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Personal and Ordered Freedom

George Grombacher May 23, 2023

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Personal and Ordered Freedom

Personal freedom can be found through ordered freedom. 


What games are you playing? How well do you know the rules? Are you happy playing it? 


Ordered freedom is when we engage in a voluntary game that affords us a large landscape of choice, dependent on rules and principles. It’s the sweet spot between chaos and compulsion- and the key to personal freedom. 


George talks about how to ensure you’re playing the right games. 


Here’s the podcast episode George references:


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George Grombacher

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:02
Have you ever thought about what the definition of a game is? What is a game, because we’re playing them all the time. Obviously, we grew up playing board games, we played sports, we made up our own game, we are constantly engaged in reciprocal activity. And in some form or fashion, everything that we’re doing is is a form of a game. And technically speaking, a game is a form of player sport, especially a competitive one, played according to rules and to set up a skill, strength, or luck. So there you go. Ideally, games are entered into willingly, I’m not forced to play a game, otherwise, that wouldn’t be any fun. And what’s essential about games is that the rules are clearly defined. And the participants of that game are adhering to those rules, and playing, conducting themselves and competing in the game. Being aware of those rules, so the games people play, we play an absolute lot of them. I was listening to the Jordan Peterson podcast. And every time I listened to Jordan Peterson talk, I wonder why are there so many people that dislike Jordan Peterson. And it strikes me that a lot of the people that say that they don’t like him, are just unaware of him. And they have not, which is their prerogative. And if you want to think or say something based on nothing other than you heard that he’s a bad person. So therefore, you’re going to continue to parrot that and continue to, to perpetuate and perpetrate that this is a bad human being fine. That is your prerogative. But I don’t understand how somebody who is being fair, does not listen to him and respect his intellect, and his ability to engage in very, very public conversations, where he doesn’t necessarily know the answer. And it’s clear that he is going through and exploring ideas on the fly. And what an amazing thing that is, to have somebody smart enough, brave enough, courageous enough to hit record, and then let it rip. And to admit when you’re wrong, or to say, Oh, that’s interesting, I hadn’t considered that or now I’ve learned that. Anyway, I don’t think it’s a secret that I like Jordan Peterson. And I really encourage you to, to listen to some of his podcasts or watch his YouTube videos, because I think that he is a shining. He’s absolute evidence of somebody who has the courage to have genuine conversations with people that he agrees with in people that he doesn’t agree with. Anyway, the episode that I want to talk about today is one that he recently had with Vivek Ramaswamy, who is running for president united states and who is really, really, really intelligent, compelling person. And he’s just come onto my radar as I think he’s come on to a lot of people’s radars very recently. So while I’ve enjoyed everything that I’ve heard him say, I can’t speak to him his character, because I don’t know him. And I don’t know enough about him. But the conversation they had was absolutely fascinating. And one of the ideas that came out that I wanted to talk about was this idea of ordered freedom. So what is ordered freedom, it is really a voluntary game, and I wrote it down what Jordan talked about, said it’s a voluntary game that offers a large landscape of choice, dependent on principles or rules that people want to play, or enjoy. And so that’s what I wanted to talk to you about is this idea of ordered freedom, how it is the sweet spot sweet spot between actual chaos where there are no rules, no principles that are agreed upon, and are followed, and compulsion, something that we’re compelled to do. We have no choice we have no freedom. It’s, it’s like on one end is anarchism on the other end is totalitarianism. And the middle is ordered freedom, which is that sweet spot. And I was listening. I was like, wow, that’s super cool concept. I literally pulled the car over and I wrote down some notes. And that’s what I wanted to talk about. So it is a voluntary game. And we play so many games. Like, literally, we play so many games, you think about the actual games that we play, think about when you were a kid, the games that you played, perhaps you were into athletics, so maybe you played basketball, maybe you weren’t into athletics, you love music. So you were in a band, maybe you enjoyed expressing yourself. So you were into art, or the theater, maybe you you enjoyed academic pursuits, like, I don’t know, if it’s still a thing or not going to show my age, something like knowledgeable, or you were into chess, whatever it might be. And today, as as older people as grown ups, we enter into all kinds of games as well, you can enter into the field of finance, you can work in education, you can work in nonprofit, you can become an engineer, and all of these systems, all of these, all of these career paths, if you will, are examples of ordered freedom. Where we have, and it’s very much like discipline equals freedom, where you wouldn’t think that you would almost think that having too much discipline is antithetical to having freedom, but it’s not. And if you are a disciplined person, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Because when you have self discipline, or you exercise, self discipline, you create the prerequisites for discipline that allows you an immense amount of freedom. Because there’s parameters that you understand that that you embrace, and that gives you freedom to, to paint or color however you like, as long as it’s within the boundaries of, of the game. So that’s really what what what this is all about. Now, what you find, when ordered, Freedom breaks down. So the thing, let me take quick step back, the rules of the game, the principles under which the game is played, are essential. And if you’ve ever played a game, and somebody cheated, well, that’s one of for me, that’s one of the worst feelings in the world. I cannot stand people who cheat, I cannot stand people who lie. I cannot stand people who will, who will cut corners who want to win at all costs, and disregard the rules to get what they want. That is a clear violation of what I’m talking about. And that manifests today, in so many different ways. We’re seeing so many different violations of ordered freedom, you look at some of the biggest cities in the United States. And the rules have changed or they’re not being followed anymore. You look at you look at Seattle and San Francisco. And apologies if you live there, and you think that I’m wrong about these things. I’m, I’m always learning and happy to entertain. But from the outside looking in, let me just say that, from the outside looking at, it appears that the millions of people who moved to these places understood that there were certain rules that needed to follow in order for this amazing circumstance to flourish. How is it that in San Francisco, there must be millions of people that live in San Francisco, that San Francisco is one of the greatest cities in the world for so long? With so many different people from so many different walks of life? So many different cultures? all came together, and it worked until it didn’t work anymore. And why did it stop working? Because the rules of the game changed. People started tolerating things they didn’t used to tolerate, they stopped prosecuting crime. And Sue, look what happens. The players of the game said, we’re not playing here anymore. And they start moving out. So this happens in a lot of different ways. Let’s take another example. But I think that that’s an excellent one. US somebody that lived in San Francisco for a long time, and they recently moved away, ask them why they did that? Does it have anything to do? Maybe it was some kind of a personal change for them. But I can almost guarantee it’s because the rules of the game changed and it’s no longer a game that they’re interested in playing because they don’t understand the rules anymore. So but another way to look at this is if you were a young person who who no fault of your own,

