29 thoughts on “Pulling Out Another Ethics Alarms Open Forum…

    • I don’t have enough evidence that they were wrong, but I do believe they were mishandled, the messaging inconsistent and that they were appropriated for political ends.

      • I think it really depends when you are talking about. When the lockdowns started, we were receiving information out of China and Italy saying that the case fatality rate of the Wuhan Flu was as high as 4%. As we started to get numbers out of places with better reporting and testing, it was very obvious that the case fatality rate was a fraction of that.

        What *SHOULD* have happened was that as the information came out that Covid was *MUCH* less deadly than previously reported, we should have adjusted our response to it proportionately. We didn’t. And we didn’t because people were afraid, and people were afraid because the media was pushing fear.

        That could have been for a myriad of reasons, none of which are mutually exclusive, but some of which could be;

        1) Media, Politicians, Doctors, regardless of who was talking, there was a fear about being wrong. If you say that we’re good to lower restrictions, and you’re wrong, people will die and you’re to blame. If you say that we should keep restrictions in place and you’re wrong, people are annoyed, and there’s other fallout, depending, but it’s usually a whole lot better than the other scenario. Generally, the safe bet for risk adverse people was to leave the lockdowns in place, and our system controls against the bold, at least in the long term.

        2) Authoritarians going to be authoritarian, and never let a tragedy go to waste. Especially in the early days of the lockdown, left-leaning politicians were talking about “The Great Reset” out loud, talking about using the pandemic as a springboard to change society permanently. “Maybe the schools of tomorrow are virtual!” Now, they probably still think that, but they realized very quickly how unpopular the idea was, so they stopped saying it, and started calling The Great Reset a conspiracy theory.

        (And on that note… Some of it obviously is. But people REALLY need to stop pretending they didn’t say things they actually said, and calling criticism of them “conspiracy theories” as a cure-all. “Democrats engineered the virus to start the great reset” is materially different from “Democrats used the panic around the virus to push policies that they’ve always wanted to push.” And mixing those theories probably does more to credit the former than discredit the latter, particularly since we have video evidence of the latter.)

        3) Trump. You’d think that this wouldn’t have legs outside the US, but Trump was the kind of character that you either loved or hated, and he was either loved or hated the world over. I think a portion of the reason that we didn’t relax lockdowns was to stymie Trump’s election.

      • Why they were wrong:
        (1) There was no evidence that they would work. Once implemented, the evidence indicated they did nothing, or resulted in worse outcomes for virus deaths and hospitalizations.

        (2) They infringed on civil liberties. There should need to be evidence that an action is crucially necessary before people’s civil rights are temporarily suspended. There wasn’t any when they did it, there is evidence that it isn’t necessary now. This goes for gun control as well. The standard for restricting civil right needs to be a lot higher than ‘It would make some people feel better’. Allowing it when the evidence suggests it will result in more deaths should be criminal. Now, these infringements are being made indefinite or permanent.

        (3) They damaged the economy and resulted in shortages in crucial goods and services. What happens when lumber is gone and you can’t get it? What about surgical masks. I was at Lowe’s this weekend, they were almost out of concrete. The plants are shut down. We had food shortages because food processing plants were closed. My city water just got back to ‘normal’ chlorination yesterday after a month of not having treatment chemicals. Why? Lockdowns prevented water treatment chemicals from being produced. Remember, if just 1 part is missing, the whole assembly line stops and nothing is made.

        (4) It killed people. Cancer diagnoses are down 50% since the lockdowns. This isn’t because cancer isn’t happening, it is just because people can’t/are scared to get cancer screenings. Many physicians are too scared to treat patients in person. If you don’t catch cancer early, what happens to the death rate? We normally have ~600,000 people die from cancer. The lack of early screening for cancer could easily kill as many people as COVID has. Now let’s add in the added deaths from heart disease (~650,000/year normally) and keep going.

        (5) It interfered with our elections. By justifying unmonitored, unverified long-term mail-in voting, the lockdowns may have eliminated representative democracy in this country forever. Oh, the Republican won, well we are now going to accept Democratic ballots for another 2 weeks and see if we can change that. Our local Democratic representative went to the Alzheimer’s Nursing home and collected 450 unsealed, unsigned ballots. Please count them.

        Any other reasons?

