This episode of the podcast isn’t your standard health and fitness fare.
Instead, it’s about living well beyond fitness, and more specifically, a concept Pat Flynn refers to as “flourishing.”
Pat Flynn is a repeat guest not only because I enjoy our conversations, but I’ve gotten great feedback from listeners who like hearing about these deeper, philosophical topics we dive into.
In case you’re not familiar with Pat, not only is he a fitness expert who is known for his kettlebell prowess, but he’s also a podcaster, philosopher, and author who just released a book titled “How to Think About God,” a metaphysical and spiritual journey all about the philosophy behind this foundational belief.
While I’m not a philosopher, I do have an interest in ideas I can use to improve my life and that I can share with other people to make their lives better as well. Plus, I always enjoy my conversations with Pat, and in this episode, we discuss several topics and questions listeners have been asking me, including …
- The problems with scientism and higher education
- Inequality and egalitarianism
- The concepts of equality of opportunity versus equality of outcome
- Economics and Marxism
- The health at any size movement
- The importance of virtues and the role of nuclear family units
- Justice, fairness, and “privilege”
- And more …
So, if you enjoy philosophical tangents and want to listen to something a bit different for a fitness podcast, make sure to hit play and listen to this episode!
28:09 – What are your thoughts on equality being unfair?
32:51 – What is egalitarianism?
41:29 – Is equality unnatural?
1:10:49 – What about the idea of fairness?
1:25:05 – What are your thoughts on striving for equal opportunity?
1:35:45 – Where can people find you and your work?
Mentioned on The Show:
What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!
Mike: Hey there. Welcome to another episode of Muscle for Life. I’m your host, Mike Matthews. Thank you for joining me today to hear my discussion with Pat Flynn. Yes, he has returned and that means that this episode is not your standard health and fitness fair that I serve around these parts. Instead, it is about living well beyond just fitness, and there are many ways you could break that down and describe it in many terms you could use.
But Pat likes to use one in particular that I like as well, and that. Flourishing human flourishing. And in this podcast he talks about what that term means and how it goes back to the classical Greek philosophies and what it means in today’s modern society. Fortunately, not much has changed because human nature has not changed whatsoever in the last couple of thousand years.
It’s just not enough time on an evolutionary scale to make a difference in the deeply ingrained and maybe even hardwire. To some degree elements of our human nature and how they express themselves in our behavior. And specifically today’s discussion is going to be on several topics that greatly influence our ability to flourish, and particularly ideas related to inequality and egalitarianism.
So we talk about the concepts of equality of opportunity versus equality of outcome. For example, we talk a bit about Marxism and economics. We talk about justice, fairness, and privilege, mostly in the context of economics and more. And I’m not a philosopher. I’m not even a philosopher Pfizer, but I do have an interest in.
That I can use to improve my life and that I can share with other people to help them do better, to help them flourish more. And I enjoy these discussions with Pat. He is more of an expert on this stuff than I am for sure. And if you’re not familiar with him, he is not only a fitness expert and you can find his work [email protected]
And he’s particularly known for his kettlebell work. But he is also a podcaster. He is a philosopher. He is classically trained in it, formally trained in it. And he’s an author of several books, including a new one that he just released that I read and enjoyed, called How to Think About God, which is a logical and metaphysical exploration of the concept of God, a deductive process of arriving at proof for God as opposed to an inductive process.
And I really enjoyed it. I thought he did a really good job breaking down. Very complex topics are topics that can appear to be very complex and making them easy to access and easy to understand and easy to follow. And these are arguments that in some cases have many steps. And so you have to be able to build on each previous step.
And as the reader then you have to make sure that you understand, okay, step eight before you can understand step nine and your ability to understand step eight stems from step seven and so forth. And he did a good job. He did a very good job. And so if you are into that kind of stuff, theology, philosophy, metaphysics, check it out, how to think about God, it’s 99 cents and you won’t be disappointed.
Also, if you like what I am doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my sports nutrition company Legion, which thanks to the support of many people like you, is the leading brand of all natural sports supplements in the world. And we’re on top because every ingredient and dose in every product is backed by peer reviewed scientific research.
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Head over to www.bylegion.comilegion.com and just to show how much I appreciate my pod peeps. Use the coupon code M ffl at checkout and you will save 20% on your entire first order. So again, if you appreciate my work and if you wanna see more of it and if you also. All natural evidence based supplements that work.
Please do consider supporting Legion so I can keep doing what I love, like producing more podcasts like this. Hey, Pat, thanks for coming back on mypodcast.
Pat: My friend, a Joy as always, Mike Matthews. Thanks for having me on.
Mike: Yeah. These discussions have been well received. I wasn’t sure when we did the first one, it was just a, Hey, why not thing.
And when I look at the data, the few that we’ve done, each of them have done a bit better than average, which was a nice, I wouldn’t say I was surprised. It was just a nice outcome because obviously this is primarily a health and fitness podcast. But I would say that these discussions that we’ve been having and the discussion we’re gonna have today, Okay.
It’s not related to fitness, but it’s related to health. We’re talking about wellbeing, right? And the word, the term that you used in one of our last discussions, flourishing, which I think we all want to do in life. And if you really wanna flourish in life, it takes more than big muscles, right? Indeed it does.
Pat: Unfortunately. Unfortunately and as much as I would like to flatter myself, it probably has nothing to do with me. I think it’s just a subject matter. People are interested in the bigger questions about life, whether it’s religion, like we talked about in the first conversation, or politics or what have you.
I see similar things on my podcast, Mike, for people who follow me, most of the weekly content is fitness, but then every Friday I do a philosophy Friday episode. Then every Sunday I do a theology themed episode. And not always, but pretty often it’s those two episodes per week which get the most attention.
Mike: So you might not know it on the surface, but there’s definitely, I think, more interest in these conversations than. May be obvious at first and more value in these types of conversations than many people might think without listening to them or looking into this stuff for themselves. I’d say I was even probably guilty of that to some degree when I was younger, thinking of the humanities and a liberal arts education as probably a waste of time.
Especially if we’re talking about making money, which is what life is supposed to be about according to the TV and the whole machine that we have set up. Yeah. According to Oligarchy’s. Yep. Yeah. And somebody pointed out to me, they sent me an email cause I’d made a comment, I think in one of our discussions that I didn’t think that a degree in philosophy had much commercial value.
. And he sent me an article. I didn’t look too much into the data, so take it for what it is, maybe with a whole lick of salt. But apparently there’s a correlation between, and it was philosophy. Degrees in particular and higher than average earnings because yes, while they are not using, they’re not teaching philosophy or writing philosophy books or doing something that is very specific to what they learned, apparently the reason for the correlation is that people who have spent a lot of time studying this stuff tend to be good problem solvers and tend to have opened minds and tend to be able to look at problems from different angles.
And those are very valuable qualities when you combine them with maybe a more specifically commercially viable skill, which, These days with the internet, it’s so easy to learn something that’s commercially, like some specific skill coding. For example, learn to code like you could do that for free online.
There’s so many things you can learn online that if you just get good enough marketing, any aspect of marketing, you don’t have to go to school for that. If you read the right books and you have a knack for it and you get good enough, you will get hired. And if you’re good, you will make a lot of money actually.
So if you combine something that has some commercial value with the. The skills that you learn in terms of how to think from studying philosophy, you have a powerful combination for high earning potential.
Pat: Yeah, that’s interesting. I haven’t looked at that data. It doesn’t surprise me too terribly much.
And I’ll just add a few points. It echoes my experience a little bit in the sense that my undergrad was economics and I veered away from philosophy of my undergrad. Not because I wasn’t interested in it, I always was, but partly because I was under the impression that wasn’t going to be very fruitful for me.
Now it turns out I wound up being. An entrepreneur. So it was irrelevant, but philosophy for me was my master’s program. And looking back, would I have done it the same way? It’s really hard to, it’s really hard to say because I’m very happy what I’m doing and I did certainly get value out of my undergrad in economics as well.
But to your larger point, which I think. The the critical thing here is, yeah, what is, what should I don’t wanna say what does a philosophy degree give you? Because I’ve had professors who had their PhD in philosophy that really were terrible at basic logic. So it’s, you can, be get a PhD in philosophy and just have a terrible understanding of what I would consider the fundamental, So the things that.
You need to have a mastery of before you could even properly call yourself a philosopher.
Mike: Credentialist, need to maybe listen to that one again. Yeah. People who rely too much on supposed expertise or just bonus fee days. Oh, it’s this person is a PhD. They must know what they’re talking about. Now that’s not to denigrate PhDs.
I instinctively admire anyone who has put in enough work to do that, for example. But it’s a mistake. And I run into this, and you probably run into this as well. The reason why I’m just highlighting this point is I run into a lot of credentialism from people in sm, which is the overreliance on science without, It’s like giving science the benefit of the doubt to a fault and assuming that, oh, if somebody says, and this science comes down to interpretation too.
Pat: So it’s really, somebody says, science says that’s it. It’s settled. They can’t be wrong. Yeah. So I wanna say a couple things about all that to the first point of credentialism. Certainly. Regardless of what you think of the current education system, it’s not exactly easy to get a PhD, but so many of these departments like philosophy have become hijacked by ideologies that really have little to do with what I would consider, the true philosophy, right?
So philosophy, if you’re gonna study philosophy, it should teach you things like the structure of thought. It should teach you how to think in consistent channels. You should understand logic. You should also be versed in metaphysics as well, which is my area of focus. Shocked Maritan, who’s one of my favorite philosophers, said a philosopher who doesn’t engage in metaphysics is just not a philosopher.
And I’m very sympathetic to that. But there’s so many, credentialed philosophers out there who. No experience in that sort of branch of philosophy. So part of the problem is just a hyper, hyper specialization as well. Philosophers just aren’t the great generalist you would get in terms of the classic and medieval philosophers like a Plato or an Aristotle or even like a lightness or something like that.
People can so hyper specialize now that they can really miss the forest for the trees is an interesting phenomena cuz that is a philosophy , right? That’s what’s ironic.
Mike: I would probably go as far as saying it’s a religion at this point.