was playing a game through matriculating through high school Getting good grades, going through the college application process, taking the test getting accepted graduating with a degree. And there are no jobs that are available to you. Well, really, really harsh callous people say, Well, that was never guaranteed to you. But the way that I look at it as this is an organized game that they entered into. And the promise was, if I follow these steps, I will get to enter into the workforce, because I’ve done the prerequisites, I followed the rules. And the next step should be I’ve done everything that I need to obtain gainful employment. So if that didn’t happen for you, which is true for so many people, you have a disenfranchised person. And they are no longer interested in playing the game because the game did not work for them. So it’s a probably, it’s, it’s a pretty interesting thing. And if you ever heard that term, trust the process. My wife and I, when we decided that we want to have kids, we discovered that we were not able to have kids, easily. So we needed to, and we’re very fortunate to be able to tap into and utilize all the best that science and medicine has to offer. And today, we have two kids six and three. And I’m recording this on Tuesday, literally two days, we’re scheduled to have our third child, and it’s all because of medicine. And when you start going down that process, people tell you, you have to trust the process. And I thought, when I was going through that there was so much uncertainty, I thought, well, you know, I bet you here, I bet that the people who tell you you’ve got to trust the process of people that the process worked for. And that the process the people that the process didn’t work for, maybe they tell you you trust the process, maybe they wouldn’t. I don’t know the answer to that. But for so many people who are feeling disenfranchised, like they are left out of whatever game they’re interested in playing, they’re on the outside looking in, I, I totally get it. And when we have people who are feeling disenfranchised, they become resentful, and I can’t blame them at all. And that happens all the time. You look at you look at the different struggles that we’re facing today and some of the really hot topics that we’re facing today. And really, over the past 100 years or so we’re dealing with racism, we’re dealing with sexism, we’re dealing with ageism, we’re dealing with the wage gap and all these kinds of things. And it’s people who feel disenfranchised, that the game is not working for them that that the rules are either not followed or that they are stacked in somebody else’s advantage. And I can argue with people, because I don’t understand everything about their situation, but I certainly can understand the way that they feel about that. So anytime we enter into a game, that sex success is absolutely not guaranteed. That’s the whole thing about the game. And we could do as many participation trophies in the world. And, you know, stop keeping score and all of that, but all you’re doing is setting up young people for just just a harder time, you’re really setting themselves up for failure. Because games have winners and games have losers. And we’re talking about professional sports in the NFL, only one team can win world of tennis, only one person can win. In the world of business, oftentimes, one company wins out over another. But this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t play the game. Because you win some and you lose some you’re never going to win all the time, you’re never going to lose all the time, at least I hope not. If you do find yourself losing all the time, that’s probably an indication that you are either playing the wrong game, you don’t know how to play, or you need to get better, whatever the case may be. So I think that there’s a point to this somewhere. But I think that as we are evaluating as you are evaluating what games are I’m what games am I going to play? I think that the first step is understanding, well, what is it that I want? We need to understand what success means. What do I want to get out of this? What games do I want to play? How do I want to play them? Do I have a chance to win these games? Am I going to be happy doing it all of these things? So step number one is you have to know yourself. You have to understand what it is that you really want. You have to understand what it is that you like to do. You have to understand what it is that you’re good at and when you have the opportunity to do that. You need to take a really, really, really hard look at yourself and determine, Okay, where am I enact? Where am I? Where do I need to improve? Where am I inadequate? Where am I deficient? And even if I were to improve in these areas, if I were to really strengthen my strengths and not worry about my weaknesses, would that help me to perform? And get me to where I want to go? And I don’t know the answer to that for you. And I bet that most of you a lot of you don’t know the answer of that. The answer to that for you either. I know that I didn’t take me a long time to figure out the kind of games I’m interested in playing. And all too often we’re playing other people’s games. All too often, you were raised in a family of doctors. So therefore, you go into medical school or family of lawyers. So you’re going to law school, when in reality, even the lawyers and doctors in your family might not like lawyering or doctoring, what about you? Are you going to like that you make the investment of time, attention and money and resources and everything else to graduate from medical school? Is that is that going to be what you want, insert or replace medical school with whatever the game that you are thinking about playing in. Because these are games. Today to be a successful physician, it’s way more than just about being able to heal somebody, which is stupid, and it sounds really dumb. And it is. But there are politics, and there are insurance and just so many different things to have to navigate. So to be able to figure out, am I going to be happy, successful? And is this the right game for me to play? I don’t know. And we figure out okay, what is it that I think that I want? Who am I? What am I good at? Where could I potentially Excel. And then we look at what options are available what what games are available to me. And if you’re in the United States of America, most every game is available to you. Doesn’t mean it’s right for you. But most every game is available to you. You can enter into any field, you can throw your hat in the ring for most any game. And then we have to choose have to make the decision about which one. And here’s where the freedom to do that is so important. We’re coming out of a COVID. And it was one of the first times that I could certainly remember maybe the only time that I can remember. Well, it’s for sure the only time I can remember whether or not we’re we’re compelled to do things. But all of a sudden, we were compelled. Or people thought about compelling us they tried to compel us to to play a game. And if you don’t think that COVID was a game, just like businesses, a game relationships or a game, then you’re wrong. And you saw how certain states played it in different ways. California took a different approach to the pandemic we ended Florida. I’m not making a judgment on which is right, Sweden took a different approach than Australia. So you’re telling me that these aren’t games? Well, I’m telling you, let’s take, let’s take a step back, change the way that you’re looking at it because it absolutely was a game. And then you as an individual had your own choices to make as well. You had your choices about what to do for your family, what to do for your work. Companies made choices, individuals made choices, cities, municipalities, restaurants, everybody many choices. So we need to choose which game that we want to play in. I never want to be told I don’t want to be compelled to do anything. I mean, and I think that that’s probably you too. I don’t know too many people. I don’t personally know too many people it appears from the outside looking in. But there are a lot of people who do want to be told what to do. That’s not me. And if you’re watching this and listening to me, then that’s probably not you either. But you need to make a decision about what game that you are interested in doing. What game you’re interested in playing. And if there’s something that’s stopping you from doing it. Well. There’s a lot going on there. Because obviously, there were for many, many for a really long time. Certain groups, certain people had disadvantages. There were systemic things that were at play 100%. And human beings have bias and

