Frustration and bewilderment are common in media accounts of this administration’s expansive chaos. Even well educated writers turn to expletives, as if proper language were inadequate to convey the shock and dismay. Still, it is not that difficult to identify the source of puzzlement: neither Trump nor his appointees follow the rules. From the beginning he has systematically pursued the substitution of a pre-modern style of arbitrary rule for a modern, rule-based government. What we call chaos is what he calls power. The bad news is that, with help from a gullible press, this administration has been surprisingly successful in confusing these two systems in the public mind. That is dangerous. The longer we fail to mark the distinction between arbitrary and rule-based government, the more successfully the president can install personal privilege as the default conception of authority in the popular imagination.