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Forced Positivity Causes Stagnation and Decline

When growing up, I had a few tough teachers. They had absolutely no interest in mincing words. In particular I liked an Ethics teacher who was close to retirement. This guy just did not give a fuck anymore. His method of examination was to put you on the spot, letting you argue for a certain position, and if you only regurgitated something, he handed out D’s an E’s without batting an eye. In the unfortunate case that he felt particularly annoyed, he even mocked students. This was perhaps not the nicest experience, but I think the dumb ditzes who thought they could get easy A’s by mindlessly memorizing a bunch of bullet points would have benefited from this experience. The outcome was that he got the small class he wanted as all the mediocrities dropped out. Next to Latin, this was my favorite class in high school.

At university, I noticed that this culture of giving brutally honest feedback was even less common than back in high school. There were classes that seemed impossible to fail. Of course, this did not apply to Econ 101, Calculus, or any other quantitative subject, but as long as a bit of waffling was involved, I saw some of the dumbest takes imaginable getting rewarded with A’s or B’s. There were even professors who had a reputation for handing out B’s like candy. They at best flipped through your term paper. I had this even happen in a project-based technical subject. The grading criteria were very clear, I put in a top-notch effort, and got a B in the end. Then I complained about it so I asked the guy for a reevaluation, which he did in the presence of me and a “mediator”. This was supposed to be an hour-long meeting in which he was to supposed to go through his grading decision in detail. However, it seemed that this was the first time he had looked at my submission. He seemed almost embarrassed and said, within less than five minutes, that this was an easy A. When talking to other students, I learned that they all had gotten B’s, even those who did not grasp the material at all. The professor apparently did not expect that someone would go for an A.

While these may be harmless anecdotes, unfortunately, this is also how the modern workplace is run. There may be niches like in some heavily male-dominated departments in some banks or engineering organizations, but by and large getting A’s for attendance seems to be the norm in BigCorp. The current status quo seems to be that you can no longer call someones work utter dogshit, even if it is. I recently had a case where someone made a proposal so ludicrous that it looked like a prank to me. I do not want to go into details, but the solution was so over-engineered that it could have passed as a Rube-Goldberg machine. I understand why this guy did it, though. Partly it was due to incompetence, but there was also the aspect that he wanted to have a bigger project under his belt in order to get a promotion. There is a lot of this going on in the woke workplace. Yet, pointing your finger at it requires great tact.

As I have learned, you can no longer say that something is “poorly thought out” or has “obvious deficiencies”. Instead, every failure, no matter if big or small, is simply a “learning”. Nobody ever faces difficulties. Instead, there are “challenges”. People are also no longer bad at their job. Oh, no! The politically correct way is to say that they need to “develop a growth mindset”. Amusingly, no project ever gets cancelled anymore. We simply put them “on hold”, and I am quite sure that this is meant literally, meaning that as soon as the pesky gatekeeper is gone who blocked some project because of how shitty it was, it will be “revisited” and pushed through. Small companies can go bust as a consequence whereas a mega-corporation like Microsoft or Google can stomach one disaster after another, as long as their core business is doing well. For instance, I recall how widely Google’s Stadia was mocked when it was announced. It was one of the most hare-brained concepts in gaming ever conceived, and you can be sure that it got pushed through because nobody cared enough to say no. To Google losing a few billion dollars is nothing, though.

The problem with not providing honest feedback is that people develop a self-image that is completely out of touch with reality. It is as if the entire world tells some scrawny little kid that he is really strong, making him believe that he can bench 250 lbs. This may all be well and good but there could be a time when he really needs to use some strength, and if he has not developed any, it could end very badly for him. Another good comparison is the disappearance of fat-shaming. Bullying probably has very sound evolutionary reasons, and telling fat women that they are fat is a good example. I do not think that anybody not suffering from some paraphilia would make the argument that, ceteris paribus, a fat woman is more attractive than a slim one. Thus, by getting fat women to slim down, society as a whole benefits, and so does the woman herself as she will be considered more attractive and consequently get more attention from men.