Pat: I think that’s an insult to religion to be honest. So M would be a sort of restricted epistemology that grows out of a history of another philosophy known this positivism or logical positivism, which tries to restrict how we know things to a certain domain. So somebody who is would be an adherent of m would say something like, we should only believe what science can tell us.
Mike: Yeah. And anything you say, do you have a source for that? That’s the midway response.
Pat: Always. It’s even tighter than that though. It immediately runs into difficulties because just the very claim, we should only believe what science can tell us is not a claim that can be adjudicated by the hypothetical deductive method.
That’s a philosophical claim. You have to make philosophical arguments for that. Yeah. So it doesn’t even meet its own standard. It’s got this issue of being, internally inconsistent. So it’s, I think it’s pretty widely rejected. There are serious philosophers, like credentialed philosophers who are legit a vowed adherence of M, right?
So there are people who push this as a serious world view of saying Look, if we can’t get at it through say, physics and chemistry, then it’s meaningless. It doesn’t exist. And of course, even that assertion is not something that you’re ever going to get at through physics and chemistry. So meaning that you
Mike: can’t justify.
With those domains, you have to go into the realm of philosophy and probably even metaphysics to even justify such a statement.
Pat: 100%. It really is as simple as that. You don’t need the PhD in philosophy to figure this one out, and but there are serious adherence to that and they have the reasons.
So there’s like popular level SM of how it’s of seeped down into the masses. And you see this all the time in culture, right? Things usually start in academia and it’ll trickle down and there’s almost always a lag as well. And so yeah, the people who will just for whatever reason, of hold this popular ENT attitude without kind of understanding its historical or academic roots, I think is.
A little frustrating, a little dismaying, but when you analyze it and it’s, I guess it’s more rigorous and academic form, you realize it’s ultimately, I think, Selfly incoherent. There’s just no way that this could be tenable at all. And
Mike: I understand though, in many cases it’s a shortcut, it’s a heuristic that saves time is probably why many people turn to it.
Even many credentialed people themselves who are very quick to just repeat whatever the quote unquote consensus is on something. And I do understand that. But the problem with that is if you’re willing to look, there is so much evidence of, take academia, if you wanna understand firsthand not firsthand secondhand , but if you wanna understand, let’s say intimately, how thoroughly corrupted.
That system can become, And I’m gonna, this is a book I’m gonna do. I read it again just to go, cuz I read it some time ago. I didn’t have highlights, so I went through it. Highlights. I’m gonna do a book club review on it, and it’s a book I’ve recommended to you and I’ve recommended it several times in the podcast, always in reference to anything related to quote unquote conspiracy theory.
Anybody who even says. Should read the book, The Anglo-American Establishment by Carol Quigley. First, look into who he was. Read the book and you will see how powerful the propaganda organs of the elite are. And academia is a major one. And in that book, Quiggly goes into a lot of detail of how it focuses mostly on the British aristocracy and how they used, how they controlled.
It was mostly via Oxford, but how they controlled academia and academic publishing through that and how they controlled the media and how they controlled the bureaucracy of government. And they were very smart. They understood the power of leverage and that you don’t need to control everything. You just have to control the right things that have a disproportionate amount of influence.
In other places, like for example in government, they would avoid elective positions. They specialized in the bureaucracy of government. They specialized in controlling positions that were not voted on and that had that the elective politicians, the people they would go to basically to be told like, What do I do?
Cuz these elective politicians have to spend most of their time just trying to win elections. And so these were the experts and there were key positions in intelligence and foreign services and other areas of the civil service world. There are key positions they would pass amongst themselves.
There they think of it as almost. A secret society of sorts. And so they might control these positions via different members of their group for decades. And academia is another game that they played where they would, they had these professorships that they were able to bestow, and they were very careful who they gave them to.
And they used a couple key colleges in Oxford to recruit their people. And anyway, so I don’t wanna get us off on too much of a tangent, but I’m only bringing this up because if you read that book, and again, look into who Quigley was, and you’re gonna have no reason to disbelieve him. And I’ve seen no good reputation of any of his work.
I’ve looked online, I’ve seen a couple points where people nitpick certain things, but know, oh, Quiggly was a quack and here’s why. And not that you can find that about people who actually aren’t quacks and you actually take the time to parse through it. But if you read that book and you accept. Quigley was mostly right and the amount of research that guy, that book came after his Magno opus, which was Tragedy and Hope, which he took, I think 25 years to write.
And that this book was, it was not a summary of tragedy and hope, but it was just him focusing in on a specific period in Great Britain. Then you can’t accept that that the book is mostly accurate and at the same time engage in. Academic credentialism because at that point the curtain is pulled back like you see, Oh, this for over here.
This was a complete scam. This whole system was a scam straight up. Now, I’m not saying all of academia is a scam, but. There are major scams that have been run via academic channels, like
Pat: this idea that ideologies or that the academy or that science or these things are completely pure. That they’re free of ideologic. It is. So I can’t speak with qu quigly. I just haven’t studied him or read his work. I got it in the queue, so I will get around to it. But yeah, just backing up, it’s just so incredibly naive. You have instances, recent instances of people who are just absolutely punished, sometimes alleviated of their positions at various institutions just because they don’t fall in line with the main stream rhetorical structure.
And these are people who might. Otherwise side with that part of the political spectrum, right? Whether Steve’s who at Michigan State University recently, people should look into that scandal. That was just an abomination, right? It’s just, it’s a horror out there and, who’s somebody who spent, enough time in college, like in lived through the filth and seeing how the propaganda is poured.
How the sausage is made, . Yeah. It’s true. And who has many friends, many of my friends who are professors in college that I just know, like they are afraid to publish on certain things, to ask certain questions, to make certain statements, to write certain books, because they know that’s, that’ll be it for them.
That’ll be the end of their career. They won’t get tenure. If they do have tenure, their life will be made a living hell. Yeah. Just the notion that it’s just completely pure is it’s incredibly naive and whether you might even agree with a certain side of it, but I think most people should admit that probably isn’t what we want from higher education.
That certainly wasn’t how it was advertised to us or is being advertised to us currently. I
Mike: have more respect. There aren’t many of these people out there who will openly admit it, but I have more respect for the people who are at least intellectually honest with themselves and they would say, Yeah, that’s true.
And it’s unfair, quote unquote, if we’re talking about how the rules are promoted, that’s not how it works. But I’m okay with it because my team
Pat: is winning. Or because I think this is just necessary. I think this is the good. Okay. Make the argument, but at least you’re not being subversive about it.
You’re being upfront. And I agree . I appreciate people who are more upfront about what the goal is. I just hope that they would still be open to. Discourse on these issues. Now, going back, cuz I, I don’t wanna hold up on this too long, but the SM thing is one of my, my favorites. People talk about the science as if science is like one gigantic monolithic, there’s just the thing called science as if there isn’t any difference between physics and evolutionary biology.
I mean it’s just, it’s ridiculous.
Mike: Or as if there’s no difference between, The worst example would be a study in the body of evidence or a pocket of evidence versus the body of evidence.
Pat: And just to a general point, cuz sometimes people will hear me critiquing m it by no means is. Discredit or an insult to science at all?
I’m a huge fan of science when it’s done right? Like I love science. I’m constantly, tapping the shoulder of my scientist friends and the literature to, to see what’s relevant to any philosophical questions that I’m investigating. It’s the philosophy of M that I think is dangerous and completely false.
So it’s just important we draw these
Mike: distinctions, which maybe even just to give it a specific definition would be like the excessive belief in the power of
Pat: science. I wouldn’t even do that. Yeah, I wouldn’t even do that. I, for me, it’s an epistemology, and epistemology is theories of how we know what we know, and somebody who is adheres to m, I’m trying to think of a word, like the ENT aist or something like that would say that if we don’t know it through the hypothetical deductive.
Then we just can’t know it at all. That’s really what I’m going after. Okay. Okay. And then, there’s gonna be different debates again, even among philosophers who would push that epistemology of what exactly, at the end of the day is gonna give us valid, meaningful knowledge? And some might go so far to say is it’s just physics.
Some people might just wanna reduce it, which is absolutely bonkers to me. You could never support that epistemology from that viewpoint. But in, even in a broad sense, unless you wanna admit philosophy into science, which would just make sm irrelevant cuz then you’re just considering pretty much everything science.
Then we don’t really have a disagreement. But if you start cutting off philosophy or other, broader epistemologies, then you’re going to run into this self defeat problem. It’s just a stupid, it’s just stupid. Like it really it’s just it’s so hard to take it seriously, but it has had enormous cultural impact, which people are.
Largely unaware of, and it’s got other roots too, back to other previous philosophies that kind of surged, but then collapsed like positivism, which I won’t get into that now, but like these other philosophies that are very similar to SM have come up in history before, had a huge impact collapsed because people realize that there were these just internal problems that just couldn’t be sustained.
They went away, but their cultural impact still remained. So it’s worth talking about and it’s, I think it’s worth bringing attention to, but it’s not to discredit science itself. And it’s also a different issue between science done well is a wonderful and beautiful thing, but we also don’t wanna be naive and think that science is so pure that it’s never untainted by, essentially by sinful humanity.
Of course it is. It doesn’t mean we can’t trust science at all. It just means we need to be prudent in how we assess things. That’s really all I’m saying. At the
Mike: end of the day, it’s a people problem. It’s not a, it’s not necessarily a methodological problem. Not that to say that the scientific method couldn’t be improved, of course anything could be improved.
But the criticism and where the major problems enter the scene is through people perverting it really, I guess intentionally or accidentally. It could be both. Some people make honest mistakes,
Pat: fine. A massive influence is that, again, different sciences are conducted in different ways as well.
We have to take that in consideration, right? So the person, the physicist, is just doing something quite different than say, the evolutionary psychologist. And there’s just different methods of investigation for these different sciences. And there’s other, And here’s a funny thing, like what even counts as science?
Cuz there’s stuff into literature where people wanna argue that evolutionary psychology isn’t even a science. It shouldn’t even count as a science. And there’s different criteria of what should count as science. And how would you establish that criteria aside from philosophical considerations?
