The Phileas Club 148 – Special: Checking in with the (Conservative) US

On this episode we talk about:

  • How things went / are going in Ohio
  • How things went / are going in Georgia
  • And more!

More info on the show:


  1. Kevin Sickles says:

    Very good Podcast! It is a format I don’t see replicated anywhere else. We all agree, we have to figure out how to open up the economy and we will never know if the shutdown kept the number of cases in rural counties to 2 or they would have been safe anyway. I think you touched on a couple of interesting insights about Christian Trump supporters. Trump and the far right have tapped into a very powerful and irrational belief that white christians are under attack by the “left” and the deep state government. I can’t even begin to articulate how nonsensical it is for Tony to claim that his church could be shutdown for hate speech, now or ever.

    If you get a chance to explore further. I would be curious on Tony’s position on a very well known supreme court case that allowed a baker to refuse to sell a cake to a gay couple? Asking this question may put your friendship back at risk.

    I am even more curious to understand how a devote christian supports a man that has violated every single christian value. He actually listed several Trump has violated. The hypocrisy is amazing.

    Thank you for pushing back on the claim that “the left” wanted Trump to shutdown the entire country. “The left” wanted testing and still doesn’t have it at the levels recommended by the White House task force for opening up the economy.

    To digress to your podcast with Tom. Tom claimed the US Safety-net was better than Europeans gave us credit for. One example he provided was that if you get sick you can go to the emergency room and they have to treat you (true). What he didn’t mention was that the hospital will now sue you and garnish your wages. The Number 1 cause of bankruptcies in the U.S. is from medical expenses. Our safety-net is completely failing under covid, millions are losing healthcare coverage and. have you seen the lines of cars at food banks?

    • patrick says:

      Thanks for the comment Kevin, and my answer will be quite succinct: I agree with everything you’re saying. 🙂
      Especially the health care issue; the financial aspect are too often cast aside in those conversations…

  2. David E says:

    Hey Patrick, I enjoyed listening to this episode from the podcast, but I wanted to add a little context to the situation in Atlanta, GA. Before I start, it’s important that I disclose that I’m much more liberal than your guests. I’m 25 years old. I work for a rock climbing gym and live in Midtown Atlanta.

    On to the context: As of 5/14/2020, Georgia has tested just over 270k out of 10 million people. So we’ve tested less than 3% of the population. New York has tested 1.2 million out of 19.4 million (~6%). When more testing is done, more cases tend to be found.

    Testing still isn’t robust enough in Georgia. Many people, including me, were sick in March when testing was limited only to individuals that had traveled outside of the US. My roommate got sick first, and it passed to all four of us in the house. We were never able to get tests during that time, and only confirmed that we had COVID-19 when my partner was given an anti-body test from her employer (Emory Healthcare) and it confirmed that she has anti-bodies.

    I’m glad that Alex only knows one person that has been confirmed to have the virus. As he said, he works with vulnerable populations. But he seemed to be much more cavalier about this as a result. I know ten individuals with the virus. Two of these people have passed away, and one just got off his ventilator.

    Georgia is reopening, and our Governor has been creating false confidence. We need much larger scale testing before we can know that this virus is under control. I’m as eager to get back to work as anyone else, but there could very easily be another spike in cases. I want to make sure all my employees can return, but I don’t want to put them at risk of getting sick.

    • patrick says:

      Hey David, I understand your concern, and I’m sure different people have different experiences with it, but when we talk about numbers it’s always been (until now) a fraction of the actual numbers since we’re not testing everyone… That’s the case everywhere, including here in Europe, and we understand the numbers in that context. Also, it seems some people think that everyone should be tested; that is actually impossible… As our French prime minister put it, even if you do test the entire French population today (60M people), the results are irrelevant the next day and you have to test them again.
      So the testing capacity seems to be right when you can test all those who show symptoms (in order to trace their contacts and get those tested too)… but even then, there are a LOT of asymptomatic carriers. Meaning the bottom line is that you will always always have more sick people than you count.
      And even with test & tracing, we’re starting to move into a “well we’re going to have to live with it” mode here in Europe, because if we wanted to wait for a “real” solution it would be the vaccine and that would be in 18 months at best, so we’d need to stay in lockdown for all that time and it’s simply not possible. So the goal now is, it seems, to make sure health services aren’t overwhelmed, so we keep what we can of social distancing and prevention measures, but we don’t just stop everything for over a year… And in the end, it seems likely most of us will get it. If we do this right, and health services can handle things, we’ll mitigate as much as we can.
      Bottom line, yes real numbers are higher than recorded numbers, we all agree on that, but I’m not sure how that changes the policies going forward. What we talked about on the show (relaxing lockdown when possible, while staying reasonable and flexible and allowing their return if needed) still seem like the best course of action to me. I’m not sure how we could do things differently…

  3. Hey there, as always, a really interesting podcast, which totally proves the concept about listening to one another and hearing each other’s views.
    You quizzed Tony a bit about his church’s fear about the government shutting down the church. I’m also a Christian (but I’m in and from Australia), and have some overlap with his views, and some differences, which is pretty normal. The fear of persecution from the government is pretty much foundational to Christian faith. Jesus said it would happen, and it’s talked about in various books of the bible. It’s just a thing. Christians get all up in each other’s faces about whether white people can even claim to experience persecution, whether people in countries like Australia can experience persecution. I see both sides, I’m not sure where I really sit on that. It is definitely relative.
    Recently we’ve had some big news stories here that spoke into this space: a major sports star who tweeted some religious stuff, and then got sacked, and Christians went nuts in both directions. We had a religious discrimination bill proposed in parliament, and again, Christians went nuts in both directions.
    With the reopening of schools and shops, there is some genuine fear that churches would be among the last things to reopen. That’s not turning out to be the case, but it speaks to where Christians are at.
    There are a lot of people who get very angry about Christians, and definitely lobby for ways to limit churches’ capacity to do things,
    Anyway, I just wanted to say, it’s not just him, not just his church, and not just America. It’s Christians. It might not be individual Christians, but it it definitely true of Christianity.
    Thanks for yet another great podcast. I am sorry that I cannot yet be a patron. One day I will have a job again, and one day it will be a job that pays all the bills. I’m glad I live in Australia!

    • patrick says:

      Thanks for the comment Fiona. Honestly, it might be because I’m from France and our religious life is so separate from the rest of society, but this idea that Christians, which are by far the largest religious group in the western world, which such cultural ties and influence, could feel persecuted, is absolutely insane to me… But I guess it is a thing…

  4. Hi Patrick — i’m glad i took time to listen to this, after seeing your tweet about how difficult the conversation was. I have to confess i would not have been as patient as you are, haha. I was stunned to hear that some christians believe that liberals want to shut down or even ban churches altogether… i’m very far left (at least on the american political spectrum, anyway — i supported Bernie Sanders now for two election cycles, sigh), and neither i nor anybody i know has ever even mentioned such a thing. what a ridiculous thing to believe! Now, the idea of removing the tax-free status of churches, YES. that is definitely something i would be behind… : )

    • patrick says:

      Hey Frank, and thanks for the kind words! My tweet was actually referring to the latest episode (about Minneapolis), but I’m very glad you enjoyed this one, which I thought was really interesting too. And even enlightening, in a surprising way… I think that fear you mention explains very well the photo op stunt Trump did a few days ago. He doesn’t care how it looks, he’s just sending a message to his Christian constituency…

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