers for the punishment.

    Here's the thing, though. I would then give out the same ultimatum as before. If anyone comes in late the next day, there would be more punishment. If indeed even one person comes in late, I would do the same thing... except I would pick out one person among the latecomers (preferably someone among the original 11 who were late on purpose) and exile them. Rinse and repeat. Maybe I'll switch it up a bit and exile two people or even three in one go. This will continue until nobody's late. Hopefully, this will happen before I run out of a-holes to exile.

    As for the two rape victims... here's an alternative that might work. I would basically make them go through remedial combat training of sorts disguised as punishment. Make them go through extra training drills and lessons and this will continue until they are able to defeat a strong combatant of my choosing in a 2-on-1. I would also make sure that these drills and lessons happen at the place and time right before everyone's suppose to meet up at. This way, it'll virtually be impossible for them to be late. Hopefully, I'll have a competent drill instructor on hand who'll be willing to supervise and oversee this "punishment".
     
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  12. rwxwuxiaworld

    rwxwuxiaworld Well-Known Member

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    Continuing my devil’s argument, no one is arguing that truly “never” allowing for an excuse is a good idea. However, in this specific moment, that is the message that needed to be sent. This is a moment of genuine crisis, and when your life is at stake, using excessive force (excessive cruelty) is almost always better than using insufficient force (excessive softness) - which dovetails with what Machiavelli said. When you are at the verge of dying from gangrene, you cut as much of it out as you can instead of dithering over maybe 1% of the flesh you cut out was healthy - because that’s all those two girls were, maybe 1% of their forces, assuming a couple dozen/hundred people. In the short term, which is all that matters in this specific situation, the potential upside for keeping the girls alive is minimal but the potential downside for being viewed as indecisive is catastrophic. No brainer here!

    Now with that said, I completely disagree with dragontrainer’s proposal. First, collective punishment for everyone, including those who follow orders, is far more likely to instill resentment and a sense of unfairness, which actually undermines his authority. Second, singling out those eleven is equivalent to telling the other soldiers to take matters into their own hand, which further undermines military discipline - and once you open that can of worms, it’s not too far from planting the seed of an idea in your soldiers mind that maybe they can take deadly action against others, like an unpopular commander who has been punishing them even though they were following orders correctly. Quite frankly, this could ultimately be even more catastrophic than having taken no action at all against the 13.

    Anyhow, this is all just fun and games, since it’s just a story - I think I’ve made my point that it’s a far more complex situation than the earlier posts suggested, which was the only reason I hopped in. :D
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2022 at 9:14 PM
  13. asriu

    asriu fu~ fu~ fu~

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    hmmm regarding that tsun situation there also another thing, concubines is like consumable good there so many even put aside their number tsun tsun only kill two of the most influential not snap all of them that way show no matter who if fail to follow command you dead, killing chick to scare kitten~ on this story MC just banish them all which is foolish! he can banish two or three who may the cause and the one who seem most capable (maybe physical appearance) and still have same effect~ there another approach but imo the problem with this MC seem just show of power or if I may... typical exaggerate situation which plentiful on wn~ hmmm take the easy example but not care about the core perhaps tbh on apocalypse setting this cat need think maybe those writer watch to much hollywood movie.... hehehe
     
  14. Dragontrainer201

    Dragontrainer201 Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, on second thought, I'm not even a fan of Collective Punishment to begin with. I brought it up because it seems to be a common method used in the military. Is that just a Hollywood thing or does that really happen?

    Is it common knowledge among the soldiers that the rape victims were kept from being on time for the assembly? If it is, I can't help but think that those soldiers would immediately think that they could be next. That they could do all the right things, but still get unfairly exiled through no fault of their own. Wouldn't that similarly breed resentment and a sense of unfairness that collective punishment would've caused? Maybe it depends on the soldiers' own moral compass and since Zombie Apocalypses tend to take place in modern times, they would be far more likely to be sympathetic toward the rape victims compared to soldiers from ancient times (probably).
     