Philosophical, There’s nothing that, there’s no scientific test you could run that would generate. The criteria of what counts as science. ? Yeah. These are all philosophical questions. Yeah. Because
Mike: you are not doing science for its own sake. We’re trying to obtain knowledge. And that’s where it then bridges over into
And that’s why we have, I think rightfully so what’s called philosophy of science, right? Which is meant to probe the sort of philosophical foundations or all the assumptions that go into science, which are huge asso. Like a meta discussion of the whole thing, right? So science assumes a ton of things, right?
It assumes logic, it assumes mathematics. It can’t prove any of these things. It assumes some form of realism that there’s actually a world outside of our head. It assumes some form of identity over time, of persistence through change. It assumes, I would argue, ethics as well, right? Like science assumes that it’s better to not lie about results even if people do.
None of these things are given to us by science. Science has to assume all of these things. So like to think that science is the bedrock, bottom end all be. Is just a very naive position. Yeah, that’s
Mike: an interesting take. With that, we should shift gears here and talk about, I guess some people would think it’s been.
Proven scientifically it’s, I’d say at this point it’s almost become a religion unto itself. But you would say then, I guess that denigrates religion, which isn’t my point, but you get what I’m saying and that is the idea and where this came about is I’m actually gonna address one point in particular on another episode that I’m gonna do called says You and somebody where people, I invite people to just tell me something they disagree with me on and I pick a few of the more interesting things and I give my thoughts.
That’s a cool,
Pat: that’s a cool. Thing to do. I like that. I, Yeah,
Mike: those do well. Yeah. People like them. And I like it too, because I don’t mind if people disagree with me. I find those discussions that I’m having with myself, but more interesting than just the q and a. And sometimes I learn something and, sometimes it just gives me a chance to think a bit more about my position on something.
And one of them is, and this is I guess, a preview for when this episode comes out, although I might actually already be out by the time this. So it might be an after the fact summary then while the poor habit today, wealth inequality slash hoarding is a massive issue. Now, we don’t have to talk about that in particular because I’m gonna have already, I think with the timeline here, I’m already gonna have really shared all of my thoughts on it.
But I wanted to talk to you specifically about this point of equality and this idea. And this has really become, if I don’t wanna use the term religion, it has become a powerful ideology, I guess we could say that. And something that has been accepted by many people as dogma, really at this point. That people, everyone is equal, inherently, fundamentally, everyone is equal, therefore, any inequalities that we see in our plane of existence.
So let’s start with material inequalities are unnatural and need to be rectified, and that inequalities are essentially unfair. What are your thoughts on that? That’s, I’ll just give it to
Pat: you that. Yeah, let’s unpack that because there’s so much there. So you know, I probably won’t be able to provide all the answers.
Mike: concept is obviously driving so much of the current politics and cultural discussions
Pat: 100%. So let’s just ask some questions. That’s always a good thing to do. Philosophy is best done slow. I think. That’s not my phrase, it’s somebody else’s, but I’m stealing it and it’s often best done first by asking, I think just some important questions.
You should just
Mike: add a like sex to it. Then that makes even more stimulating
Pat: people, what’s Grant, that we’re all equal first. If we all are equal, why would that entail that there couldn’t then be any inequalities that are immoral. So that’s one thing, right? Why would it follow that if we’re all equal in some sense, that it would be immoral or wrong if there were any inequalities say in what?
Like living status or income or access to education or whatever. I’m not saying that I’m not giving an answer here. I mean it could go as
Mike: far even as aesthetics.
Pat: Yeah, no, your face, right? Yeah. Prettiness, whatever. A hair. You’re too pretty. That’s
Mike: unfair. You need to get
Pat: this surgery right? We’ll get there.
So just asking some questions and it might be the case that, certain degrees might be unjust but other degrees aren’t. But let’s just raise some questions. Of course. The more fundamental thing is, are we all equal? And if in what? How now that is a really interesting and important question because it is true that we do take this as a baseline assumption for a lot of political and moral argument.
But how do we ground that? Where is this equality found? Because it seems to me like we’re all. If we look at just physical characteristics, we’re radically unequal, right? Mike, you’re taller than me. I think you bench press more than I do. Some people keep going. Keep going. . Yeah. Yeah. Keep going. Keep going.
You’re so much handsomer. Whatever. People look different, they sound different, they perform differently. They score higher or lower on tasks. Some people have more limbs than other people, right? Some people were born with genetic defects. People were in different locations. So like you, you have to cast a be in like kind of physical material reality.
And I think you cast about in air. I don’t think you find anyway that we’re equal. But I’m not saying we’re unequal. I think we are equal. But I think the only place you’re gonna ground equality to use some traditional terminology in our Aristotelian form we’re equal in our substantial. Form, or you want to just clarify
Pat: that means?
Yeah. It’s our soul . We’re equal in our soul, right? In the essence of what we are, our essence, right? Yes. Yeah. So I’m a classic Aristotelian and the Catholic tradition. Yeah. That’s just our soul. Our soul is our substantial form. Our essence. And our essence would be broadly rationality. That’s what we are.
We could unpack that further. Philosophers like Astair McIntyre would say, we’re dependent, rational animals. We’re dependent social, rational animals. But here’s the thing, right? As soon as you grant that science will never give you that, ever. The essence of something. Essence is or something and other thing that science presupposes, right?
Science can maybe detect certain properties or behaviors that are flow from the essence of something, but essentialism, this is a philosophical position known as essentialism. I think science depends on that. Science has to assume that there’s like an essence of what it is to act like an electron versus a proton, for example.
That there’s an essence of what it is to be a human being, right? There’s an essence of what it is to be a dandelion, and this is common sense really. We just sharpen it up with some philosophical argumentation here and there, but if you’re like committed to SM or materialism, I don’t see how you’re getting equality in the world, right at all.
If you think that all human beings are just the result of. Haphazard accident where we emerged from some, primordial goo and are hurling through space on some infant decimal spec of dust doomed to ultimate o Bolivia. Like, where do you find equality in that? I’ve never been able to find it at all.
So these are deep. Philosophical metaphysical worldviews. And it’s not enough in today’s society to just assume that anymore because there are people who deny it. So we better have some arguments and we better have a position to back up what it means to be equal. But then once we find out where we’re equal, there might be different implications of whether egalitarianism actually follows from that or whether it might actually be a frustration from it and might actually be less conducive to, or flourishing than contributive to it.
And do you wanna
Mike: quickly define egalitarianism? Yeah. So there’s
Pat: different schools of egalitarianism, obviously, but it does come down to the idea that for whatever reason we believe people should be equal in other respects, aside from say their. Dignity or humanity or something like that. So you might have egalitarians who want say equality of outcome, right?
That’s the traditional, What does that mean? It typically means like economic outcomes. Like income.
Mike: Yep. Or academic
Pat: Test scores. But if we’re talking income, the economist to me has to say we have to talk about real income, not just any number, but like purchasing power, stuff like that, right?
. And then you kind realize like immediately we’re gonna have some issues there cuz like, how is that even forget about Putting it in play, is it even theoretically possible? Because how could somebody have the same purchasing power based on all these inequalities we just went through, right?
People just live in different locations, right? So real income is what can it get you? Now there’s only so much, land area in the Bay Area for housing, right? And some people might live there and other people might live in New Jersey and other people might live in the south. So like, how are we gonna, how are we gonna equalize all, It doesn’t even seem possible, right?
It doesn’t even seem possible at all, let alone, something that we could even get close to implementing. But that’s, Yeah, that’s the idea. So we have, equality of outcome traditionally, and most forcefully it’s often economic, like we said, of purchasing power, but other things too, like academic performance and outcome, then you have a quality of opportunity.
This is, people might take a step back from outcome and say, Okay, maybe we don’t want. Equality of outcome. Maybe we want equality of opportunity and that sounds better, but I don’t think it actually is better. Like how would you ever have perfect equality of opportunity? Cuz now we need to like, is everybody gonna have the same parents, the same love and care from their parents?
The same kind of economic status coming into the world. There are
Mike: credentialed people who. Argue for things like that. I’ve seen arguments that all children should be educated in state run schools.
Pat: That’s where the logic leads you here is if you are committed to a quality of outcome, then you have to try and eliminate any, go all the
We have to get to Brave New World or we have to get to Harrison Burg on by vga. That’s where you
Pat: have to go. Of course. Yeah. You so you would have to try and have just a facility, some giant bureaucratic machine that eliminates the family unit. Yeah. That eliminates parents.
You’re still not gonna solve the issue because look, are all the teachers in that facility gonna be the same? Are they all gonna be the same competency? And again, are the facilities, these bureaucratic facilities in Atlanta gonna be of the same quality as in Michigan? As in Japan?
Mike: I guess the advocates of this line of thinking would say we have to try, just because we can’t have it perfect right away doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t strive
Pat: in the direction.
And if people aren’t like immediately appalled and alarmed at. This phase, right? Like I hardly know what else to say at this point. But you’re right in bringing attention to that point, cuz there are people who will recognize these critiques and say, Yeah, no that’s true. We do have to get rid of parents.
Straight up. Wasn’t that
Mike: Or is it still a part of the Black Lives Matter plank That was on their website. I know it was. They were talking about eliminating the nuclear
Pat: family. Disrupting the nuclear family unit is a traditional. Leftist egalitarian theme. I can’t speak as much specifically on Black Lives Matter, just cuz I haven’t spent, And that was on
Mike: their website.
It may still be on their
Pat: website. I don’t know. It was, I know that was, And I don’t think it’s any surprise that a lot of their leadership is extremely far left and they come from Marxist schools of thoughts. One of
Mike: the co-founders, I saw an interview with her where she said she’s a trained Marxist.
Pat: those are her own words. Yeah. Yeah. Again, this shouldn’t be surprising to anybody who’s followed far left wing organizations for a while. It’s pretty well known. I don’t know why it’s controversial. A lot of people who associate with Black Lives Matter are totally unaware of this, however, so I’m not saying that’s everybody
Mike: who’s, Yeah.
Yeah. I don’t mean that as a criticism to even everything that Black Lives Matter stands for, that people who support. I don’t, I’m just saying I definitely disagree with Marxism.
Pat: Yeah and like a principled person could say Hey, I agree with you there, but I strongly disagree with you there.
