Some wanted cleaner energy (natural gas, a major product of fracking, burns much cleaner than coal or oil, and the shift to fracked gas is the main reason for falling U.S. carbon emissions). Some wanted energy independence. And all of them wanted to make money. But by pushing these technologies over the course of a couple of decades, these “wildcatters” were able to do something that the federal government, despite programs ranging from synfuels to Solyndra, wasn’t: They produced cheap energy and a big step toward energy independence.
Thanks to the fracking revolution, the air is cleaner, gas is cheaper, and petro-state dictatorships have less geopolitical influence. But this happened not as a result of some big-government program, but as the result of individuals staking their lives and fortunes on a risky venture, one that, as Zuckerman notes, made some rich but left others near bankruptcy.
The America that works — based on entrepreneurship, risk and responsibility — delivered as usual. The America that doesn’t work? Well, it’s delivering, too, in its usual fashion. Take note of the difference, for future reference.