Just as there are fatties all around us so are there a lot of people in the workforce who should not really be there. This is more a problem in office environments, in particular WokeTech. However, by not providing honest feedback, we end up in a situation in which people may not even try anymore. I could now list a few quite tech-specific examples to illustrate this point, but this is not even necessary. When was the last time you were looking forward to a new Hollywood movie, or a big-budget game? Yes, it has been a while. This is the inevitable outcome of ditching meritocracy and fully embracing mediocrity. Wokism only speeds up the process.

19 thoughts on “Forced Positivity Causes Stagnation and Decline

  1. I personally disagree with Bullying being a viable solution (although you might be right that,evolutionary speaking,that may be one of its intended purposes,even though it doesn’t do the job particularly well) but we definitely should stop lying to people to baby their feelings.

    Like folks telling fat women that they’re beautiful even though deep down inside,they don’t really think so. I’m not saying we should insult/bully them,but my god dudes (I say that because of your previous article,that women bring down competition by encouraging bad choices while refraining themselves,so there’s actually cold/calculating intent behind it. that’s definitely new info to me,ngl),unless that is really how you genuinely feel,fucking stop that!

    I believe modern research has shown that the effect of Negative Reinforcement on behavior is very limited at best,and usually unpredictable (trauma teaches people the “wrong” lessons all the time. This is partially why I disagree with bullying being touted as a viable solution,though I’m not necessarily saying you’re promoting that message),but Positive Reinforcement has a definite effect on developing and strengthening behavior.

    Fat chicks being told that they are gorgeous and that they are fine as they are by thirsty dudes and their cold calculating sisters is probably a major part of the reason for the phenomenon Alek speaks of,that fatties now rule the streets. lol.

    Women seem to absolutely hate being ignored and being invisible. If more men would just stop giving fatties attention (including ceasing with the pump-and-dumps),that would probably do a lot to encourage them to seriously seek change.

    1. My choice of words was perhaps not ideal. I did not mean to fully embrace bullying. One could easily make the argument that fat-shaming is not bullying but a healthy feedback mechanism. Also, there clearly is a spectrum with regards to negative societal feedback. Honest responses should perhaps not be referred to as bullying at all.

    2. Yeah it’s a fine line, and it’s not easy to set it right. I think societal pressure to be thin is a good thing, but when it crosses the line into overt shaming you for not being thin its counter-productive. I know since I know shaming and bullying just kept me fatter longer since I’d run back home and stuff my face with food to deal with the fat shaming.

      My single most down-voted comment of all time was on some mainstream article talking about how thin people in advertising (or movies, not sure) make fatties feel bad because it promotes the idea that thin people are the attractiveness ideal.

      And I mad the argument that maybe this is a good thing, since that’s how evolution works. We originally evolved in an environment where a predisposition towards getting fatter with plentiful food was advantageous, but right now, it’s a disadvantage. We SHOULD have an evolutionary pressure in favor of people who don’t get fat when food is plentiful. And social pressure in the form of promoting thinness as beautiful is a perfect way to do it.

      And come to think of it, I think this is the right amount/away. Don’t shame anyone for being fat, just don’t promote them as beatiful. Promote thinness as the cool/beatiful thing. That alone will exert enough pressure in just the right way. Positive pressure works best in this case “Lose weight and you’ll become cooler, more popular”, instead of negative enforcement like “Stop being a loser you fattie”.

    3. I agree on the shaming. Which is a big reason why 12 step programs have been an abject failure for almost 100 years.

    4. Excellently explained,Alek! I’m not surprised you got downvoted for making that argument. It really is true that kids these days (damn,I’m speaking like an old man now!) have definitely turned into snowflakes. Back when I was being bullied as a kid,I was happy to just be left alone. I have never once had it in my head that I am entitled to people automatically liking or wanting to be friends with me just because I exist! (How unreasonable it is to expect that when even you yourself cannot like *everyone*)

      I watch these fat chicks on tikok complaining about how not enough people fawn over them or that working out/trying to change your body is apparently “fatphobic” and I’m thinking to myself “JFC woman,I WISH I had your problems when I was kid.”

      Despite the bullying (my weight wasn’t the only reason I got bullied as a kid though,but it certainly was a starting point),none of it actually got me to trying to lose weight as a kid. I started my weight loss journey as an adult,long after my school days are behind me. Recounting them now,what got me into seriously getting into this are all based on Positive Reinforcement:

      – Discovering that there’s actually a reasonable and intelligent way to go about all this that minimizes the suffering that comes with undertaking this journey. (I mentioned aworkoutroutine and his e-book “Superior Fat Loss” that was my starting point to all this.)

