Donald Trump, America’s CEO (Chief Entropy Officer)

April 9, 2017


Entropy: “Lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder.” [1]

I first wrote about the metaphor of sociopolitical entropy in a 2010 posting [2] noting that President Obama’s challenge to restore order and organization in Afghanistan was considerably more difficult than it was to plunge that country further into the chaos of war through military action.

The concept that creation is more difficult than destruction is certainly not a new idea and examples can be found in many disciplines. In 1887, James JH Hamilton, principal of schools in Osceola Mills, Pennsylvania wrote in The American, “But it is easier to destroy that create; to tear down than to build up.” [3] That dichotomy is is no more evident than the contrasting approaches to the presidency by President Obama and Donald Trump.

Entropy opposites: Obama vs. Trump

President Obama was a builder who tried to constantly add order to systems. His efforts were manifest as policies to protect the environment, to provide health care, to stabilize conflict-weary regions, and to elevate America’s international stature and influence through diplomacy. This reasoned, policy-based approach to improving the lives of the body politic was tedious, complex, and time consuming. In a word, it was hard.

In stark contrast, Trump appears to have neither the interest nor the aptitude to take a policy-based approach to building a better America. Instead, at every opportunity he destroys or dismantles the structure and fabric that others before him have so laboriously built. In the Trumparian view of the world, there would be few regulations and little governmental structure to impede his holy grail – big business profits.

His goal is to increase the sociopolitical entropy at every opportunity. Why? Because it’s easy. One does not need a fully staffed State Department if international policies are considered superfluous. One does not need a fully functioning White House staff as long as there are family members to fill key positions. [4]

Is there an upside in the entropy-laden world of Trump?

There is if you are a large corporation that lacks a moral compass and has no encumbrances to polluting the environment to earn a few pennies more for your shareholders and your executive salaries. Corporations are myopic entities and are oblivious to species-threatening issues such as climate change. I wonder if there are any board rooms that consider that we are in the midst of the sixth great extinction. [5] No, the SEC 10k takes priority.

Some things are just hard

Trump seems to think there’s an easy solution to everything. Why else would he think a 66-page healthcare bill would work? Oh right, he did say, “Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.” [6] Actually Donald, they did. Why would he unfurl a complex flowchart showing the regulatory process needed to build a highway?[7] Because his approach would be to eliminate those complex regulations and start laying asphalt. Nobody knew building a road could be so easy.

I understand the concept of entropy may be too much of a metaphor for Trump and his die-hard supporters, so allow me to end with a quote that may have more credibility for them: “Doctor. As a matter of cosmic history, it has always been easier to destroy than to create.” – Spock speaking to Doctor McCoy in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

Believe me, with Trump as president, there have been more than a few times I wanted to say, “Beam me up, Scotty!”


[1]In physics entropy is a thermodynamic quantity representing the unavailability of a system’s thermal energy for conversion into mechanical work, often interpreted as the degree of disorder or randomness in the system.

‘the second law of thermodynamics says that entropy always increases with time’ https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/entropy

[2] Obama, Afghanistan and the second law of thermodynamics. August 1, 2010, Confronting Mediocrity


[3] The American: A National Journal, Vol XIV-No.356 Page 105ff, June 4, 1887

[4] http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/3/14/14907868/trump-empty-appointments-trade

[5] The Holocene extinction event. Is our species’ destiny to be known as “The Burners?”, April 13, 2104, Confronting Mediocrity, https://confrontingmediocrity.net/2014/04/13/the-holocene-extinction-event-is-our-species-destiny-to-be-known-as-the-burners/

[6] http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/trump-nobody-knew-that-health-care-could-be-so-complicated-235436

[7] http://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/06/heres-the-huge-chart-donald-trump-is-dragging-around-to-show-how-hard-it-is-to-start-an-infrastructure-project.html





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