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"And as you go up in your levels of abstraction, it gets harder and harder to really understand what's going on."

There is a difference between abstraction and indirection. Just because you've added the latter doesn't mean you've gained any of the former.

"Sure, some macros are intuitive and easy to follow, but those are usually easily replicated with other things, especially in a dynamic language like Python."

How would you implement SETF in Python? Or how about compile-time link checking for a web application (http://carcaddar.blogspot.com/2008/11/compile-time-inter-app...)?

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