And yeah, I think that just seems obvious to me. But yes, this is traditional. Marxist thought tons in this direction, of course. So yeah, those are the two primary kind of egalitarian, frameworks of both outcome and opportunity. I think at the end of the day, when you really try to think those through, it’s like worse than utopian thinking because there’s some utopian thinking that I think is like at least worth striving for.
Like it’s utopian to think we shouldn’t have murder. , right? Yeah, I was gonna
Mike: say, the libertarian utopia is nice. It would be nice
Pat: if we could have that one. I think that there’s even more moderate, like it’s utopian to think we should strive to not have murder in the world. Cause that’s at least conceptually possible.
And it’s I think that’s like a good thing, right? But it’s at the same time, I think we all wanna admit we’ll probably never get there. But this egalitarianism is like a utopian form of thinking. That’s just not it’s hard to even see in just like conceptual space how this could ever be accomplished,
Mike: and so you have to wonder, there’s a point where, again, if I see people who are in positions of influence and they’re advocating for this ideology that it. I’m so cynical that I have to assume it. It’s power. At the end of the day, it’s about power and it’s about self aggrandizement, right? I think you do have the true believers, but there are many people who know that it is essentially impossible.
It’s did Mau really care about the principles of communism? No. He used it as a means to an end, and when he achieved power, he implemented something very different than what he was pitching to get there. You know what I mean? Of.
Pat: Of course. Yeah. And you have the olds, right? Destroying all the olds and maoism and people, watching this happening in our society today of people wanting to tear down all the statues and the statues of even the Catholic saints.
Which like boles my mind. Oh really? Really? I didn’t, Yeah, bro. Sarah out in California, like this man was a missionary who really fought for the dignity of the Native American people. And like they’re tearing him down. But this is just the same, out of curiosity why him? I guess he was just part of the old, regime.
And, but that is Marks’ thought, right? He’s an
Mike: old, very old
Pat: white guy. God go. And the idea is you have to tear down all the olds, old customs, old beliefs, old art, old religions. Like That’s how, that’s the only way you’re ever going to get in the utopia. So anybody who’s studied the history of this should be, I think, alarmed to see what’s going on right now, cuz it’s the same old playbook now Marks.
Good old fashioned Marxism, and I think Mark’s had so many things fundamentally wrong. He was a dialectic materialist, which I think is like the silliest metaphysical position somebody could hold. He was an economic reductionist, so he thought like all of history could be reduced or explained to like economic class wars, which is just patently ridiculous, adhered to economic theories like, labor theory and surplus theory of value, which like no economist holds to those anymore.
It’s just silly. But older forms of Marxism, we’re really just trying to pit economic classes against one another. But it’s the same thing going on now, where now we just have the kind of classes of intersectionality. It’s the same thing, , right? It’s the same old thing, It’s the same pig with is different lipstick and you don’t even have to be like a deep specialist on this stuff.
Even just like a superficial understanding of the history of not just Marxist politics, but cultural Marxism and implementation should really get people to take a step back and reconsider whether they wanna support a lot of the stuff that’s going on right now.
Mike: you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my sports nutrition company Legion, which thanks to the support of many people like you, is the leading brand of all natural sports supplements in the. In bringing this back to egalitarianism, I would say that there’s a relationship there, right?
This is one of the weapons, in the arsenal to get people to move away from something that you had mentioned earlier, which is, and this is something I touch on in this podcast that’s argu already gonna be live. And I also should probably preface this with this. I don’t consider myself an expert in this topic, and I’ve done a bit of thinking on it.
That’s all I have to say for my own opinions. But if we look to nature and we see all kinds of inequalities, which you talked about, the inequality is everywhere, then. The argument that we should strive for equality over everything. Could you say that is unnatural? Cause now we’re getting behind the, can it actually be done?
And that’s not hard, especially equality of outcome. I wanna come back to equality of opportunity and get your thoughts on that, but I think we don’t need to say too much more on equality of outcome because really anyone listening, just really start thinking through what it would take to do that and then ask yourself, would that
Pat: even be, would that even be a life that
Mike: you would wanna, Yeah, read the book, Brave New World and read Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vanga and ask yourself, Is that a life?
I personally would rather just be, I would, I’ll just see what happens next. I would rather just, and yeah, I’ll skip that
Pat: phase of civilization. So let, yeah, let me circle back to your, I’ll need you to remind me of your second point there again. Yeah. But to. Real quick, what’s the connection here between egalitarianism and Marxism?
We have to think about communism and socialism, right? So people sometimes differentiate the two. But traditionally, Marx was, he was an anarchist, right? So the whole idea of communism is that we would get to a stateless society where we have effectively egalitarianism, right? That’s the outcome.
And socialism is just the intermediary state where you just need that bureaucratic apparatus to get you to the point where eventually that can dissolve. So it’s just all on the same spectrum traditionally, and people think, forget that. And of course people, now, there’s a lot of equivocation and ambiguity in terms of how people use the term socialism.
But if we’re understanding it traditionally, that’s how it was understood
Mike: and trying to keep it well distanced from communism because socialism. Palatable to many younger people find it palatable, whereas communism
Pat: less and in the sense that if you’re just talking about an expanded welfare state like the Nordic countries, that’s not socialism at all.
That’s not even close to what socialism has traditionally been understood as. Would you
Mike: agree that’s capitalism with a strong
Pat: safety act? Yeah, with it? With an expanded welfare state? And because what at the heart is it that socialism and communism are after? One thing is the abolition of private property, right?
So the fact that there’s still private property and lots of it in these countries is itself an indicator that this is just not a traditionally socialist state.
Mike: And if anybody listening, if you want to understand the importance of. Property and how it drives innovation and how it’s really a, it’s one of the pillars of the economic system that has, if we’re talking about results lifted more people out of poverty.
And I understand you can criticize capitalism, especially the co highly corrupt form. It’s almost like a consumerism, commercialism, the system that we have. But still, despite its flaws, it still has worked the best in history in terms of raising people out of poverty and allowing for up. Mobility and there’s a book called The Birth of Plenty that I would just recommend that talks about that and plus a couple
Pat: of other factors.
Yeah. And even just reading Milton Friedman’s books. Yeah. The great Chicago economist or
Mike: start with his, there’s a lot of lectures on
Pat: YouTube. You can, Yeah. He’s got, yeah. He makes a lot of good points. Now I don’t, agree with him on everything and I have my own many critiques of capitalism, but it’s not so much the system as it is the lack of virtue in, in people.
It’s the culture that is feeding into capitalism, I think is more of the
Mike: issue and that capitalism. Preserve or conserve a workable culture. It
Pat: can’t alone. It will devolve into tyranny as we’re seeing with these woke corporations right now, honestly, and I think that should give our libertarian friends out there somewhat pause who think that the market is the answer to everything.
That’s clearly ridiculous. The market will just efficiently allocate goods until it’s swallowed up a tyranny.
Mike: That’s what it will do until it achieves. Goal of consuming everything. It’s like cancer in that regard, right?
Pat: you want efficient allocation of resources, then yes, free exchange, private property is the best means to do that.
But to think that’s the answer to everything is it’s like a parallel to sm, but in economics, right? Yeah. . It’s no, like clearly we need to broaden the conversation here. It doesn’t reduce to this, right?
Mike: I’ve tried to have this discussion with at least one of my Libertarian friends and he refuses.
He has a couple of sources. He likes that it’s complete revisionist history of the Robert Bear and the Giled age and what actually happened there. How Rockefeller, Carnegie Ford Morgan, how guys like them. Acquired so much wealth so quickly. It wasn’t just because they offered the best products at the best prices.
No. They were ruthless business people who destroyed competition at any cost. They broke every law, they did anything it took to destroy their competition. And now I would actually have. It’d be a more interesting discussion if my buddy would say, Yes, that’s true, but it was better because in the case of John Rockefeller, he was better.
He was just better at business than in the market was better, there was less volatility. The oil was at a very high standard in terms of. How it was refined and he got rid of the booms and busts and I think that actually that argument makes more sense than saying no, we don’t need government to be involved at all because Rockefeller just, he out
Pat: businessed everybody.
Yeah. It’s revisionist history in the sense that the market can never do anything wrong or that as long as we have a market system, nothing could ever go wrong. And that’s completely empirically and historically false. And this is coming from somebody who supports market systems, right? Like I’m a fan, but again, it doesn’t reduce to that.
Yeah. So to your other points then you wanted to talk, I guess about nature. I guess we can
Mike: Just grab that little that little thread there and pull it right back to the point of equality, inequality. I think that’s a good example of what happens if you just allow nature to take its course.
You have the majority of ability and intellect and. Agency possessed in the minority of people. And so if an economic system reflected that in a very pure way, then you would expect all of the resources essentially to go to those people.
Pat: Yeah. So I just wanna be careful here because there’s often equivocation over, over nature and a way that I might use nature.
It might be very different than how other people use nature. So in, in terms of ethics, I’m a traditional natural law theorist. So when we use a term nature, we really mean something like essence or substantial form. More of a metaphysical meaning. Yeah. Yeah. And it’s very specific, right?
Like that first organizing principle that makes something, the kind of thing that it is, like us being a rational animal, human nature, or the nature of triangular or the nature of being a dog, whatever that is, . So there’s definitely those out there. And then when you say, when you talk about what the good of something is you have to consider.
It’s nature, it’s specific nature, and what makes for a good instance of that kind of thing. Now what you don’t wanna do is you wanna just say like mother nature or nature at large, because then you’re gonna, you’re just gonna conflate and confuse the conversation. And certainly, I don’t think anybody wants to just base like human morality off of quote unquote mother nature.
Like just because one shark forcibly populates with another shark, does that mean that we should do that with each
Mike: other? The reason why I said it is, That’s what people say. Like I know that’s a line
Pat: of things. It is. And that’s so when I, introduce traditional natural law, people will sometimes bring that up and it’s, it is just a straw man.
It’s a misunderstanding of what I mean by nature. They’re like, Oh, this happens in nature, so it must be okay. No, that’s not what we’re talking about. We have to consider what human nature is as rationality and what might cause us to flourish as humans is obviously a lot different than what causes an acorn to flourish, for example.
