Getting lost in fantasy maps
I think this is a bit of an over simplification. Maybe this was the fault in presentation in early D&D, as the inspiration was Paul Andsrson’s Three Hearts and Three Lions from 1961 where Law was the side of human civilization and Chaos was nature and the inscrutable faerie.Part of the problem is that in OD&D, we had Law and Chaos, which basically meant Lawful Good and Chaotic Evil. For some reason, we understand how to disentangle Law from Good (authoritarian regimes as Lawful Evil), but separating Chaos from Evil is harder. I think the reason is that, in real life, there aren't any "real" Chaotic societies (I'll explain below).
I know growing up as a kid reading BECMI I always assumed Law equated = good and Chaos equated evil. (I always kind of brushed right past elves’ association with chaos). Much much later I learned the inspiration was Three Hearts and Three Lions and civilization vs. nature. And that makes SOOO much more sense.
I used to favor what AD&D presented, the 9 alignment grid, because of the addition of evil vs good, but now I vastly prefer the storytelling potential of BECMI/3 Hearts 3 Lions’s cosmic duality of civilization vs. nature/faerie.
You can start muse what other assumed experiences the creators of the game have of future customers that customers just are not coming to the game with and end up missing out on the context!