        • Sure: the response was un-American and contrary to our traditions and values: “Run away!” And there’s the effect on the socialization of children, and the negative effect of masks, as Naomi Wolf pointed out. And the way the lockdown greases the skids to totalitarianism.

          But it’s impossible to prove a negative. If 500,000 (an inflated number, but still) had died without a lockdown, Donald Trump would have been found guilty by the news media and the AUC of “killing” a half-million people. Heck, he was anyway. And he was already accused of being “anti-science.” The experts were dishonest and incompetent, but he had no choice but to follow their advice.

    • Of course they were, but it’s hindsight bias at this point. There was no way politically to avoid lockdowns at some level.

      (and this, ME, is the part of the final installment of The Pandemic Creates a Classic and Difficult Ethics Conflict that is holding it up, as I grapple with how to balance those factors.

      • At some level.

        To do an honest, sober, ethics analysis, we need to reiterate some premises.

        1. When a Policy is Coercive, the Burden is on the Supporters

        These restrictions, from lockdowns to capacity limits to mask mandates, are clearly coercive. It is not necessarily a high burden, but in this case it is aggravated by…

        2. When a Policy is Unprecedented, the Burden of Justification is Heavier

        These are unprecedented actions, mass regulation of individual behavior to control a pandemic. this was not done with the swine flu pandemic, nor the Hong Kong flu pandemic.

        3. A Coercive Policy Can Not Be Justified if a Less Coercive Alternative that Has Comparable Effectiveness Exists

        It does not mean the same or higher level degree of effectiveness, but neither does it mean a remote possibility that it might work. The less coercive policy must be effective by at least the same order of magnitude for this to apply.

        4. Omniscience Can Not Be Assumed

        While what could have been known should be considered along with what was known at the time, we can not expect policymakers to know all. In this case, there were many unknowns one year ago.

        With these premises, we can start with the initial, two-week lockdown.

        In March of 2020, little was known about COVID-19. It appeared that it lasted about two weeks. while data from the Diamond Princess indicated it was a serious threat only to a relatively small proportion of the population, the data had yet to be examined in detail. Furthermore, there waas the threat of hospitals being overwhelmed.

        Thus, despite its highly coercive and highly unprecedented nature, these facts were enough justification to meet this heavy burden.

        When the two weeks were over, lockdowns continued in most places. There were still hotspots where hospitals were still under threat.

        A continued lockdown would still be justified for those hotspots along with areas within fifty miles along an interstate. To use California as an example, the lockdown could have been lifted in Jackson (since it was neither a hot spot nor along an interstate) but it was justified to keep Vallejo locked down, due to it being fifty miles from San Francisco (a hotspot) and adjacent to Interstate 80.

        By the end of April, it was apparent that only a small proportion of the population had a significant risk of hospitalization if infected with SARS-COV-2. Hospitalizations were declining. Expanding hospital capacity would diminish the need for lockdowns.

        At that time, I wondered if we could pay people under 40 to submit to being infected and subsequently isolating themselves in a quarantine facility for three weeks, in exchange for $3,000.

        It seemed like a farfetched idea, and there likely would have been major logistical issues involved. After all, with the exception of incarceration, neither state governments nor the federal government has had any experience isolating young people from society for three weeks continuously. How do we feed them? What happens if they get seriously ill? What protective gear would the staff need?

        Furthermore, in larger states like California, Texas, and Florida, it could take up to five months to process enough young people to go through with this program, which would likely require a continuation of coercive policies until enough of these young people were infected and quarantined.

        But these young, healthy people, volunteering to be infected and go through a three-week quarantine, would be resistant, if not outright immune, to further infection. when they mix with the general population, it would slow the spread of SARS-COV-2, enough in many places to reduce the R0 below 1.0. That, along with expanding hospital capacity, would further diminish the need for coercive policies.

        It is unconscionable that there was no serious discussion about doing this.

        But what really destroyed the case for continued lockdowns were the mass protests arising from George Floyd’s death from COVID-19.

        A huge proportion of the population were done with social distancing, as proven in pictures. Furthermore, the public health establishment issued a message that destroyed its credibility for generations.