Mike: mean I can’t flourish on just like photosynthesis and
Pat: Yeah. You got like an intellect and Will and I don’t think acorns have that. The best evidence we have shows that they’re probably not rational. So whatever is, You don’t have to ask for a source on that. Yeah. Whatever is, Yeah.
What’s the science on that friend? That’s a funny thing. Can you scientifically prove that like an acorn. Isn’t conscious of course not, right? You can’t even scientifically prove that human beings are conscious. So that’s, that’s the funny thing, like science assumes that we have this sort of, this qualia as it’s called a philosophy of mind.
Like this, awareness, this inter subjective awareness. And even when you do neuroscience, like you never find that, right? You find physical brain states that seem to correlate with it. So imagine this is a cool thought experiment. Imagine you were an alien or whatever. You come to earth and like you’re doing like all this neuroscientific imaging of a human brain and you’ve never met a human before or anything else.
You would never know from the science that there’s an inner first person sense of experience like in that. You would never know that, ever. The only reason we do know it is because we experience it and we infer that other people are like us. So in philosophy, this is known as the problem of other minds, right?
How do we know that people have other minds? And science can’t answer that question at all. Marketing
Mike: gives us a practical answer cuz the principles work of persuasion, influence in sales. They work consistently from person to person. .
Pat: But you can play the skeptic and maybe you’re, they’re just really cleverly disguised androids, right?
Okay. So they really seem like they have it and nobody denies that. But how do you really know, right? How do you really know that they’re conscious and they have this interior subjective awareness like you do. That’d
Mike: be a strange way to live. Even I would argue that even if it were true, Completely, or in some way it would not be conducive to good living.
It would not help you flourish. You would not have a good time. So maybe just don’t even worry about it. It’s
Pat: not true. So don’t worry about that. And there’s no, I know, but what I’m saying is like
Mike: there’s a point of live as if it is true and see how that goes.
Pat: And you don’t wanna be a soloist. Yeah,
Mike: for sure.
That might be enough to discourage you be like, Yeah, I, who knows what’s true, but I’m not gonna play by those. The
Pat: point of raising these questions is just to get people to think about assumptions. They’re just fun. Now, don’t stare up at the ceiling at night. There’s good answers to these.
I’m not gonna give ’em now, but they can be argued. Yeah. But yeah, in terms of human flourishing, Yeah, the great thinkers in this tradition, the way you go about this is you think very deeply about what human nature is and then what would be perfective of it or cause it to be the most excellent instance of its kind.
So let’s start with a simple example, like a triangle. Cause it’s a lot easier to think about a triangle than a human. We know when a triangle is carefully drawn with straight sides and sharp angles for the protractor, we say that’s a good triangle, right? Because we have a concept of what triangular is, three sides whose angles add up to 180 degrees, something like that.
And if somebody like hastily draws a triangle in the backseat of a school bus and it’s real squiggly sides and rounded angles, we say that’s a bad triangle. And we don’t mean that as like we’re talking about social constructs, right? We mean no ob objectively, as a matter of fact, that like fact and value are not distinct on essentials.
That’s the key.
Mike: Although at this point there are probably people who would say, no, there’s no such thing as a bad triangle.
Pat: It’s all subjective, right? So if people are gonna try and just make everything a projection of the mind, right? Like your mind just everything is a construct of the mind. That’s the argument, right?
There’s no like objectivity to be discovered in the world. You’re gonna have a another self defeat problem, because then what is the mind? Is the mind itself a construct of the. If there’s no objective reality to the mind itself, then we have like causal suey of the mind causing itself, and that’s obviously incoherent.
Nothing can cause itself cuz then it has to exist prior to itself. So again, I think you’re gonna be in this radically self defeating position if you try to make everything just like a construct of the mind. But once you grant that there’s at least one like objectively real thing in the world, then there’s no kind.
Reason to arbitrarily deny that there are other objective real things in the world, especially when it seems so obviously the case that there are, and especially if you love science. Yeah. And especially if you love philosophy, you better be committed to essentialism because you’re gonna need that to ground things like the identity of things, their endurance over time, and even just concepts and language is going, We’re going to need all of this in order to have any type of rational discourse, philosophical conversation, scientific experimentation anyhow.
So somebody could try and push that radical line. I think at most everybody would have to seem, that just seems really weird. But there’s ways to push back against it by showing that it just. Incoherent at the end of the day, right? Once you understand that there can be better or worse instances of something of what a good instance is, these principles carry over to humanity as well.
Now, the problem is humans are a lot more complicated , right? Than geometric figures. So it takes a lot more thinking and contemplation on human nature to discern what is a good life? That’s what we’re asking, right? What is a good human life? What is it that makes a good person? So we do wanna be committed to the idea that you can be a good person or you could be a bad person.
Just like you can have better or worse triangles, you can have better or worse trees. And just notice that there’s already implic, like you’re gonna need this again for even medicine to work, right? Because to even diagnose disorders, you have to have. Like range of normativity where you say, No, this is good.
This is what we want.
Mike: That’s under attack as well though, right? Healthy. At any size, I can be 400 pounds and have diabetes and metabolic syndrome and not exercise ever and eat five cheeseburgers a day and smoke and drink, and I’m healthy because I say I’m healthy. And when I have the heart attack and die, that was a social construct.
Pat: These are the consequences of these types of broadly egalitarian, very left philosophies, I think are deeply incoherent. It leads people into this line of thinking, which I think is both not just dangerous, but immoral, right? Because the moral content comes from fulfilling these various potencies that we have to be.
To be the best instance of the kind of thing that we are. So morality comes online and
Mike: physical excellence would
Pat: one aspect, right? Not thwarting your flourishing because you’re really just you’re harming yourself by neglecting the virtues of temperance and fortitude would be two ones that are related to health.
So it’s interesting you bring that up cuz you’re right, it is under attack. But take another instance. Take like something like clubfoot, unless we have an understanding of what like a human foot should be, why should we treat things like that? Or any medical disease, right? Unless we have an understanding that there’s like a range of normativity, of what, like a good instance is, then medicine’s gone man.
Like it makes no sense. So it’s not just that it, these sort. Radically subjectivist, very skeptical. Postmodern philosophies are incoherent. They also are gonna undermine all the things that we think are good and necessary and important in the world. Science, philosophy, medicine, all of it, right? And we’re just seeing some of these implications in a real annoying sense, and yet this like healthy at any size movement.
And I’ll just say a few things about that. Obviously I don’t think it’s true unqualified, but like part of what makes it attractive is it’s like pushing back against something. Is also not true and also unhealthy. That I think is also a failure of liberal culture, which is this idea that you only have value if you have a certain body fat percentage, right?
Or that you only have value if you look a certain way. And I think that’s stupid too. I think they’re both stupid , right? So like people like can sympathize with that. And I think rightfully that that people, become really obsessed and they feel worthless unless they look a certain way.
I’m with you and women in
Pat: a lot of pressure, and I’m with you, I condemn that 100%, but we don’t go to the other end of the insanity spectrum, right? And then just say that there’s no health consequences. There’s nothing wrong with, becoming morbidly obese or something like that. And it’s not even to say, and that itself is not to say that if you are morbidly obese, that you’re worth anything less as a person, but you are failing to flourish.
In an important way. That is true, and you are in the long run. We know empirically you might be healthy like at any snapshot in time, but in the long run, you’re just increasing your risk for any number of diseases from cancer, diabetes, stroke, you name it. They all just go right through the roof once you pass a certain threshold of weight.
Yeah. Yeah. And hopefully,
Mike: I don’t think. In my experience, that idea hasn’t gained as much currency as the media. Some of the media outlets that push it, some, you have definitely a minority of people who are, I think giving it a disproportionate or being given a disproportionately large voice, but it hasn’t gained much currency with most people in my interactions.
Now of course there’s a selection bias there, but I would say that they are pretty balanced with it actually, and are more in the middle where they don’t care. And I deal mostly with like normal seems as you normal everyday people. They have jobs, they have families, they care about their fitness, but they’re not in the gym three hours a day and they don’t live and die by their body fat percentage.
However, they do recognize the value of being. and they understand that fit is a range of, call it body composition, and they just want to be somewhere in the range of being fit and that is healthy. That’s where I would be maybe a little bit, because of my work, I have to be, would almost appear a little bit neurotic about it.
To look a certain way to say, Hey, I, the walk, I don’t feel like I’m neurotic about it, but it might seem that way if people understood like, Okay, here, you wanna know how to stay at 8% body fat as a guy, here’s what it takes actually. You’re not gonna be eating out much, you’re not gonna be varying your food much.
You’re gonna be watching your calories, you’re gonna not be missing workouts, blah, blah, blah. Just is what it is. And if I wasn’t working in the industry, I might be a little. Looser with it, but I like it. I’ve gotten used to the routine. I like the discipline of it, so maybe not, but again, I think it’s a hard idea to sell even that just the average person on, because their instincts immediately kick in.
They go, No, there, there’s just something wrong with that. I don’t care how many big words you throw at me, and I don’t care how many studies you say, show this, that, or the other. No, it’s just
Pat: wrong. People do have a fairly decent internal BS detector. That’s definitely true. And I agree. The vast majority of people I’ve worked with have really no interest in that movement at all.
At least not like a full on serious interest. But yeah, just coming back to, again, like the nature of humanity, it’s important to just unpack it a little bit and then we can tie this back in and wrap this up. I could jam all day on this, but we can make it a series
Mike: if we want. Yeah.
Specifically what I would want just to say for myself, so let’s take this point of that. There’s inequality everywhere. Is that part of the nature of humanity? And then there’s the feeling cuz there are people who would say, they would probably agree with what you’re gonna say, but they’d say, but it’s just unfair.
It’s just unfair. We just, we
Pat: have to fix that. So let’s talk about the good of humans, right? So already talked about that there can be like good instances of things. So what is proper to a human? What should a human have by nature that if a human is missing, that we can say like that?
Yeah, that’s a bad thing. If a triangle is missing straight sides. The classic, philosophers, Plato Aristotle, they harped on, and I think they were right about this. The virtues, right? The virtues. And then this gets extended throughout, throughout the kind of natural law history.
