Cultural and Political Entropy

January 6, 2012 07:03

We can make a difference as individuals by our prayers and by involving ourselves in the political process. We still have the right of free speech and assembly. Heaven only knows what dragons we can slay with a smiling Divine Providence.


By Robert C. Wilson at Center for a Just Society


According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary App, the word Entropy can be defined as “the degradation of the matter and energy in the universe to an ultimate state of inert uniformity.”

Dr. Robert Gange, a research scientist, certified professional engineer, and adjunct professor who was on staff for over 25 years at the David Sarnoff Research Center in Princeton, New Jersey, once described entropy as “loss of information.”

In a video “The Scriptorium,” Dr. Dan Hayden Director of Biblical Research at Sola Scriptura referred to the direction of American culture, politics and religion as “entropy.” He asserted that the turning away from original values and principles is irreversible, and those who hold those values and principles will draw apart from the mainstream of American culture as time goes by.

As a young engineering student I learned that, from the standpoint of natural law, entropy means that over time all things tend to deteriorate or dissipate. One might use the term “fall apart” as a practical synonym.

Throughout life, the truth of this tendency becomes increasingly obvious. Our cars, houses, computers, bodies and everything we touch slowly deteriorate until no longer useful. The point was dramatically emphasized to me a few years ago when I attended the International Auto Show at the Javits Center in New York. I was eating a hot dog on a mezzanine above a great horde of enthusiastic attendees. The number of people I could see was in the thousands. It suddenly occurred to me that in 100 years none of these folks will be alive.

Given the law of entropy and Dr. Hayden’s assertion, one could become increasingly despondent about the American experiment becoming forever lost. If Dr. Hayden is right, we can look forward to cultural groups of Americans becoming more separate and distinct. True to human nature one could predict widespread lawlessness and anarchy. Alexis deToqueville warned c1830 that the survival of our republic depends on a well informed electorate with mores.

John Adams feared, in the light of history and human nature, that our republic was not likely to survive.

Considering the state of public education and the ignorance of many Americans about the history and structure of our republic, there is cause for great concern.

All of this can be very discouraging to concerned Americans. If we agree that we have serious problems, how do we respond? Does entropy dictate that we are in an irresistible, inevitable decline? If we believe this we might throw up our hands in surrender and focus all of our energy on getting through our own personal lives with the least possible conflict and discomfort, and watch the nation self-destruct.

In every conflict that confronts us we have a choice – “fight or flight.” If the obstacle we face seems insurmountable we must decide to confront it or back away and hope someone else will overcome it. “Choosing our battles” is sometimes a way of saying “Let George do it.”

General George Washington and the Continental Army faced a mountain of conflict in the War of Independence. We became a free people because they persevered and prevailed against logically insurmountable obstacles.

The natural law of entropy is undeniable and observably true. But as long as there is a God in heaven and concerned and principled citizens, restoration is possible. We can make a difference as individuals by our prayers and by involving ourselves in the political process. We still have the right of free speech and assembly. Heaven only knows what dragons we can slay with a smiling Divine Providence.

Speaking of political process, some comment seems appropriate. We are almost a year away from the next election, yet we hear so much tiresome speculation from pundits who are basically just guessing. This is a kind way of saying none of them know what they are talking about. They make prognostications on TV for hours on end, based upon questionable polls, long before a single primary vote has been cast. The candidate who gets the Republican nomination could easily be someone who is not yet even on the radar.

And another thing: the pundits are always using the term “momentum.” From my training as an engineer, when I think of momentum, I think of a heavy moving object like an automobile or a rolling boulder. Objects like these tend to keep moving, and are generally hard to stop. But political “momentum” is like a feather carried on the wind. The feather keeps moving as long as the political wind is blowing in the same direction. But it stops almost instantaneously with little resistance or change in wind direction.

All of this tiring premature political prediction reminds me of a well known quotation from Shakespeare’s MacBeth: “…it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Am I being too harsh? You be the judge.


Robert C. Wilson is a veteran of the U.S. Army with a B.S. in mechanical engineering and a M.S. in Business. His writings are posted at Please email your comments to

The CJS Forum seeks to promote an open exchange of ideas about the relationship between faith, culture, law and public policy. While all the articles are original and written especially for the CJS Forum, they do not necessarily reflect the views of the Center for a Just Society.

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