        However, as public health advocates, we do not condemn these gatherings as risky for COVID-19 transmission. We support them as vital to the national public health and to the threatened health specifically of Black people in the United States. We can show that support by facilitating safest protesting practices without detracting from demonstrators’ ability to gather and demand change. This should not be confused with a permissive stance on all gatherings, particularly protests against stay-home orders. Those actions not only oppose public health interventions, but are also rooted in white nationalism and run contrary to respect for Black lives. Protests against systemic racism, which fosters the disproportionate burden of COVID-19 on Black communities and also perpetuates police violence, must be supported.

        This was from the University of Washington’s Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases., not just some fly-by-night college that just sprung up.

        At that point, there was no reason to trust public health authorities.

        Further buttressing the case against continued lockdowns were new lockdowns that happened just late last year. Lockdowns were advertised as a method to give health care facilities time to prepare for peak COVID-19 hospitalizations, and there was eight months of time to prepare. If health care facilities can in no way be expanded to handle peak hospitalizations once all restrictions are lifted, then there is no point in continuing restrictions.

        The availability of a vaccine is also reason enough to end all restrictions. People who are high-risk of hospitalization or death if infected can simply shelter in place until they get vaccinated, while the rest of us (who do not need the vaccine) can go about and mingle- and survive if infected.

        I have read news about how countries in Europe are extending lockdowns despite a vaccine being available, despite having a year to prepare hospitals for peak COVID-19 hospitalizations, a peak which is lower because of vaccines.

        There is no more excuse for continuations of any restrictions, none at all.

    • Not only wrong based on the science, we don’t quarantine the healthy, but the selective application. Gathering at big box store is okay, but not church. It brought out much of the totalitarian nature of some politicians. The willingness to turn in neighbors was horrifying.

      • There are of course nuances.

        I have a full-time job, and I plan to make a lengthy comment later tonight.

        I will start witg this.

        Examining this policy is like examining the War on Iraq.

        The isuue of whether invading Iraq was ethically justified is a separate, though related, issue from the issue of whether the manner of the invasion and occupation was ethical.

  1. Since we’re coming off St. Paddy’s Day:

    Under normal circumstances, cities and town would be dyeing fountains and rivers green while their streets echo to the music of the pipe and drum and their pubs and bars swing to fiddle and tin whistle, all accompanied by the consumption of copious amounts of Guinness, Bailey’s or Irish Mist. All eyes of course would be on the huge celebrations in Boston, New York, Chicago, and Savannah, with political leadership, all five branches of the armed forces, all three branches of the first responders, the Church, and the Irish by blood and at heart well represented. I have confidence that by this time next year all will resume… at least I have some.

    But wait, say some. How much do we really know about St. Patrick? No one can even pin his birth or death down to specific dates, and, assuming he really existed, he wasn’t even born in Ireland, and may not have had any Celtic blood. His main claim to fame is that he brought Christianity to Ireland, but even that is under question now, with possible evidence of earlier Christian activity. What does a missionary have to do with loud bagpipes, carousing, the uniformed services, and pride in being Irish? Isn’t this just tribalism? Shouldn’t we be getting over this by now?

    It is true that St. Patrick is as much legend as history. The time he is supposed to have been active was a time when the Roman Empire was in retreat and barbarism was on the rise, and the Irish were in a less advanced state of development than many peoples of the time. We have only Patrick’s Declaration, which is by no means complete, a limited amount of correspondence, and the various hagiographies to work from, and though some stories associated with him, like using a shamrock to demonstrate the Trinity, are believable, others such as his thrusting his staff into the ground to have it turn into a living tree, his philosophical debate with the last survivors of the legendary Fenian warriors (who had supposedly been routed over a century before at the Battle of Gabhra), and his driving out of the snakes from Ireland (when all scientific evidence points to there never having been any snakes in Ireland) are just stories, designed to make him as we all like our heroes, larger than life and always right.

    Every nation, every nationality, every tribe, needs its figure to rally around and define itself by. For the English it was and is St. George, the embodiment of the noble knight, though the man himself, if he existed, never came to England. For Italian Americans, it was and is Columbus, first of our people to open the doors to the New World, who they’re trying to take away now (but that’s a separate discussion). For we the Irish, whose faith has become almost inseparable from our being, especially after struggling for four centuries to keep it, it is the man who brought that faith to our land, legendary or not, whether anyone questions it or not.

