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I think there should be two special forms for defining symbols with global
variables, one called DEFVAR and one called DEFCONST.  DEFCONST should reinitialize
the symbol every time it is seen, while DEFVAR should reinitialize it only if
it is unbound (the theory being that since it is a variable its current value
should not be disturbed.)  There should also be a variable you can bind while
loading a file to cause all its DEFVARs to be redone.  I suspect that DEFVAR's
present behavior while imperfect probably has the least problems short of
reading the user's mind.

However, note that (DEFCONST FOO value) has the same effect as
(DEFVAR FOO) (SETQ FOO value) and therefore may be superfluous.