Order Vs. Chaos

Order Vs. Chaos


Leonard Zwelling

I did not watch the State of the Union address by President Biden. I saw no point in viewing what was clearly the largest, public administration of cognitive testing in the history of man. I guess he passed according to the news sources with which I consulted. So what?

The essence of the up-coming Presidential election is a choice between one man who pledges to adhere to the Constitution and try to improve the lives of Americans within the current system and another who views our country as “American carnage” to which he will bring some order through the force of his control of the federal government. In Biden, Trump sees chaos. In Biden, Biden sees adherence to the Constitution. In Trump, Biden sees autocracy as the means to order. In Trump, Trump sees an America of order under his unique direction.

They’re both wrong.

We know what we will get out of a second Biden term. More of the same. He’s a non-inspirational, non-aspirational leader with too many years inside the Beltway and too many years altogether. He has an inability to tell the left wing of his party that its view of the world is incompatible with capitalism. He will spend too much of our money. He will not be feared by Congress. We will continue to slide. Witness the scene on the southern border. Is that what we want?

We also know what we will get out of a second Trump Administration. He will decimate the executive branch of the government by inserting his own loyalists everywhere, especially in the Justice Department. He will cozy up to our enemies believing the force of his personality will dissuade Russia, China, and Iran from their assault on freedom. He may well bring more order, but it is not an order I wish to live in and I think he may find that he’s not as good a salesman as he thinks he is. He clearly is not as good a businessman as he purports to be. He’s a phony.

There simply is no good choice. My guess is that Biden will do less harm, but what if he dies? Bad choice then.

What if Trump wins and he dies? We don’t know yet, but the pretenders to the GOP vice presidential nomination are scary in their fealty to Trump and to Trumpism.

I also fear the choice between chaos and order is plaguing Israel. What the country is going through is unimaginable except on the scale of what we withstood after 9/11. Netanyahu and is right-wingers want to bring more order to the country by continuing to deny the existence of the Arabs in the area wishing they would all migrate to Jordan as soon as possible. That might bring order to the current chaos, but it is unrealistic. Modern Israel, with 2 million Arab Israeli citizens cannot be a Jewish democracy and still annex the West Bank.

The opposition to Netanyahu first needs to find a way to win which will not occur until the war in Gaza is over and that is pure chaos right now. Israel, like the United States is in a chaotic time of depression. Like the United States, there is no obvious way out. Yet. I have hope.

Finally, I am going to argue that one of the greatest assets of MD Anderson when we arrived was its innate chaos. Competing visions of the solution to cancer is actually healthy in an academic cancer center. Dr. Freireich was fighting with everyone, especially the administration. It made for some great theater and some pretty good clinical research as well. Chaos is acceptable if it leads to the sorting out of competing ideas.

Over the years Anderson has become more and more corporatized. It’s more orderly, but to the detriment of creativity. Sequential Anderson presidents have demanded fealty to themselves and their visions. The current president does not even have a clear vision besides that of being the “Governing Body” and demanding loyalty while imposing outside lawyers on all academic issues.

Order seems like a good idea, but western style representative democracies are messy, not orderly. That messiness is the fuel of creative individual achievement. It is to be welcomed. Order is overrated. It is also often despotic to impose as we see in modern Russia, China, and Iran.

Is that how Trump, Netanyahu, and Pisters see themselves? The bringers of order? I wonder.

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