    We Irish came to the U.S. fleeing outright oppression and horrible famine foisted on us by conquerors (who one of our own foolishly invited in), who got particularly bad after the time of Cromwell, who I consider one of the thirty greatest villains of history. (tyrant, religious and racial bigot) When we got here we either got thrown right into battle (if we arrived during the Civil War), or we were faced with “No Irish Need Apply” signs and very limited opportunities. In fact Irish laborers were sometimes risked (pre-Civil War) instead of slaves because slaves were too big of an investment to risk.
    Eventually, because civil service was one of the few careers that offered reasonable opportunities, we started to fight the fires, keep the peace on the streets, and defend this nation’s interest both on the frontier (1/3 of the cavalrymen who won the West were Irish) and abroad (the Fighting 69th and similar units), and we were accepted.

    Whatever goes on back in Ireland, and it isn’t always honorable (sometimes far from it), here we’re the glue that keeps society together. The prototypical Irish-American is still a fireman or a cop, and if you look through the lists of Medal of Honor winners you’ll see names like Daly, O’Kane, McGuire, O’Callaghan, and the most decorated soldier of them all, Murphy. On 9/11 you had whole companies consisting of Irish-Americans responding, and a lot being wiped out. Three of the four Port Authority cops who took the Halloween terrorist down in 2017 were Irish-American.

    We don’t parade the guns, the red trucks, or the blue uniforms because we are the macho or the quarrelsome or the bullies. We don’t play the bagpipes and drums to get in anyone’s face. We don’t wear the green because we want to say “we’re different, and therefore we’re better.” We display our heritage proudly because we’re the people who protect others, who help others, who step up when no one else will. We’ve earned the right to our own day of celebration as much as any other group.
    It’s precisely because we have earned that right and the underlying reasons that we must continue to exercise that right, as strongly as possible. For almost a decade now the role of the guardians of society and those who fill that role has come increasingly under attack. It’s not just a matter of being taken for granted. It’s not just a matter of questions being asked that no one thought to ask before. It’s a question of the political left casting society’s guardians as society’s oppressors and declaring disfavored ethnicities’ achievements and honors no longer valid since they can make political hay by doing so. It’s a question of deliberately weakening society’s protection against chaos. It’s a question of a provably false ideal that clipboards and soft talk can make society better than guns and hoses.

    The honors won by those I named above are all plenty worthy of a legacy, but our greatest legacy is each day that passes a little more safely and the freedoms that are still intact in part due to our efforts. Unfortunately, safety and freedom last only as long as we can keep them, and we keep them, at least in part, by reminding this nation exactly what we did to keep them. It’s to do that that we must speak out, turn out, keep marching, and keep saluting the members of our community and their achievements.
    Don’t let anyone minimize them. Don’t let anyone push them into the shadows. Don’t let anyone say they are somehow tainted so they don’t count. Don’t let anyone say that the passing years have rendered them or us irrelevant. Most of all don’t let anyone say that we’re in the way now. Too often the guardians of society have been the only ones “in the way” of something a whole lot worse taking over. We saw it last year. Is that what you want?

    Tá an Ghaeilge beo! Saoil saoirse! Do Dhia, Do Naomh Pádraig, agus dár dtír dhúchasach! Long live the Irish! Long live freedom! For God, for St. Patrick, and for our native land!

  2. I’m going to follow up on my post from last Friday, where I suggest that Republicans need to stop trying to win on technicalities, and start pushing messages that actually resonate with voters, because eventually they’re going to run out of rules to lawyer, and they’re just going to start to lose.

    This morning, I heard a report that Gerogia State Representative Park Cannon (D), was arrested and removed from the Georgia Capitol on Thursday for protesting the passage of the state’s elections bill.

    Now… I’m on record: I’m a Canadian. We have voter ID, so does basically every other serious Democracy on the planet. voter ID is not, in and of itself, an infringement on Democracy. Democracies have a vested interest in validating that the people voting for people to represent them are actually citizens from the district ostensibly being represented. And frankly, it is easier to get a government issued ID than it is to get a smartphone, and somehow, most people don’t seem to have an issue getting a phone. So when Democrats say that a requirement for ID prevents black people from voting, I’m more than skeptical.

    All that said… I think it’s important to look at what is actually in this law:

    -ID requirement for absentee ballots?