and people are bigoted. So if you find yourself that you’re in a game that you feel like that deck is stacked against you, you have choice there. You could choose to fight, you could try and change. You can move on. But it’s all about making a choice, do you you have agency you have choice, you get to make decisions about how it is that you’re going to operate if you’re going to continue to play or if you’re going to move on and find a different game and when you To decide on the game you have to play. You have to you have to play fair. You have to know the rules, understand the rules and follow the rules. And if you’re able to do that, then you will be somebody who. Who is a valued participant. Kids, I watched my six and my three year olds play, and we go to the playground. And it’s fascinating to watch kids play with each other. Watch them, get in fights, watch them play together, watch them, share all the things. And if you’re a kid who can play well, with other kids, you’re going to do great because then you’re going to be invited to play more games. But if you’re somebody who can’t get along, and you complain, and bitch, or cry or pout all the time, nobody’s going to want to play with you. And the same is true as grownups. And as adults, we have to be able to enter into reciprocal relationships. We have to, we’re well suited to find games where we’re playing with people who share our goals and our values. At I think that without that the whole thing doesn’t work. And the whole thing, that’s the United States of America, that’s your family. That’s you. If your constant conflict with yourself, well, it’s not going to work. So that’s true at every level. So we need to be able to get up every day and compete, compete by the rules, be able to work, cooperatively reciprocate with other people need to know what success is to find success for ourselves and tell you what, if you do that, then we’re moving ahead. Or rather above chaos, we’re moving toward order freedom, and we’re able to play well, independently, well, then there’s no need. And there’s no tolerance for somebody to come in and start compelling me and bossing me around and telling me what to do. The problem is, when we’re not paying close attention, and we’re not super engaged in the games that we’re playing, that’s when there’s opportunity for other somebody else to come in, and take that responsibility on. And it rarely doesn’t work out the way that we really want it to. So, ordered freedom is that sweet spot between chaos and compulsion. And I think that it is the best framework for benefiting the most number of people. And at the end of the day, that’s what we need to focus on. I’m very, very interested in the rights of the individual fact, I think that that’s what it’s all about. Like, that’s the reason that the government exists. That’s the reason that rules exists is to protect the rights of the individual. So understanding that this framework of ordered freedom is the best framework for benefiting the most people. Love to hear your thoughts. Like everything else. I’m thinking the way through it. Just heard about this concept this morning. Think it’s pretty cool. But we’d love to hear what you have to say about it what you think about it, so let me know. As always, do your part by doing your best

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