And it’s broken off into two categories, ultimately by Thomas Aquinas who would hold that. There’s kind of supernatural virtues and there are natural virtues. Now, the highest end, somebody like Aquinas would argue, and I would agree with him, is that in virtue of being rational animals, we have intellect and will, the highest end is to know the truth about everything and to love.
That which is truth itself. And ultimately that means finding, seeking and knowing God. And the Pagan philosophers were interesting about that cause Aristotle got to that position himself. Aquinas just extends it in light of what he thinks is authentic revelation. So if there is like any like proper, ultimate, supernatural end for humanity, it’s going to deal into sort of theological realm.
I think that’s correct. We can bracket that off for another conversation. But it’s important you don’t bracket that off too much because if you miss that, you miss the whole point of what it is to be human. I guess before
Mike: you make the leap to Aquinas and. Classical, the, you’d say, is the supreme
Pat: creator of everything, right?
Plao would say, we have the form of the good and stuff like that, right? So when you read Plato, you, it seems to him like, yeah, the highest end for us is to contemplate the form of the good, this realm of the unchanging and the, and eternal forms. And I would argue that Plato’s really just getting at God there.
There’s important distinctions that are just, we don’t need to get into it for this conversation, but going to the natural virtues, things like justice, prudence, temperance, and fortitude. These the four cardinal virtues That are, that really mark us off as excellent humans. As good humans.
When we exhibit and develop these virtues and virtues are habit. They’re good habits. That’s what they are. So prudence is practical, good reasoning, right? And this is being able to use the experience from the past to make good decisions in the present for better outcomes in the future. So prudence is like the chariot virtue that helps you to figure out how to apply all the other virtues in various situations.
Because the world is complicated and we’re complicated, right? So that’s why we need prudence. Justice is giving to somebody what they are owed. Now this will tie into egalitarianism, right? Because our people owed absolute equality of outcome, right? It doesn’t seem So this point of fairness, right?
And right there, like it doesn’t seem like it, right? Because it seems like humans in virtue being rational animals have some sort of true freedom, right? And that we can merit certain things. Now, some things I think we can argue are owed just in virtue of what we are, right? That there are some things that we are owed.
For example, like we are owed the love and respect of our neighbor. Now, not all ideas are good, but all people deserve to be loved and respected. That’s something that everybody is owed in virtue of what they are. Are they owed the same amount of, Would you not
Mike: think that respect is more something to be earned than just given that are connotations to
No. I think respecting people in virtue of what they are, as for me, being aid in the image and likeness of God is owed to them no matter what. That doesn’t mean you have to agree with them. It doesn’t mean that you have to respect all their opinions, but you do have to respect them in virtue of what they are ultimately.
So a basic level of admiration? Yeah. Of, trying to steer away from degrading somebody’s character, slandering people. And now there’s other vices attached to that too. So the vice is the opposite of virtue, right? It’s a deficiency where you should have a perfection. That’s what a vice is. Lying about people that would be vicious behavior, stuff like that.
So there are certain things, and for example, like children in virtue of what they are owed my parental love, respect, and education in the virtues. So I’m, I believe, totally in positive rights that positive rights do exist, that people can be owed something in the order of justice, and children are owed the love, respect, and education, especially moral education from their parents.
And if I don’t deliver that, I am incurring guilt upon myself. I am not fulfilling my obligations and justice to my children. Conversely, children owe their parents. Admiration, respect, attention, honor, all these things. Now, we can say that when these obligations are both fulfilled, that everybody benefits, right?
Like we could see that when the parents care for their children, love for their children, raise their children, right? When the children respond to the teachings of their parents, when the children respect their parents, and the parents are sacrificial self leaders, everybody is gonna flourish from that.
Now, not everybody hits that standard, but we can see that if those standards are fulfilled, it’s good. And also in the order of nature, because we have that bond of justice between parents and children, it would be massively unjust for the state to eliminate the family unit. , right? Like we have a massive injustice on something that has been set out that is conducive to our flourishing, that helps us to be excellent humans.
If the state were to eradicate that would be massively. Immoral, massively immoral.
Mike: Milton Friedman makes good points about that just in the economic realm. I remember watching, it was a little like q and a session he was having, and one of the kids in the crowd was saying that he thinks there should be a 100% inheritance tax because that would have no negative impact on the incentive to produce.
Cuz who cares? You’re dead. Why do you care where your money goes? And Friedman had a good response to that. That like essentially no, you’re so wrong, You can’t be more wrong. That would . Look at what parents are willing to do, look at how much they’re willing to sacrifice of their life
Pat: for their children.
And so he’s good cuz he makes the kind of prudential and economic arguments I wanna. A stronger statement, I wanna make a moral argument because whatever the economics are, like, they’re secondary to the moral case, right? The moral case is the more important case. So what would be the case for some sort of inheritance?
One is that parents have an obligation to care for their children, and from that we actually have a moral case for private property. How can I care for my children? How can I provide for them unless I can save something right? And plan for the future. If you’re denying me private property, you’re denying me what I owe to my children in the order of justice.
You’re thwarting my flourishing, you’re thwarting me developing in virtue and being a good human. At that point,
Mike: also, the same people would say yes, your children don’t even belong to you though. They actually belong to the state and to the collective.
Pat: And that’s clearly ridiculous right now.
You, you would need some type of moral framework to justify that. And if you’re gonna abandon traditional, natural, Which I don’t think can be coherently done. Cause if you’re holding to traditional natural law, right? So we’re building off of assumptions. So if the assumptions of what I’m working from here, essentialism and telogy, that there really are essence and that these essence are oriented towards a particular outcomes that are perfective of them, then these consequences that I’m drawing out just follow naturally from that.
So you would have to go back and try and argue at the assumptions themselves, and I just don’t think you can coherently do it right. And then what are you gonna replace with it? Utilitarian. Pragmatism, Consequentialism, egalitarianism, all this stuff is horrific nonsense. And it doesn’t have any sort of sound philosophical foundation that could even justify it, right?
The assumptions are just it’s suspended in mid-air. That’s what people don’t realize about A lot of these sort of modern, ethical theories is there, like they’re based off of rejections of traditional ethics, but nothing sound has ever come in to replace it at its foundation. Like ever , they just took off.
And that’s why I think they’re so horrible. And we could go through each one of those if we wanted to, or we could do it at a different podcast, but it just wouldn’t be enough to just assert that, right? You would have to say what’s wrong? With the philosophical worldview that I’m articulated right now.
Cause if you grant me these things, then it’s just gonna seem to follow. Within the sort of natural order of things, the family unit is far more essential than the state and the collective. And in fact, this is why we call the family unit the first society, cuz whatever else the nation is, it’s an extension of the family and that a good nation should be doing everything it can to support and protect and create healthy family units because a healthy family unit leads to a healthy state.
But if you don’t have healthy family units, you start to get a corrupted and degraded state. So any attempts of a state trying to undermine or degrade of the family unit is always going to be inherently immoral, but it’s also going to inherently corrupt the state. And
Mike: there’s plenty of evidence for that.
There’s a lot of research that the body of evidence makes that clear. Uh, 100%. If they don’t have a strong family unit, they do not do well on average. They’re more likely to get into crime, drop outta school, get into drugs. . It is not a workable system for, It’s not, And again, like you said, it’s not just about, Oh, the family and the kid.
No. That, that then turns into the entire culture, the entire society, the entire civilization.
Pat: And so on the tradition we’re working from, we do have positive obligations to justice. And there can be cases made from the traditional natural law perspective. I think good cases that the state has a role to play in at least providing some level of welfare for the people, right?
At least some level of base needs for the people. Now there’s great room for debate within. Traditional natural law theory of how much in what areas, et cetera, and I just, It’d be way too much to settle now, but certainly it’s rejected unanimously that any form of utilitarianism could ever forget the outcomes, right?
We have, in principle, moral problems. This could never even be moral to start with because it’s so undermines and frustrates what is necessary for human flourishing to begin with, right? By undermining human property, by undermining the family unit. All these things are just so awar. Human nature. And what we need to really flourish is the kinds of beings that we are, that you can’t even get it off the ground philosophically, let alone make an economic or prudential case for it.
Mike: what about this idea of fairness, though, where people would hear a lot of this and say and a lot of this comes down to material comfort, right? So egalitarians assume that all people deserve material comfort, right? Which is almost like a religious opinion. How are you gonna prove that?
, I think it’s more of a preference, but that it’s unfair that some people have a lot and other people don’t have anything. Or that it’s unfair that some people are treated. Worse than
Pat: others and so forth, right? Yeah. So I would say a couple things. One, if we’re gonna talk about fairness, we have to have a good conception of justice.
And justice is this kind of constant and perpetual will to give to somebody what they are deserved. And I’ve argued that there’s at least some things and probably a good number of things that are owed to people in virtue of what they are. But there are other things that are owed to people and virtue of what they.
That of course is gonna bear heavily on this conversation. Are people just owed the same amount of income no matter what, or is it fair to use that terminology to compensate people more who do harder, more difficult jobs or put in more hours cetera, et cetera? And I think most people’s instinct here would be the correct one to say no.
Like the people who do the harder, more difficult jobs, the more T jobs, the jobs that require more training and expertise because they sacrifice more, probably deserve some higher level of compensation. And it would be unfair in a sort of Marxist way to equalize that. And that’s one of the other problems of egalitarianism is say you did equalize that.
Okay, but then, so you’re gonna, you’re not gonna have resentment on income anymore, but now you’re just gonna have resentment of like, why does this guy get the same amount of money that I do when he’s got a way better job? ,
Mike: Why should I not just spend all my time pursuing pleasure? Why should I sacrifice so much for people who are outside of my, comes back to the family?
Pat: So there’s two kind of perennial problems I think with he
Mike: gets to just have a good time over. He just eats food and has sex all day. And I’m here in the mines,
Pat: like now I’m the plumber. Yeah. What’s going on with this and what are you gonna do? Rotate people through every possible job at the exact amount.
I It gets ridiculous to try and think this stuff through, but say, these are the two perennial problems of critiques of Marxism even today, is that you have incentive problems and you have economic calculation problems. The incentive problem is what we’re talking about, which is more, again, of a pragmatic issue.