    -Reduces the timeframe in which runoff elections are held, including the amount of early voting for runoffs?
    Good. Americans generally have no conception under God how inefficient and drawn out their elections are. There is no reason for these things to be the protracted theatre they are, and it’s going to be a good thing to be able to have results as soon as possible after an election. In the case of a runoff, the candidates shouldn’t need to run another campaign.

    -Tightens the time people can request an absentee ballot?
    So long as the rules are widely understood, this is probably for the better. A lot can change between when someone casts an early ballot and election day, tightening windows up to be closer to election day is healtier.

    -State officials take over local election boards?
    Neutral to wary. I’m not sure what this was in response to.

    -Limits the use of ballot drop boxes?
    I’d love someone to explain to me why.

    -Makes it a crime to approach voters in line to give them food and water?
    Fuck this. If Republicans generally want me to believe that their election reform bills have literally anything to do with actually cleaning up elections, and not just voter suppression, they need to cut shit like this out. No one held a gun to their head and made the Georgia Republicans 1) Include this language or 2) approve it. And there is no legitimate reason to do it. People stood in line for HOURS to vote this last election, and we’re going to make it a crime to give them WATER? Square that circle for me guys, because it seems like the Georgia Republicans are bound and determined to give the Democrats ammunition for when they assert that “cruelty is the point”.

    What’s also important is to look at the things that were in the bill originally, but were amended out:

    -Bar counties from holding early voting on Sundays.
    The main criticism of this was that black churches in Georgia have started to bus people from churches to early voting booths, calling the initiative “souls to the polls”, and this seemed like a direct response to that. The final version of the bill allowed the county to set up EITHER Saturday or Sunday early voting, but not both, and seeing as how the bill allowed state officials to run local election boards, my impression is that the counties will “choose” Saturdays and not Sundays anyway.

    So square that circle for me: Why restrict the day of the week someone can early vote on? If you’re going to accept the early ballot on Friday, and also on the following Monday, explain to me restricting either Saturday or Sunday, without talking about suppression. And why Sunday OR Saturday, but not both? Why legally exclude one day?

    I’ll wait here.

    • I got nothin’ for the weekend voting thing, but to two of your questions:

      The no food and water in line thing is, I think, a logical extension of no campaigning at polling places. Unless they made for extremely tight rules for exactly who is allowed to offer it, and what they can say and wear, I don’t see how you could separate that… And even then you’d open it up to freedom of speech challenges and bias based on who’s running the polling place.

      I could see a policy of the election board being required to offer water without losing your place in line.

      With regards to the drop boxes, I understand there were chain of custody issues, which were also part of it being handled at the county level. (Counties hold the paperwork on it and it’s unclear who’s supposed to have access?). While I’m sure there are other solutions, it seems to be a situation where the kinks need to be worked out, and it’s probably best to limit the potential for that while they figure it out.

      I’m not super confident on these explanations, so take them with a grain of salt.

  3. The US 6th district court of appeals has ruled in favor of Gun Owners of America & other plaintiffs & against the ATF/Justice dept. regarding the bumpstock ban, essentially on two issues of fact and law:

    1) The ATF is not due Chevron deference on interpreting criminal statute.
    2) Bumpstocks do not function as machine guns, as such are defined by law.

    They also seem concerned with the ATF’s history of flip-flopping on their determinations, and bureaucratic assumption of legislative powers (If they want to redefine “machine gun”, that’s a job for the legislature.)

    Click to access 21a0070p-06.pdf

    At the moment, this only affects the 6th district (and maybe GOA members?). Maybe this will be one that pushes this issue to the SCOTUS, and helps dampen the ATF’s overreach.

    • Of course it is, just like the attempt to take Joe Sestak out of the 2010 PA Senate race by offering him a position in the executive branch, thinking turncoat Spector had a better chance. It didn’t work, Spector got primaried out, and Sestak went on to lose anyway.

  4. It looks like a lot of good discussion today, so if this gets overlooked, it is no big deal.

    This week a peer of mine posted the following article by the Washington Post:

    (I’m going to use pastor and minister interchangeably here. They do have different meanings but most people don’t know the difference.)

