en·tro·py: the ultimate state reached in the degradation of the matter and energy of the universe : state of inert uniformity of component elements : absence of form, pattern, hierarchy, or differentiation <entropy is the general trend of the universe toward death and disorder— J.R.Newman>
Many readers are aware that after spending nearly all of my life in Southern California, my wife and I have moved to Fairfax County, Virginia (safely outside the beltway, as I always add). The decision to leave LA was not made lightly, even though the indicators were there for some time.
I had always been traveling to the East Coast, and had even become used to the long flights, but with the enhanced security after 9/11 adding to the already horrific congestion at LAX, my local airport was becoming virtually intolerable for a frequent flyer. This becomes abundantly clear when one is standing in a fairly long line at 4:45 AM, to say nothing of the queues at more normal times. And, Internet or no, it is necessary for me to travel.
My wife’s daily commute, although not on the freeway, was averaging about one hour each way, and that combined with the stress inherent as a special ed teacher was visibly wearing on her.
While traffic in Los Angeles has been the worst in the country for probably 50 years, the lack of a meaningful public transit system, exacerbated by essentially no new freeways since the mid-1980’s and ever-expanding traffic volume, makes one wonder if Angelenos are like the famous frog in the pot. You know, the one in which the water temperature is increasing slowly, one degree at a time, and supposedly the frog will not notice that it is being boiled to death.
It is nothing short of heartbreaking to have grown up in LA during the 1960’s, chock full of sun, fun, California girls, and music, to see it deteriorate into an overbuilt, overcrowded, ghettoized maelstrom of failed Leftist politics, constant battles between ethnic groups, and gargantuan amounts of money nearly always being spent on the wrong things. It might even be worse that most who can remember the good times are now in a permanent state of denial about the present.
The region’s mythical beauty, as first described in 1542 by the Spanish navigator Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, may still be observable in smaller doses, but the bloom is most definitely off the rose.
But the downward spiral is not limited to California.
A scant few years ago, who could have dreamed that terrorism would be a real threat to Americans? And on a less cataclysmic note, who would have thought that the greatest country the world has ever known would not even be able to obtain enough flu vaccine for its people?
Unlike thermodynamic entropy, though, social entropy requires the specific actions of some individuals, and the inaction of others. Did you speak out when “freedom” crossed the line into license? Were you there when a citizen’s rights and responsibilities became his rights only?
Did you notice when the tort system went totally out of control, affecting every industry, our quality of life, and surely caused this year’s vaccine shortage? Are you astounded at the arrogance of big media, big corporations, and big government?
Or, are you just one of the many observers, realizing that we are going to Hell, and feeling powerless to reverse the trend?
The good news is that you are NOT powerless, for there are many more like you, surely more than the malefactors who are pushing us in the wrong direction.
This is your wake-up call. It takes energy to overcome entropy.