Forget the kind of moral questions for a second, but it’s Yeah. If somebody is guaranteed. Equal outcome, What incentive is there to do anything but the bare minimum of what you’re assigned and what’s gonna prevent people from being massively resentful of the people who get the better, easier, pushier jobs, but still have the same outcome?
I don’t think there’s any good answers to that, honestly. If you want a
Mike: good example of how it goes, just look to the problem that the USSR had with their farms, right? Where you had these massive farms that were under producing and you had individuals that got so bad they would have their own little, like mini farms because they just wanted food, so they started growing their own food.
And then if that, Did too. Then the state would come destroy their little farm. Imagine living in a society like that.
Pat: Yeah. Who would want, Who would ever want that? And then you have the kind of economic calculation problems, which people like Friedman articulate beautifully, right? It’s if you don’t have markets there to give price as a signal to allocate resources efficiently, you’re just going to have massive inefficiency in the system, which will probably ultimately lead to severe famines, stuff like that, right?
Which we’ve seen time and time and time again in these communist socialist countries. So those are just two, on the ground pragmatic issues that I think are serious, real critiques of egalitarian, Marxist, regimes in one sense, I do wanna say that. Obligations on us individuals, family units, local societies, and larger societies to provide for people on certain levels.
Now, there’s something also known in kind of ethics as the principles of city severity, right? That my obligations to the poor begin with me. Directly. And that it’s good for me and I should want to do things to care for the poor in any way that I am personally able to, right? And that I think that’s an obligation everybody has and that everybody needs to fulfill to really flourish as a human being.
But that doesn’t mean that the state should come, that the state should take all that over. In fact, it would be frustrating to an extent if the did, the state did that. Now, obviously, I can’t take care of everybody by myself, and this is where. Nations come into play, but there should still be principles of subsidiary where you try to handle things as locally as possible first, right?
That you try to handle whatever issues you can in a governmental sense by a government that is as close and as attentive to the community’s needs as possible. So on a smaller scale, First possible if it can’t happen there first, then you kick it up a level. Maybe you go from the local community to the state, for example, and if it can’t happen there, then you kick it up a level after that, to the federal government.
But this is a principle that often gets massively overlooked, but can’t be overlooked when we’re talking about things like justice. Fairness and because the needs of people in one community might be massively different than the needs of people in another community. And the only way to be able to try and establish any type of justice there is you need some degree of attentiveness and alertness to the situations on
I always find it ironic when people who are on the other side of this opinion or debate give no money or no time to helping anyone in need. They just wh a lot on social media and they vote for politicians who say that they’ll ju Yeah. We’ll take everything from the people who have stuff and we’re gonna give it to the people who don’t.
We’re gonna make everything free that there must be so much cognitive dissonance like way to live to your principles,
Pat: buddy. I mean there’s studies on this. I don’t have the numbers fresh off the top of my head right now, but they do find that, yeah, conservative and more religious people do tend to be more charitable as.
Isn’t the Catholic
Mike: church, the biggest charitable organization,
Pat: one out of every six hospital beds in the world is because of the Catholic Church, right? It always has been and probably always will be the world’s largest charitable organization. Everything we love about the world, people don’t realize comes from, in Western civilization comes from the Catholic church, hospitals, hospices, universities, you name it, if the Catholic church didn’t invent it, it at least brought it to the masses.
Where before it was only just for a restricted kind of elite at the Times. It was a good book by Tom Woods. He’s a historian out of, is it Harvard or Columbia? I forget which one he’s out of, but he’s got a book called How the Catholic Church built Western Civilization and he just goes a show like, Hey, this thing you love, here’s where it came from, right?
this other thing you love, here’s where it came from. So you know, before people go and wanna tear down all this stuff, I think it would be useful for them to understand where it came from and the principles that made them possible. I agree.
Mike: Now another. Thing that a lot of people are saying is they would agree with a lot of what we’ve said, but they would say that, Is it fair that just through the circumstances of birth, so let’s just say that somebody would accept that, okay, you do deserve the people who work more and sacrifice more, deserve more.
And those, some of those other points that you were making, they’d say, Sure, but you are only in the position to be able to do that because of things that are outside of your control because you were born to loving parents and you have an above average iq. You didn’t work for that. You just got it given to you, so on and so forth.
You know where this argument goes. What are your thoughts on that? So they would say I don’t know what you’re supposed to do about it, but minimally you’re supposed to have a deep sense of guilt and shame that you represent this inequality and it is not that person’s fault that they didn’t work as hard
Pat: as you.
People use the term privilege, right? And I think that this is a, again, another equivocation of their kind of redefinition Privilege was always something that was given by like a corporation or the state to give somebody, the ability to do something or some. Here’s a good example of a, of an actual privilege in a traditional sense would be affirmative action, for example.
That’s like a true, a privilege. What people are using when they mean privilege. Now in today’s society, like you have white privilege or family privilege or something like that, they really just mean unearned benefits. That’s what they mean, unearned benefits. Now why unearth should I be ashamed of my unearned benefits?
Cause everybody, most everybody has unearned benefits in at least something, right? Whether it exactly of
Mike: some kind. You also have unearned. You came into the world, we all had unearned penalties as well.
Pat: Right now. So I wanna acknowledge some things that I think are right because I think people will find that I’m much more in the middle than they might initially seem.
In a sense that should you ever be ashamed for honor owned benefits? Absolutely not. That’s ridiculous. Do you have moral obligations to your fellow human beings that you need to fulfill? Yeah, of course. And if you study traditional virtue ethics, you’ll realize that to be a good person is to be a charitable person.
To try and lift other people up who might not have the same benefits as you, but to do so voluntarily and freely, that’s what we wanna foster in people, right? We wanna foster the desire to love and care for other people because we know that is what is conducive to all of our flourishing. What we don’t wanna foster is what’s being fostered now, which is just resentment.
Right resentment of all their classes of people, which just breeds hate and division. So that I just stand completely opposed by. But if you say what about people who, were born in dire situations, shouldn’t we give them a helping hand? I wanna say, yeah. And let’s talk about the best ways to do that.
First on a local level of possible, maybe through private organizations and charities, and then if we need to have some state intervention, let’s do it. And at least on basic principle, there probably wouldn’t be much disagreement there. It’d just maybe come down to application instance and are we trying to instill virtue or breed resentment?
Because those are two radically different things. If we’re trying to get people a virtuous population, I’m all for it. If you’re trying to get like class warfare based on economic status or race or anything like that, then I have nothing but contempt for that. I think it’s evil and corrupt and will lead to tyranny.
So with those distinctions being made, again, I think some people are, Deserved of something in virtue of what they are, no matter what. And we need every type of protection, including from the state if necessary to do it. Life is one of those things. So I think abortion should be completely outlawed. It’s like hard to make sense of how anybody could be owed anything else if they don’t first have the right to life, right?
Cause any other rights we have are just instrumental, like the right to property or the right to privacy, right? All that just extends from us having inherent value of being the kinds of things we are. So it would make no sense to say that we need to protect or like a woman’s right to privacy. But at the same time it make human life absolutely indispensable.
Cuz the only reason privacy has any value is instrumentally because of what it attaches to first off. So I think things like abortion in society are horribly unjust. That is our society’s slavery. It is, and that’s something that people need to realize is that just because we’re living in contemporary times doesn’t mean that we don’t have moral blind spots like other societies have.
There’s a lot of. Great research on this of kind of the cognitive bias, especially of people who are more educated and intelligent of how they just have these moral blind spots. A lot is probably the result of the education of course, but just as people were morally blind to atrocities in the past, we shouldn’t just assume that we’re not morally blind to atrocities now.
And I think abortion is the hallmark example. I’m sure we will, but hope it comes sooner rather than later, that we’ll look back on abortion with as much horror and grotesqueness as we look back on slavery, it’s despicable. So that’s something where I think we need more justice, coming in from, even if it has to be a, at a higher up level, other things would be like, yeah, you had two good parents, actually I did it and I’m the product of divorce, so I didn’t, have that unearned benefit.
Obviously, as you said, Mike, people who have good loving parents who stay together and don’t get divorced have better outcomes. This is absolutely true, and that’s what we would expect as well. Given the arguments I’ve made. So should society, what should society do for people who don’t have that?
I think we should try to make sure that we stabilize family units, that we support family units so we don’t disrupt them. So let’s get rid of stupid laws like no fault divorce and stuff like that really have subversively undermined the family unit. Let’s make sure that we get clear on what marriage is and how important family stability is.
And of course, there’s deeper issues of just making sure that when we educate people on public education, that it’s not just about gender theory, which I don’t think should be taught at all. That seems ridiculous to me, but about virtue. That was the whole kind of Aristotelian platonic idea of education to begin with.
We need a virtuous citizenry. That’s the only way a society is going to be sustainable. So if education should do anything, it should be first to make sure that our citizens are virtuous, not resentful. So we have the opposite. We’re just so inverted in society today. So the, I guess the general point is I would agree with many of the initial sentiments, but I would probably disagree with how they’re enacted and what exactly we’re targeting or how we would’ve targeted.
Mike: Yeah, put, And it starts with the individual, which you’ve made that point. I I don’t talk about it cuz I’m not interested in virtue signaling because it’s relevant. I’ll say that for years now, I’ve given on average 10% of my personal income to charities, to causes that I believe in and support.
And my purpose of supporting those causes is because I like you want to see a more virtuous society and a society full of people who are just doing better. I like to see people do well for. Anybody listening who wants to try to make a difference, You can start there. You can just start with giving some of your money.
I don’t give any of my time cuz all I do is work honestly. And outside of that I’m with my family. That will probably change in the future. I’m not against giving my time, that’s a different discussion. Why the opportunities I have and I have some strategic goals and, but I’ve given a lot of money and I think that counts for something
Pat: Or good ideas, is just to do like voluntary activity with your family too.
Like what a great way to train your kids and in virtue and to see stuff like that. To really
Mike: I do agree. I do agree. So let’s touch on one more thing and that is this point of equality of opportunity. What are your thoughts on striving to accomplish
Pat: that? So there’s, Yeah, and I would just say that if you’re thinking that you’re ever going to achieve true equality of opportunity, you’re gonna be led down to the same absurd results.