      I feel like the above is the most important factor of them all. Understandably,people are not going to be enticed when you tell them they have to live like David Goggins for the rest of their life if they don’t want to be fat. that’s very far from the truth. You DO have to sacrifice certain liberties (you can’t eat like a pig day in and day out anymore),but its nowhere like that.

      – Wanting QoL benefits. Ranging from simple everyday activity (I still remember walking when I was at my heaviest compared today. Night and Day difference) becoming easier to greater peer and romantic approval.

      – Wanting to become Athletic and “More Trouble than I am Worth”

      Remember what I said about how Trauma has unpredictable effects on people? That last bullet point I would say is one for me as a result of my past. It pretty much sparked a long term interest in MA/Combat training in me and a general desire to be “Dangerous”.

      I don’t think this is a bad/unhealthy thing though. (because I don’t actually look forward to getting into a fight ever again.) It has now created a strong motivation for me to get in shape,and keep a physical hobby that will keep me this way in the long term.

      I think I’ve even linked one of Hamza’s videos here where he says every man should know how to fight and I strongly agreed with it,and still do. I feel like there’s just a level of respect other guys subconsciously give you when you have the ability to be a real threat. Like Aaron mentioned folks subconsciously moving out of your way when you’re a big tall man.

  2. Any of you guys grow up with a high metabolism and felt almost as bad as the the fat people for being too thin?

    1. These guys certainly have their own brand of difficulty to deal with. I don’t think its a matter of metabolism for them though,but that they naturally get satiated much easier. (Alek has talked about this before. Differences in metabolism isn’t actually all that different among us,but natural Satiety levels are)

      Interestingly,I don’t think I would trade places with the skinny geeks given a similar past. I may have been fat,but the fact that I had size definitely helped me out against the bullies. Being naturally the biggest and tallest kid in class meant even the toughest of the bullies at least thought twice before wanting to throwdown with me. and when fights DID have to happen,it definitely helped a lot more than what many martial artists care to admit.

      I can’t imagine how much more difficult the situation would have been had I not had those advantages. That being said,I’ve actually helped a few such kids:

      There was also another one where I predicted their bully would try to catch them in the toilet by surprise and gave them some tips on what to do if that did occur. My prediction happened and they made use of my advice to get away. (Take a guess what my recommendations were. ;D ) Its probably not an exaggeration to say I may well have saved their life on that day.

      I certainly learned my fair share of street smarts and tricks,I’d say! Sadly,I’ve been met with quite a few delusional martial artists,who think that their expertise in the ring or how pretty they look hitting the pads means they are more qualified to talk about violence than people who have actually LIVED that life.

      Marc Macyoung for example has gotten a lot of hate from the MA/MMA community,for speaking about how real life violence is very different from fighting in the ring,and especially different from sparring with your teammates in that nice comfy gym,

      Ok,that’s enough of me going off topic with all this. Just wanted to vent a bit on this. haha.

    2. Reddit put your post behind an 18+ registration wall.

      What advice did you give regarding the potential bathroom encounter with a bully? I suppose you focused on prevention, i.e. don’t use the bathroom outside of peak times, don’t use the stalls and if you do, pick the one closest to the door, etc.

    3. Ironically, I never got bullied. I was skinny as fuck, but also tough as fuck. Never lost a school yard fight. My abuse came from the usual suspects from me: my family. Always calling me skinny. And when I got angry they would always say, “What? I wish I was that skinny!” They just didn’t get it. Or get men. Or try.

      It lasted through my early 20s. I ate like a horse, and hit the free weights for an hour 5 nights a week. No cardio at all. I had no fat. No noticable difference. One really peculiar thing is the scale would regularly say I was 180 pounds. Didn’t look any bigger.

      At any rate, once I noticed a beer gut for the first time in my life I saw it as an opportunity. I knew this meant I could finally build muscle, and I did. Of course, I started to do cardio too 🙂

    4. @Aaron

      In addition to those,I also told the kid to make sure to fully take off his school pants IF he has to use the school toilet. (ideally he shouldn’t,but you know how long school lasts in most countries,it just isn’t practical to tell him never to use it.) When using public toilets,people often only pull their pants halfway down,but if there’s a real risk of being attacked,you absolutely don’t want your mobility to be limited because of this. (You can’t even position yourself to throw an effective punch like that,forget running.) You can throw the pants at the bully to momentarily distract him if he does decide to come to help you slip past him. Its not dignifying to escape without your pants,but its better than being beaten bloody into a corner.

