A reader writes:
Both Patrick Deneen and Rod Dreher miss the point in responding to George Will’s column cheerleading the rise of hydraulic fracturing. Conservatism as once defined simply doesn’t exist anymore, and it has been replaced by a reactionary ideology that is no longer for things but explicitly against things. Chiefly, liberal things, or even things that Republicans used to support but now that they are advanced by Democrats and liberals, they must be renounced. Hence the personal vitriol against Michelle Obama and her campaign to reduce childhood obesity (really, who in their right mind is against that?), the insertion of the Keystone Pipeline provision in the payroll tax bill (take that, tree huggers!), the reflexive opposition to solar and alternative energy, and on and on. As you’re fond of noting, it’s a party in advanced stage of degeneracy.
I was hoping you'd get in on the anti-fracking side. If any issue is tailor-made for a true conservative defense, this is.
I am from a small town in upstate New York that sits on top of the Marcellus Shale. The fracking debate has thrown it into upheaval and has divided the community more than any issue in memory. These gas companies are buying the state government – through millions in lobbying – to mandate drilling against the wishes of local town boards. I feel for the poor dairy farmers in the region, who are jumping to cash in on royalties from leasing their land. But their plight stems from a decades-long agriculture policy controlled by big agribusiness and bureaucrats that has abused the land and squelched small farmers' ingenuity. A further assault, in the form of free license to frack, on the ability of ordinary citizens to control their fate only would only compound this long cycle of decline. It is the enemy of conservatism.