Every once in a while an option comes a long that is what we call a “twofer”. That is it accomplishes two goals at the saem time. Such is the case with the process known as “fracking”, or “hydraulic fracking“:
Hydraulic fracturing is the propagation of fractures in a rock layer, by a pressurized fluid. Some hydraulic fractures form naturally—certain veins or dikes are examples—and can create conduits along which gas and petroleum from source rocks may migrate to reservoir rocks. Induced hydraulic fracturing or hydrofracturing, commonly known as fracing, fraccing, or fracking, is a technique used to release petroleum, natural gas (including shale gas, tight gas, and coal seam gas), or other substances for extraction.
As noted above it is a technique which allows for the extraction of more energy sources than would otherwise be possible. According to many sceintifc surveys there are enough such domestic energy resources here in the U.S., which such a technique would make available to extraction, that not only could be achieve energy independence, but we could become a net exporter of energy. This would help us to achieve the goal of another massive economic expansion.
The other goal it would help to achieve is to push back against Islamis extremism. Hardly a day goes by withnout us hearing about some act of violence, or threat to destroy Western Civilization, which can be attributed to this phenomenon. This matter is explored in a recent PJ Media article by Roger Simon:
Now it’s undeniable that back in the twentieth century, Germany, the Soviet Union and China were yet bigger killing machines, but in our time the Islamic world is the problem.
Some say the reasons for this are complex, but I think they’re relatively simple — the mix of plentiful oil and the Islamic religion provides a lethal cocktail. Oil makes it economically unnecessary for that backward region to advance into the modern world and Islam gives it an ideological excuse for not advancing. (Yes, I know some of those countries have no oil, but they were supported, or at least propped up, by those that did.) So a giant portion of our globe — from North Africa into the Horn of Africa, up through the Arab world and into Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan — remains a largely Islamic tribal culture, contributing almost nothing to civilization while continually threatening to destroy it.
He then goes on to ask the question of what to do: “So what can we do? I was one of those optimists who thought intervention in Iraq might be the cure — that we could bring democracy to that part of the world by a (hopefully judicious) use of force. The results so far are at best mixed. In fact, even a cursory look at the map tells us they are considerably worse than that.” Others simply want to use force to kill the extermists where ever we find them. The problem is that there are over 1 billion Muslims, most of whom do not number among the extremists. The latter are adept at hiding amonst the former and intentionally provoking a reaction from the West designed to gain sympathy from the broader Islamic world and thus exapnd recruitment. The idea is that for every extremist killed as a reaction to some provocation, several more with take his place. Simon sees another way to deal with the problem:
It’s time to try a different approach. We could give it the euphemism “tough love” but what it amounts to is cutting off or rapidly phasing out foreign aid to countries like Egypt. Let them see what it’s like to have to support themselves like adult nations do. David Goldman has written several times on this site that they are on their way to becoming a failed state. Well, bring it on. Across that region, other than Israel, they’re all failed states to one degree or another. There is no way to go but up. When forced to make serious decisions, who knows… maybe a few people will grow up.
Meanwhile, we should do everything we can to encourage our own energy independence that is already well under way via fracking. It’s worth noting that recent fatal kidnapping violence occurred at a “remote desert gas plant” in Algeria where foreigners, including Americans, were working. What kind of a life is that? Who would want to be there when they could be back in Ohio or Pennsylvania pulling our own home grown energy out of the ground?
Not only might fracking save the U.S. economy, it might also force a new maturity on the Islamic world by making its people face reality. It also would deny nations like Saudi Arabia (our embarrassingly reactionary friends) and Iran and Venezuela (our even more reactionary enemies) the means to threaten others while oppressing their own people.
I know that sounds, if anything, more optimistic than an old neoconservative claim that an Iraq invasion would build a new Middle East, but we don’t have many other choices — other than bombing what remains of their culture into oblivion. The message of Mali should be clear: more fracking, please.
Apropos of which, two films about fracking have been released recently. I have seen neither of them, one (FrackNation, a pro-fracking documentary I understand is quite good) because I have not had the opportunity yet and the other (Promised Land, an anti-fracking Hollywood feature starring Matt Damon) because I have no intention of wasting my time watching it, although a free Academy screener of Promised Land sits about five feet away from me as I type this. Mr. Damon should be ashamed of himself for creating such uber-conventional, fuddy-duddy, bourgeois eco-twaddle. He deserves nothing more than all-expense paid trip to Mali — on Al Gore’s private jet.