Conservatives and The Butterfly Effect, or, Why Chaos Is Better Than Control!

[promoted by streiff who is hoping Peyton Manning uncorks a flood of butterflies this afternoon.]

History has shown us that one person with an idea can change the planet. Whether the planet changes for good (Jesus, Galileo, Bach, Jane Austen, Einstein) or ill (Napoleon, Marx, Houston Chamberlain, B.F. Skinner) depends on the idea. In the 1959 epic Ben-Hur a Roman commander wonders aloud how one fights an idea, “especially a new idea.” (In that scene he is referring to the preaching of Jesus.) The character Messala replies that the only way to fight an idea “is with another idea!”

Today Conservatism must remind America of an idea that is being drowned in the socialist cesspool of conformity, passivity, and ceding power to government. As socialist group-thinking tries to convert ever more people to letting a central power address ever more things, which can and should be handled without government interference, this idea tragically fades from us daily.

The idea is that you –the single individual – have the freedom and power to change the Universe for good…or for ill.

Leftists give lip service to the idea with slogans (“Think globally, act locally!”). But their larger actions reveal that they do not want the individual to have much freedom: everyone must become the same unionized, pensionized, politically correct propagandized gear in the blustering, blundering Socialist Wheel of Status Quo Maintenance. The independent-thinking individual by definition is a threat to the socialist agenda, which wants uniformity for ease of control. Note how the American myth of the cowboy was turned into a negative adjective in the last decade (i.e. “cowboy diplomacy”). The cowboy who rides into town and handles evil on his own – without waiting for authorization or debates – is sneered at by leftist socialists.

The true progressive is the conservative. That the term “progressive” has been warped by the leftists is part of their language-twisting tradition, which George Orwell exposed in his writings long ago.

The conservative esteems the power of the individual, and knows that one person with an idea, and with resolve and energy, is more important than the group fretting about what they should do, when they should do it, or if they should do anything at all. Group-thinkers will talk, push paper around, neither affecting nor effecting anything, except perhaps to worsen the situation. If a problem arises, the conservative, the classic American, does not wait and complain and wonder if somebody is coming to help.

Americans are always the help that is coming!

Perhaps you have heard about Edward Lorenz, an American mathematician and meteorologist (recently deceased in 2008), and his contribution to Chaos Theory with the idea of the Butterfly Effect. Simply, he showed how a slight change in the beginning of a phenomenon could perhaps produce wildly different results in the long term. The effect of a butterfly flapping its wings in the South Pacific might result in rain in Ohio 4 months later. Such a chaotic effect can be traced, but not necessarily predicted. (That is why it is called Chaos Theory!)

Socialists, with their mania for control, fear the chaos of the individual. They fear the result which the lone butterfly – or lone cowboy – might effect without their permission. (Why they suffer this fear is a theme for another essay, but I do believe their potty-training was involved!) Conservatives, the fearless butterflies, flap their wings – or not – because they freely choose to do so, not because the herd says it is time to fly or time to rest.

“Whatsoever you do to the least of my brethren, that you do unto Me.” Jesus here is recognizing the power of Chaos Theory in human relations. The tiniest kindness touches Divinity! One never knows how even the tiniest kindness will be magnified over time to make the Universe better, or how the tiniest stupidity will cause a disaster (“For want of a nail, the war was lost!”). To be sure, there are no guarantees: it is possible your effort will echo away into nothingness. But God at least has noticed.

At times I wonder how writing such an essay here, for a conservative website, “affects or effects” anything. How many will read it? How many will think it worthwhile? Does it help to preach to the choir? But I think at times even the choir must be recharged with, reminded of, and reinforced in their beliefs, so that their song becomes louder and heard by those whose ears are closed or indifferent. And the possibility that an indifferent wanderer will stop by, and read this, and start thinking about his indifference, always exists.

So I ask my fellow conservative butterflies:

How have you changed the Universe today? For good or for ill?