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  15. rwxwuxiaworld

    rwxwuxiaworld Well-Known Member

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    Collective punishment definitely isn't just a Hollywood thing. FYI, the earliest known form of military collective punishment occurred during the Roman days - the term 'decimation', which is basically now used to just to refer to the destruction of a large amount of a population, was originally a term referring to a type of Roman punishment. When they had a company or a legion that fled from a battle or showed cowardice, they recognized that they couldn't punish everyone but a message still had to be sent - so, 10% of the member of that company were chosen at random to be killed by the other 90%. While the term came from the time of ancient Rome, decimations were carried out even up until the 20th century; Wikipedia suggests one of the last instances was during the Russian Civil War.

    Come to think of it - what was carried out in this story was quite similar to a 'decimation' - assuming that he had a couple dozen or 100-200 people after the mutiny, what he did was literally kill 5%-10% of the company, except his way was actually a bit more 'fair' in that instead of choosing people at random, he let them 'self-select' by not following orders, haha.

    That said, there are no known examples of a company or a legion rebelling after a decimation, despite its harshness. This is probably partially due to the fact that it was viewed as somewhat 'fair', because people were chosen randomly, and because technically the entire company was at fault for cowardice and sentenced to death - which is why I highly doubt the soldiers in this story would riot because they think they are 'next'. The message they got was - follow orders and you'll be safe. Schadenfreude is a real thing; I think for most people, their reaction would be 'whew, glad I followed orders' and 'glad I wasn't one of those poor bastards, I won't make their mistake'. If this type of policy was applied continuously, over the long term it would probably result in a lot of issues, such as inflexibility and a fear of showing initiative, maybe some morale issues - but in the short term, probably not.

    As a side note, post-apocalyptic novels do not take place in modern times, they take place in post-modern times, where there is often a reversion back to earlier/more primitive times in terms of morality - it is an environment where the modern order, society and structures have almost completely broken down, and been replaced with something far harsher for people to survive. That's why the 'law of the jungle' is such a common trope in post-apocalyptic fiction.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2022 at 8:10 AM
  16. Nimroth

    Nimroth Someone

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    But decimation in itself would be an example of you not needing to kill all the offenders to get the message across, since it is typically something ordered when the entire unit is seen as guilty and yet only 1/10 gets the punishment.
    It wouldn't be comparable in this situation unless even the ones that came on time would be considered guilty as well.
    And typically the one ordering a decimation would be a higher commander that have multiple other units at their disposal, so the number of punished would usually be far below 10% of the available force.
    Also it is hard to say how effective it was in general since it was exceedingly rare, if I'm not mistaken there are only something like 10 or so instances of it actually documented from the entire roman period and not all of them are documented in a way that we can really tell what effect it had on discipline or morale.
    Just as a side note since you were bringing up Sun Tzu and Machiavelli before, the Strategikon of Maurice from the early byzantine period argues against using indiscriminate punishments like decimation, on the grounds that it can have a negative effect on discipline.
     
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  17. rwxwuxiaworld

    rwxwuxiaworld Well-Known Member

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    Fun fact - Maurice and his sons ended up getting overthrown and murdered by one of their generals ;). Guess he could've done with a bit more of that fear and decimation... :ROFLMAO:

    (not a truly serious argument, just thought it was funny and appropriate to the situation)
     
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  18. Nimroth

    Nimroth Someone

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    Well, I would more say he made some really unpopular decisions in other aspects, like refusing to pay ransom for 12000 captured byzantine troops or cutting the wages of troops that was already on campaign against the persians, I'm not so sure decimation would be much help if you are already pissing off your entire army. lol
    And to be fair, we don't even know if he really wrote Strategikon in the first place, it just tend to be attributed to him.
     
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  19. rwxwuxiaworld

    rwxwuxiaworld Well-Known Member

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    Just goes to show that Machiavelli was right; you can’t fuck with people’s money! That will generate real hate.
     
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