The ICS in its cookoffs recognizes two types of chili, red and green. The recipe requirements are not that strict, but one cannot ever, ever add beans or pasta.
The pasta ban I personally agree with, but beans are another matter. There are many who believe that a decent pot o' red cannot be prepared without frijoles, OK, beans. I was getting carried away with the southwest origins of the dish.
If you would like a very entertaining introduction to some of the deeper philosophical aspects of chili, I recommend picking up a copy of H. Allen Smith's "The Great Chili Confrontaton". Long out of print, you can pick up a used paper copy from Amazon or ABEbooks.com or almost any used book monger for less than five bucks. It is a fun read.
Most folks who make chili in this great land do not adhere to rigorous standards, no, not at all. It is totally free style but it usually includes, in addition to the obligatory chiles, meat, preferably beef, and tomatoes (in some form).
Are they mostly great? You betcha. And they can include everything from chocolate to cinnamon to crushed pork rinds.
The best bowl of red I ever had was in Brooklyn, forty years ago, in a little hole in the wall on Atlantic Avenue. The place was caught between meat packing places and most of the workers had gone home by eleven AM. So it was empty.
I ordered the red.
Maybe it was the fact that I was out of the cold January bitterness, or maybe I was just hungry.
But to me that was the ultimate chili.
I kinda sorta remember what it contained. And am working to reproduce it.
One of these days I may do so, but I hold out little hope.
One can never recapture a memory.
But I can turn out some darned good chili trying.
Before criticizing a person, walk a mile in his shoes - then you are a mile away and you have his shoes!