      I also told him,if this does happen,to treat the matter as seriously as if its life-or-death. The bully may not intend to kill him(if he attacks him alone with no witness,you can expect very malicious intent),but given the hard surfaces (the walls and the floor) of the bathroom,he can definitely cause grievous injury even if he doesn’t intend to.

      Finally,I told him not to be afraid to throw fecal matter or piss at the bully if need be. Very few people will still be focused on causing you harm if they have to deal with gross shit. You would need to have really wronged somebody for them to have that kind of motivation to hurt you,and bullies looking for an easy victim certainly don’t number among them.

      I sadly cannot find the old thread anymore,but here’s what I can remember:

      When the kid did get attacked,he heeded my advice about the pants (Didn’t fully take off his underwear,but that’s alright since you can pull that up much quicker than the pants) and managed to get out of the toilet stall before the bully could fully corner him. there was actually a crowd behind the bully,probably just to watch the spectacle. (at least they weren’t accomplices of the bully. that would have been much worse)

      The kid fortunately managed to escape. After that,I told the kid to beg his parents to pull him out of that school (If the crowd of the school comes in just to watch you potentially get beaten bloody instead of helping to resolve the situation without violence,I think anyone can tell that the problem isn’t actually the kid,but the school itself. The fact that the teachers have not acted at all compounds this issue.). Sadly,he never got back to me after I told him that. I can only hope it all turned out well.

      Regarding the other reddit thread,damn. I never expected r/kravmaga to be put behind an 18+ registration wall of all things! The good news is,I’ve found that this post of mine has actually been archived twice. I’m assuming it was done by the kid I helped and perhaps some other fella who benefitted from the advice as well. here’s the archive link:

      I probably could have summarized this message more,so my apologies if its overly long. Hope its an interesting read for you guys!

    5. Maou, it’s incredible how toxic climates can be built into various institutions. Workplaces, schools, living environments, and even families. It really does take just one bad apple. People are incredibly easily influenced in the wrong direction. Sound leadership is key. Without it we have nothing. That’s why we need a good patriarchy to reemerge.

    6. You can probably figure by now the origin of my rather unpleasant view of mainstream schooling. It initially just started with the bullying issue,but eventually I began to look at the other factors with a critical eye and realized that bullying isn’t the only fucked up thing about the mainstream school system. We make kids go to school for excessively long hours with so little breaks leading to poor learning retention in most kids,and of the little time we leave them for fun and leisure,we take even more away by giving them a mountain of homework,as if 8-10 hours of school hours wasn’t enough work for their brains…and somehow we act surprised that kids often skimp on their sleep just to have a little more fun time.

      I’m glad to know Aaron and some of you folks here share my distaste. Unfortunately,many folks we speak to in more mainstream circles/groups just don’t get it. I’ve spoken of the unfortunate truth that sometimes violence is a necessity,that some people shouldn’t have kids,and that are predatory women are out there (that last one upsets people in particular,I’ve been accused of being an incel over it. Which is ironic as Alek has mentioned here that it is often the guys who are most experienced with women that tend to have the worst opinion of them. maybe even worse than the true incels. The guys getting upset when I mention this topic tend to be normies with lay counts of 1-3),etc. and I greatly upset folks in these circles. I guess people just like to bury their heads in the sand.

      I even got asked why I care so much about the school issue and that I should just “get over it” because it doesn’t even affect me anymore. Alek has made an excellent comment here somewhere talking about selfish and self-centered fuckfaces. Yeah,we should stop caring about real issues when it no longer affects us personally,right?

      I’ve witnessed that behavior even in people in my personal life. People who hated school in my country yet choosing to have kids here instead of either moving to a better country or at least looking into effective alternative education because “it wasn’t that bad. surely things have gotten better?” No,it hasn’t you lazy entitled buffoon. Now your kids are going to go through what you went through,possibly even worse because politicians just get more and more greedy and corrupt.

      Normies make me sick,honestly.