    When I first saw the title, I rolled my eyes. Then I read it. I rolled my eyes even more. It frustrates me to no end that people believe ministers/pastors should live lower than everyone else. The belief that pastors are supposed to live in poverty is dumb and absurd. It is for this reason alone my wife refuses to live in a parish. She grew up as a PK and the amount of times people would complain about something like the lights being left on were just embarrassing. Even then, I heard stories about people who were shocked I got a truck shortly after arriving at my current job (my lease ran out). Didn’t matter that the truck was used, it didn’t matter that I drove 1,000 miles to get it to save a considerable amount of money on it, it looked new enough. Why did it even matter: Reasons I guess. So I wrote the following response:

    “My dress shoes are 6 years old, starting to peel, and I maybe paid less than $50 for them. My tennis shoes were bought from the discount rack. I’m going to bet most preachers don’t have $5,000 shoes.
    On this note, though I am not a fan of megachurches or a lot of the gospel they preach, most do not make their worth from their congregation. Steven Furtick, the first named listed in article makes most of his money from his song writing, his NYT best sellers, and his fees as a motivational speaker.
    Joel Olsten (who I don’t like at all) takes no salary from his congregation (look up his house sometime).
    I can’t speak for the rest, but I’m sure you would find similar results. I suspect this article is one of confirmation bias. For every preacher making good money there are like 30 that are working a second job to make ends meet.”

    I however fit into neither categories. My congregation gives me enough money to not have to work a second job, but I am far, far, far away from ever affording a pair of shoes that cost $5,000. So after I wrote my initial response, I tried to let it go, but it kept bothering me. What bothered me the most was my frugality is another person’s frivolity. However, what also bothered me was the person who wrote the article. Their problem isn’t that a pastor has spent a lot of money on shoes, but they believed the pastor are exploiting the system, which may or may not be the case.

    People seem to have a problem fact that there are successful people who preaching the gospel. At least the names I know listed in the article have multiple popular books, songs, speaking deals, maybe merchandise, stock market, etc. While I don’t see ministers/pastors being really connected with members of their congregation that are more than 300 people, I don’t begrudge them for being successful and spending their money how they see fit. If they were exploiting the congregation (which is what a lot of the world thinks all ministers do anyway) I would have a major problem with that, but I highly doubt that is the case (seems more likely the church is exploiting the pastors fame to get people in there).

    Also, we are not seeing the other side of this. Sure he has $5,000 shoes. How much money did he give last year? What are his charitable donations? What’s his community service? Were the shoes a gift? But more importantly, does it really matter? If we did find out, would we then judge them for “bragging about it?” Furthermore, the more you look at this line of thinking, you got to start judging yourself by the same standard, because the disconnect still exist even if you remove the wealthy.

    For example you might:
    Live in $250,000 house, but a lot of your congregation rents or lives in mobile home.
    Shop whole foods, but 1/2 your congregation is on food stamps
    Own $75 Nikes, while kids in your church are wearing 3rd generation hand me downs
    Own an iphone 8, while most can only afford an off brand.
    Drive a 5 year old vehicle while most own beat up clunkers.
    A vacation that cost you a few grand that you take once a year, but most in your church never get/stay at home.

    Personally, I would find $5k on a pair of shoes a waste of money, because I place no value in name brands, but I could easily spend that money (assuming I had their wealth) on MTG cards (a hobby of mine that could be expensive).

    While this was an article shared among my peers, I also realize it applies to other groups of people as well, especially if they fit the “servant” type position: politicians, CEOs, community leaders, small business owners, maybe even ethicists (I wonder why we don’t expect this of doctors and lawyers).

    There is always a disconnect between people. Even the poor in the United States are exponentially more wealthy then the poor in some other countries.

    With all of this in mind, I realize I could be wrong/bias here and I was wondering if this is it a matter of ethics or a matter of ick? If they are ethically doing the right thing, it seems to me it doesn’t matter what they do with their excess.

    • JP, the former senior minister of my church told the story about how he once was in desperate need of a car, so a member offered him a used Cadillac. The operative word here is “Used”. It was not brand new. It had a bunch of miles on it. The member offered it to him free of charge and that’s a hard thing to turn down. But he had to turn it down. Because he knew that people would complain about the pastor driving a Cadillac and assume it was because he was overpaid or skimming off the church.

      • I don’t know about your church but all our finances are public and I have no way to access it (its also public who’s names are on the accounts). Printouts of our budget are posted ever month and are found next to the bulletins which most people take. I know a lot of churches that operate this way. It would almost be impossible for me to do so without the collusion of at least 5 other people. Even if you remove all the excuses, people will just shift the goalpost.

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