by Evelyn Pyburn

While undoubtedly every bit as significant as John Harpole declares the Shale Revolution to be, (front page article of this issue of the Big Sky Business Journal), as an example of the average American citizens’ ability to impact the world, is not that unusual.

(It was after all the US that spawned what is now worldwide acceptance of the idea that the common man can be educated. Before the US started educating the children of commoners, education was only for elite men, even women were discriminated against.)

The Shale Revolution, however, is most certainly an extraordinary reminder that not all ideologies, all life philosophies nor governments are equal.

I know that to suggest other countries might want to adopt freedom is anathema to political correctness, as though it is rude and impolite to point out deficiencies that are destroying the lives of millions – but really, if this is not an appropriate point to do so, there can be no other.

If what kind of government a country has is to be left to each to choose, if that does not mean it should be a choice of the people, then it is no choice at all. If any American believes simply pointing that out, is an embarrassment, then what ever it is they want on this planet has nothing to do with humanity or world peace.

It’s what the rest of us mean by “American exceptionalism.” Americans are exceptional in the FREEDOM that they have to pursue individual choices in life, which makes all the difference in outcomes. It is not trying to say that we are exceptional as human beings, quite the contrary. It is to say that all human beings deserve freedom and they would achieve so much more were they to be free. But, I don’t think people are as confused by that as they pretend to be. I think they know what is meant.

What Mr. Harpole tells us, about the Shale Revolution, is that it wasn’t government that saved our bacon, as we looked bleakly upon a future dependent upon a ruthless dictator for survival – far from it – it was individual citizens empowered by property rights and free choice. It could be argued that individual citizens did it despite government.

It did not happen because individual people of the US are somehow superior to any others… it is that we have the freedom to function as individuals – to pursue ideas, dreams, ambitions. To succeed and fail in a way that benefits everyone in our communities. That is what is meant by exceptional. And if wishing that for all people of the world is an “imposition” or an arrogance, then I do not know how better to help my fellow human beings. 

It should be disturbing that such a huge, huge, huge success story for the US, regarding the Shale Revolution, has gone so little remarked upon by our media or in any public venue. It is beyond deserving of tickertape parades, bell ringing and national holiday proclamations…it is equal, in terms of its meaning and significance to world history, as was the outcome of WWI and WWII.

Why it is so ignored is no less a quandary than why there is so little discussion or publicity about how Russia is funding the protestors of petroleum industry technology or each advancement in developing the industry’s infrastructure and potential. Wouldn’t citizens look a bit differently upon the significance of the protests and upon those conducting the protests if they were to understand the source?

If we are to be concerned about the possibility of Russia tampering with our political elections, shouldn’t we be as equally alarmed about their ability to shape public opinion on important policies and actions through fake demonstrations? Why shouldn’t we be alarmed about Russia making it appear as though there is strong citizen support in opposition to fracing or pipelines, through a contrivance of an enemy?

Even before any Newsweek report, as was mentioned by Mr. Harpole, many locals had been hearing anecdotal information that protestors said that they were protesting because they were being paid to be there. Some commenting on how much they get paid per day; bus drivers who said that North Dakota protestors reported that “others” were paying for their bus tickets, other protestors said that they would be glad to sit in trees as many days as anyone wanted them to, as long as they were making $30,000 a year.

Comments far less incendiary about the most ridiculous of things make it into headlines every day – why not these?

Nothing more would really be necessary to correct the effectiveness of such strategy, other than public exposure.

One has to suspect that the answer is similar to the same reasons as to why there is so little fanfare about the Shale Revolution.

Yeah, America!