    7. It’s tough brother, but just take solis that there are good people out there. We found some right here ???? Thank you, Aaron. My biggest problem is to let go of the vengeance I feel against the wrong doers. Well, that and trusting people lol.

    8. @Maou

      For somebody who’s not a parent, the amount and depth of thought you’ve put into how children should be raised makes you way more deserving of being a parent than many who already are. You’ve raised some great points that I’ve taken seriously on this topic! For that I’d like to thank you 🙂

      One of the recurring questions I ask myself is even if we (like-minded people) were able to raise our children to be “Überkinder” (my lame spinoff of Nietzsche’s Übermensch, heheh)– minimal junk foods and proper nutrition, attention spans not wrecked by screentime/devices, decent and timely tutoring in choice pursuits etc– how are they going to function in a highly dysfunctional society? They’ll be misfits in school if homeschooling is illegal and their (social) quality of life may be very poor as a result of their superior upbringing.

      This isn’t just theoretical. It hits close to home for me because I have a friend who let her then 1-year-old eat instant noodles (though with the salty and highly processed soup washed away as much as possible) as well as watch snippets of Moana. This friend and her husband attended the top schools in Singapore so it really disheartens me that they thought nothing wrong of the above. Moana is an entertaining movie but there’s just so much going on (rapid scene transitions, highly stimulating music and actions) that it can’t be good for such a young child to be exposed to. Screentime is not recommended for children under 2, in any case. If my friend’s kid is a good representative of the current crop of babies, then the future seems bleak (at least to me).

      The Überkinder are few and far between but will have to find one another for social engagement, procreation and above all, sanity.

    9. “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” – An insightful quote I learned from a friend of mine in the distant past. Hope he is well wherever he is.

      Alek (I’m referencing him a lot recently. Your words really are like gold man) I believe has a comment here somewhere about how being significantly more intelligent than your peers often results in Ostracization at best,and Bullying at worst. People just hate it when you disturb the status quo by not being a fellow sheeple,even when said change will result in a significantly better QoL for everybody involved.

      Truth be told,without the internet helping me find and interact with likeminded people,I probably would have gone crazy (or silently embittered at best) a long time ago. I really do feel fortunate to have been acquainted with the wonderful company in this blog. a breath of fresh air to having to censor my real thoughts in mainstream groups. Thank you for letting me know that you find my ramblings useful and insightful. 😀

      On another one of those mainstream spaces I speak of,I have been told to just shut it by a mom (who I strongly suspect is a single mom,I never bothered to pry further) who apparently didn’t like what I had to say on the topic. Telling me that because I have never experienced being a parent firsthand,that I have no right to an opinion on the matter. Well,first off,I’ve experienced being a son under parents who definitely should have spent some more time on self-improvement and introspection before taking up the mantle.

      Second of all,there is that saying that “Smart people learn from their mistakes. Wise people learn from the mistakes of others”. I don’t need to do a Barbell Squat on a Bosu ball myself to know its a terrible idea,just like how I don’t need a PHD or to have been a parent myself to realize that the vast majority of parents out there have absolutely no business being parents,and raising damaged kids who grow into damaged adults to raise even more damaged kids instead of healthy and productive building blocks of society as intended. (Putting it this way sounds robotic,but what I really mean is a close-knit society. Like those old villages that Aaron spoke of. I can understand why some people join fraternities and even gangs in hopes of finding this kind of brotherhood as shortsighted as it is.)

      I can tell Aaron really made an excellent choice in a spouse when I compare that chick’s reaction (defensiveness and finger in the ears) to yours regarding my thoughts on the subject.

      Have you and Aaron considered taking parenting classes? whether that’s online lessons from a trusted source or in an establishment,just to compare what is taught to your own knowledge on the subject.

      I have often recommended aspiring parents online to take parenting classes despite not having consumed the material myself,mainly in hopes of at least providing a roadmap for them instead having no plan at all like the vast.VAST majority of parents. (I don’t think I have ever spoken to a single parent out there in the wild or in mainstream online groups who has actually taken a parenting class or even researched the topic. Not a single one)

      I suspect there’s probably some stuff/approaches taught in the classes that we would disagree with. Nonetheless,the average parent is definitely better off following a set of guidelines by folks who have at least researched this topic extensively instead of the default approach of trialing-and-erroring it themselves.