Like essentially you’re gonna collapse into equality of outcome. That’s the funny thing, right? Yes. We’re back to the brain renewal. Yeah. So by trying to take a step back, you’ve just fallen into the same hole. However, does that mean that we shouldn’t try to provide public education? No.
That doesn’t mean that at all, right? It just means that we realistically understand that the whole idea of equality of opportunity is. Not only, just not feasible, it would be in practice. Im moral. But there’s nothing to stop you from admitting that to saying, look, I still think that we should try to get everybody a good education, for example.
Mike: people up and try to help them as much
Pat: as we can. Yeah. And that’s just of, again, in the order of justice and how you do that again individually as a family, locally and greater society is, for me, that is a wide open, both philosophical and empirical debate. So some of these questions are empirical, like we put policies in place and then we just gotta see, what are the outcomes?
So some of these things I just, I wouldn’t have the answer to cuz I just don’t know the data. So I think you can lay down moral principles, but then, and then you can work within those moral principles. But then a lot of the questions really just are empirical questions. Okay. Let’s, And that’s the cool thing about the idea of federalism, at least as originally conceived, is The states could be somewhat testing grounds in a way, right?
, like we could see wow, what policies would really, produce the kind of results that we want. And that’s again, another reason for kind of subsidiary, not just efficiency, but we could have a sort of testing ground to see okay, this state is doing it this way. They’re doing public education, from this model.
This state’s using voucher systems or something like that. Let’s compare and see the results and, try and control for important relevant variables, which is always difficult in social and economic sciences. But what I’m saying, like largely is a lot, some of these questions really to me would just be only answerable once we start to get data in
Mike: on it.
. Yeah, I agree. And there’s first, though, at least agreeing. Some element of the premise, should we even pursue this? Yes, we should pursue it in the right way and see what works and what doesn’t. And that of course, then assumes though that we have the right end that we are aiming at. And I would say that currently that is not the case in many aspects of our culture.
I think that it’s not by accident. Like you had said that many of we seem to be inverted in many ways. I don’t think that’s by accident. No. It’s not believe something like that just happens out of the random chaos of existence.
Pat: Yeah. And I wanna be clear, I don’t think everybody’s like in a big conspiracy theory.
I just mean that certain intellectuals have been very successful at getting certain philosophies into institutions, and that many people have just been trained in that. They’ve been studied in that, and they just they aren’t even aware of competing theories often time. So I’m not saying like there’s.
Conspiratorial malice out there.
Mike: I think there is, I think there’s good evidence that there is, and that’s the theme of history. I’ve said this so many times, if you, how can you study history even just briefly and say the phrase or the conspiracy theory? You mean the most common theme?
In history when it comes to power and politics. Since the beginning of time powerful people have been conspiring by definition . It’s like you think we’re not doing that anymore though.
Pat: But let me clarify. Let me clarify. So I definitely believe that there are wicked people who have purposely done wicked things.
There’s no doubt about that. You there’s absolutely no doubt. Of course. And
Mike: people who are in power and actually have some
Pat: influence, and have influence. All that I would say is that a lot of the people who go along with this are just not that people, They’re just not those people.
And many of them go along with it with perfectly good intentions. They just don’t see alternatives or no better. Stalin’s useful idiots. Yeah. think it’s a lot more of it is attributable to ignorance than malice, but I can see your point that there is a good amount of it that is attributable to mal.
For sure. So I just wanna, It’s all about making distinctions, right?
Mike: Yeah. Yeah. Totally. Those were all the main questions that I had for you. I think this was, I enjoyed the discussion. I think people listening Will, will enjoy it. I look forward to hearing any feedback.
Anybody listening, you can shoot me an email, Mike, at multiple life.com. Pat, if they wanna reach out to you, what’s the best way for them?
Pat: Yeah, [email protected] is my email. Always happy to see questions and feedback. It certainly be welcoming to that. And yeah man, this has been a ton of fun.
I know we bounced all over the place. I’m trying to think if people are, some like resources, if people wanna, Yeah. And let
Mike: me just quickly throw in, just is this, would you agree with this statement, just to wrap up this point of fairness, that it is fair in the sense of how you’ve defined.
Justice. It’s not your definition. This is, this is there’s a lot of thought that has gone into why that word is defined that way by many people. Who other people would agree. Were very smart people and very conscientious people. That it is inequality can absolutely Inequality of opportunity.
Inequality of outcome can be fair in the sense that it can. Deserved. It is not just inherently unfair because there are inequalities between people. Yeah.
Pat: I think I’d be willing to endorse that. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t other inequalities that we might wanna pay a attention to and try to reduce.
So it’s, I think I just want to make that, I you
Mike: just take inequality of wealth. I don’t wanna go off on a whole tangent on that, but of course you’re gonna always have some of that if you’re gonna have a system that runs on markets and that’s the best we’ve got. But you’re gonna have some of that.
But if it gets too out of hand, then it just becomes destructive to the society and people can no longer flourish. I think it’s funny when people complain about what’s going on today, and you just look at what was happening toward the end of, before the Roman Empire became the Byzantine before.
Pat: Split. There’s interesting parallels to be sure. Oh,
Mike: for sure. There are many, but it got so bad. People , you had enormously wealthy people, so you had the Bezos and the gates and these guys, and you didn’t just have the poor, you had the dismally poor, you had these starving in the streets, literally have nothing left to even live for
Yeah. So then if you were to say, is that just, I’d say absolutely not right? Yeah, absolutely not but yeah, if you’re just saying is it just to have any inequalities at all? I’d say yes, of course. It’s not only just at speed, two be expected, but there are of course degrees to all this that need to be.
Carefully considered. And it ultimately comes down to do you think that people are, have any moral responsibility whatsoever? And I think the answer there is obviously yes, they do. But that again we can do like a whole nother conversation on free will, maybe at some point there.
That could be a good one. But yeah, a book, a real good book, introductory textbook to Natural Law Grab. I would recommend, if you’re interested in ethics, there’s a great book called Right and Reason by Austin fgo, The Right and Reason. And that’s a great book cuz it will introduce competing moral theories.
So you’ll get like a nice overview of the different philosophical schools of thought on ethics. And then of course he’s gonna make the case for. The traditional natural law and the virtue ethics, from Aristotle to Aquinas is the way to go. So I’d recommend that one. I just
Mike: added it to my Be Smarter Books list on Amazon
Mike: Thank you as always. I really enjoy these discussions. I look forward to the next one. And let’s wrap up with, why don’t you tell people about your newest book that I am like maybe 60% through and really enjoying. I’ve been going through it carefully because it is intellectually, Rigorous, and you have to take your time.
But I’ve found it very interesting, and again, it’s an area that I haven’t studied too much about. So for me, an introduction to some of these concepts that you’re talking
Pat: about in the book. Cool. Yeah. So the book is called How to Think About God, and it is a snippet from a larger book project I’m working on, and it itself is a sort of rep presentation or repurposing of some work I did in my master’s program on philosophy of metaphysics trying to present.
What’s called natural theology, which is just armchair philosophical thinking about the ultimate foundations of things. Can we give arguments for God’s existence? And from those arguments, can we learn anything about God? And I wanna say yes to both of those questions. So it’s a work of philosophy, not theology.
And I’m borrowing insights again from Plato, Aristotle, Gustin Aquinas, but also many great contemporary thinkers on the scene as well, and trying to incorporate them into a contemporary argument for what’s called classical theism. And that’s a tradition that holds to a very robust conception of monotheism of an absolutely simple.
God. So if people are interested in that, and I think like how can you not be, right? We’re talking about the ultimate foundation of things. And once you, and that’s the interesting thing about politics, you start asking enough political questions, you’ll get to ethical questions, right? You start asking enough ethical questions, you’ll get to metaphysical questions.
So I would argue you, you might as well just start with metaphysics. Get yourself straightened out there and then work everything else out downstream. Probably save
Mike: yourself some time and some frustration and get better results
Pat: along the way. So it’s only a buck and like I said, it’s just a snippet, so it’s very short, like 40 pages, and it’s just a kind of a preview from this larger book project I’m working on.
And for me it was just some, a matter of getting some feedback and skin in the game as try and pull the bigger thing together. And it’s on Amazon, so how to Think About God by Pat Flynn. There’s another book called How to Think About God by Mortar, Mej Adler. And he’s a great thinker. I actually borrowed the title from him because his book was one of the first books I read on natural theology.
And I, now I disagree with him. I think he was wrong on a couple. Fine points that are probably too boring to acknowledge now, but I’m giving a nod to him. Adler’s a brilliant thinker. He’s also got a book called How to Read a book, which is one of the best books in the world. He teaches you how to Yeah, the name sounded familiar.
I was like, didn’t. So yeah, just to be clear, there’s my version of it, which is the $1 ebook, but Adlers is still worth picking up in and of itself.
Mike: Awesome. Otherwise, where can people find you to check out your other stuff, your fitness stuff, and if you have anything else on the way that you want people to know about this will probably go up two to four weeks from today.
So if there’s anything else you want people to know, let’s let ’em know.
Pat: Yeah, no thanks. I appreciate it. Yeah, my podcast is the Pat Flynn Show, so if you enjoyed this jam session, you’ll probably enjoy some of the content there. Like I said, I do philosophy episodes every Friday, some theology on Sunday, and then, like a mix of fitness and business and stuff during the weekday.
So that’s the Pat Flynn show. My website is chronicles or strength.com. And if you like kettlebell workouts, I got a nice compendium of 101 free kettlebell workouts and you can get that at 101 the numbers, 101 kettlebell workouts.com and that
Mike: should do it. Awesome, man. Thanks again. I look forward to the next one.
We’ll have to figure out what we wanna pontificate on next.
Pat: For sure, man, this has been a blast.
Mike: All right. That’s it for today’s episode. I hope you found it interesting and helpful, and if you did, and you don’t mind doing me a favor, could you please leave a quick review for the podcast on iTunes or wherever you are listening from?
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And last, if you didn’t like something about the show, then definitely shoot me an email at mike muscle for life.com and share your thoughts. Let me know how you think I could do this better. I read every email myself and I’m always looking for constructive feedback. All right, thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you soon.