In Defense of Chaos: The Chaology of Politics, Economics and Human Action

A couple of months ago a good friend told me about an interesting talk radio show, one that I might listen to for ideas on hosting my own show, “Books and Politics.” The show provided a Libertarian perspective on important issues and Lawrence Samuels, the host, was a very well informed and intellectually brilliant theorist well worth listening to. Unfortunately the show had been cancelled by the time I tried to listen in. The good news is that Lawrence Samuels has written a book, In Defense of Chaos: The Chaology of Politics,
Economics and Human Action, which details many of his interesting ideas. Since Lawrence no longer had his own radio show I decided to contact him to see if he would agree to an interview on my show and discuss his

book. Lawrence kindly agreed and will be my guest on “Books and Politics” on September 16th. Monday night at 7 p.m. California time. You can listen in at Please listen in and be ready with any questions you may have since listener call ins are an important part of my show. While waiting for the live show you may also read the following abreviated interview which is intended to give you an overview of what Lawrence will talk about:

Lawrence, please tell readers/listeners a little about your background and how you became interested in Chaos theory. I became interested in chaos theory in the late 1980s. A friend made me aware of this new science and the potential it might have in promoting liberty. We agreed that the implications could be groundbreaking; that there might be a slew of scientific evidence to show that open-ended, flexible and evolutionary systems work far better than closed-end, inflexible command and control systems.

Now for the difficult part: Explain in layman’s terms what Chaos theory is? Chaos theory is basically about how small effects can have big consequences—the butterfly effect. Recently, complexity science was developed to provide more analytical tools to explain both orderly and chaotic systems. Chaos theory helps to explain why central planning often fails, which is mostly due to the sensitivity to initial conditions found in most systems. This sensitivity often leads to complex structures that are difficult or impossible to understand. And this is important because the more complexity found in a system, the more unpredictable arises.

You cannot control what you cannot predict. But most statutory laws attempt to predict the future, but cannot, and therefore a boomerang effect takes hold. Central planners believe that they can not only design systems to do what they want, but actually control the uncontrollable. Failure is almost assured, but this not a bad situation for governmentalists. Failure is a good option for the state because government succeeds by failing. Could you tell us briefly why you are a Libertarian? Actually, I consider myself more of a chaologist than a libertarian. I believe that chaology provides a larger scope in which to understand why human beings desire to be free. I met Ron Paul in 1978 and have been a big fan of his and of the Libertarian movement in general since then. However, I see very little growth in the number of Libertarians and wonder what future the Libertarian Party has. What is your opinion on this? The two main parties in the United States have put into place legal and financial obstacles that make it difficult for any third party to be successful. Plus, the big donors to political parties and their political campaigns understand that libertarians will not provide corporate welfare or power to them. The political elite want power, but libertarianism preaches a philosophy that will deny them power. Therefore, any political party opposing the polarization of society will get few big donations and few congratulatory praise from the media and academia. Please give a brief description of your book, In Defense of Chaos: The Chaology of Politics, Economics and Human Action, and what you hope to achieve by writing it.

In Defense of Chaos take a consequentialist approach to understanding how society operates (social chaology), especially when it is confronted by command-and-control predatory structures that have a tendency to cannibalize society. I try to emphasize that there are two types of order – unstructured order and structured order. Unstructured order is bottoms up, grass roots, decentralized and arises spontaneously within self-organizing systems. Structured order is top-down and centralized, imposed by government forces who believe they have all the right answers. The public needs to understand that without chaos there would be no creation, no structure and no existence. After all, order is merely the repetition of patterns; chaos is the process that establishes those patterns. Does your book provide any useful guidelines for how we should deal with the future? I believe my chapter on swarm intelligence will show that a system does not require a centralized structure in order to create a highly organized and prosperous society. From what I’ve read about your book it doesn’t sound like we can depend on our current political structure to solve the problems we face. To me the most serious problem is that our continual budget deficits and accumulating national debt will soon catch up with us forcing a financial collapse. So, is there any way we can avoid financial collapse, and if so how? All great civilizations fall because their political and military structures have over-expanded their resources. Maybe the technology of instant communications might slow down the onslaught towards statism, but governmental structures only fade away when civilization crumbles and there is little left to plunder.

I note from your biography that you once had some association with Art Laffer. I assume you are familiar with the Laffer curve? When I was the organizer of the Future of Freedom Conference, Arthur Laffer was one of my speakers. I had very little time to talk with him, but I am familiar with the Laffer curve. It seems to me that both Democrats and Republicans both miss an important point in the theory behind the curve, that being that the shape of the curve varies over time as the public perception of government efficiency and effectiveness changes. Is it inherent in the centralized nature of these two political parties that they just can’t understand points that are inconsistent with ‘the party line?’ I am sure they understand their party line and what they must do to get elected or re-elected. Politicians from both sides of the aisle ignore their base after an election. This is politics 101. They know that their base will never run to the other side. They take them for granted until election time rolls around. At that point they mouth leftist or rightist policies to get their base back in line. The spread of Islam throughout the world has brought demands for Sharia justice in places like England, France and the Netherlands. I am personally opposed to anything but a secular government and am worried about the spread of Islam for that reason. Your book seems to argue against centralized organizations. This makes me wonder: Does Islam’s non centralized nature have an advantage that allows it to spread? In the Muslim world, Sharia law is seen as the infallible law of God. And although it deals with secular laws like crime and economics, it is imposed by the state, which is very different from the decentralized foundation of common law. Common

law is discovered by the judge and jury and was originally outside the realm of the state. From the very beginning, the Muslim faith has been strongly attached to the hip of the state. To a point, this also occurred to Christianity when it became the sole state religion of Rome. Up to around 1059 AD, emperors and overlords in Europe appointed bishops and the Pope. Eventually, the Christian church threw off state control since it never trusted the state due to centuries of persecutions by the Roman Empire. Back to our domestic economic problems. Detroit recently filed for bankruptcy. It is clear that government employee pension and benefit plans with huge unfunded liabilities is at the core of the problem. California and Illinois, along with many other states and local governments have similar huge unfunded liabilities which they are doing their best to hide from public knowledge. Can we learn from Detroit bankruptcy? Must other cities and states follow suit? Again, government succeeds by failing. By failing they acquire more money and power. They don’t care if a city or a civilization dies. As long as they get higher salaries, retirement benefits and almost free medical care, they don’t care. The political animal is just as self-interested as anyone else. It is just that governmentalists have the political power to war on society, loot it and then deny any responsibility. Nothing abnormal here. I see that you are referred to as a peace activist. Could you explain what part of Chaos theory explains the Chaotic and Insane behavior of our military which spent $88 Billion in Afghanistan in 2013 when the GNP of the entire country of Afghanistan was just $27 Billion?

War is the health of the state. It creates planned chaos that scares the populace in proving more authority and tax money. It was Thomas Paine who said “taxes are not raised to carry on wars, but that wars are raised to carry on taxes”. One last thing, where can readers/listeners get a copy of your book? And do you have a webpage or social media account where they can keep up with your activities?

My webpage for my book: That’s it for the written interview. Please tune in on Monday evening, September 16th for the live interview where you will have the opportunity to call in and ask questions, including why de did or did not attack Syria! Together we can learn more about Chaos theory and what relevence it may have for the mess we are now in. David Welch Host: Books and Politics Please follow me on Twitter: @DavidWe19913296

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful