Victor Davis Hanson
For all the Obama-era talk of decline, there is at least one reason why America probably won't, at least not quite yet.
"Peak oil" and our "oil addiction" were supposed to have ensured that we ran out of either gas or the money to buy it. Now, suddenly, we have more gas and oil than ever before. But the key question is: Why do we?
The oil and gas renaissance was brought on by horizontal drilling and fracking that opened up vast new reserves either previously unknown or considered unrecoverable. Both technological breakthroughs were American discoveries, largely brought on by entrepreneurial mavericks and engineers exploring on mostly private lands. Couldn't the Saudi, Venezuelan or Nigerian oil industry have discovered these new methods of resource recovery, given their nations' reliance on petroleum exportation?
The world now wakes up to iPhone communication, Amazon online buying, social networking on
Even in its third century, America is still the most meritocratic nation in the world. Unlike the caste system of
Businesses evaluate proposals on the basis of what makes them lots of money. Publishers want writing that a lot of people will read. Popular culture is simply a reflection of what the majority seems to want. In the long run, that bottom line leads to national wealth and power.
If history is a guide, the most savvy Chinese citizen of Japanese descent would not make it as a high official in
It would be virtually impossible for the most talented Christian or Jew to be allowed to head contemporary
The mixture of consumer capitalism and constitutionally protected free speech -- and all sorts of races, religions and ethnicities -- sometimes means that America can be a wild place with a popular culture that appears crass and uncouth to those abroad. Our generation's
Yet the upside to the wild arena of America is that almost anyone is free to enter it.
Just when we read obituaries about an unruly nation of excess, unlikely nobodies pop up to pioneer fracking, the Napa wine industry or
The end of American exceptionalism will come not when we run out of gas, wheat or computers, but when we end the freedom of the individual, and, whether for evil or supposedly noble reasons, judge people not on their achievement but on their name, class, race, sex or religion -- in other words, when we become like most places the world over.
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