    10. I’ve not taken parenting classes but I’ve read a lot on the topic and still do. There are also a few (parent) YouTubers I learn from here and there. According to my notes, I’ve read over 20 books on parenting since 2019. (I never thought to count!) They range from practical matters like potty training and feeding to homeschooling, parenting philosophy and discipline.

      Aaron and I just function by hiding our “power level” a lot, even to family members on both sides. We know that revealing what we think and how we live will ruffle feathers.

    11. We really are a group of outliers,aren’t we? I did not expect to hear that you’ve read over 20 books on the subject,you’ve far exceeded my expectations!

      May I ask who those youtubers you follow are? and of all the books you’ve read on the subject,may I ask which you feel is among the most useful of them?

      I am proud to say that I’ve at least managed to convinced a few folks online elsewhere to seriously introspect on the subject. A few decided that the childfree path is the way to go for them. One I’ve convinced to seriously look into alternative education,and even one in my country (who very much shares my thoughts on our sorry excuse for an education system) who I’ve convinced not to have kids in my country. if I’m not mistaken,they are seriously looking into becoming a citizen of Finland. I’ve angered a lot of idiots online,but the few cases like these make me proud to have spoken up.

      But of course,it only helps me make my case better being as well informed on the subject as I can be,and so I ask. and,well,I believe Knowledge for its own sake is still valuable,even if I don’t personally plan to use it myself.

      Actually,maybe that won’t necessarily be true. While I’ve already figured out that parenthood is not for me personally,I might end up in a mentoring position in some form or another in the future,and knowing how handle kids would definitely be a useful thing to know should that really happen.

    12. I think the environment matters a lot when raising children.

      Well, duh. 🙂 But what I mean is what kind of “socio-economic environment” you raise them in. For example, I grew up in an upper middle class area. Bullying was almost non-existent, and high intelligence and doing well in school was praised and admired, not just by the teachers but by the other kids as well.

      If you end up in an area where people are bullied for doing well in school, my advice would be to move. It’s a bad area, even if the streets are clean and the crime rate is low, with a toxic culture.

      Even a good area that respects ability can socially punish people (children and adults) for “wrongthink,” though. I doubt it’s possible to entirely escape that. 🙁

    13. The few parent YouTubers who’ve made some small influences on me are ‘The Hidden Gem’ for a Montessori/gentle parenting approach, ‘The Franklin’ for homeschooling, ‘Lao Wai Baba’ for inspiration on how a homeschooling family of SEVEN girls can be so well-managed and radiate so much calm/peace/love, and lastly a Chinese mom’s channel; she helped her daughters achieve a very high level of Chinese literacy by the age of 4-6 years in spite of them living in Germany, and all without being a tiger mother, which really impressed me. Stefan Molyneux, who I listened to a lot ~5 years ago, is big on peaceful parenting, which also got me reflecting on the issue of spanking (or hitting and other equivalents).

      Funnily, I listened to him and his daughter chat in one of his streams, and while I think she’s a very bright girl (she was perhaps 9 then? I could almost hear her brain firing up making connections all over the place!), I found her a bit exasperating to listen to as she was just so argumentative in an intellectual way. And Molyneux HAS deliberately brought her up to be able to reason and persuade well. Might this be an example of a virtue pursued to excess?

      I enjoyed watching UK’s Supernanny when I encountered it on the TV as an older child or teenager. 5 years ago or so, I was really into the Korean show ‘The Return of Superman’ where celebrity fathers take care of their children alone for 1-2 days. From looking at these families on TV and their dynamics, I formed my own opinions on what was wholesome and worth emulating, and what I’d rather avoid. If you had asked me as a teenager what I wanted to be when I grew up, I had no clear idea of a job but I knew I wanted to be a mother 🙂

      As for books, ‘Hunt, Gather, Parent’ I read recently and found very useful. ‘The Call of the Wild + Free’ is another. ‘The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Child Care’ too for nutrition– they recommend beef liver and egg yolks for a baby’s first food. On the other hand, I heard a pediatrician recommend beef once a week. The difference is so huge, it’s laughable!

      If you’re going to mentor kids one day, they’ll likely be older children or teenagers, so I don’t know how much of what I’m sharing here will be useful for you and applicable to that age group.

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