Walter Russell Mead makes fun of the NYT’s discomfort with the aesthetically displeasing aspects of the oil and gas boom in the Midwest:
Decline is so much more decorous. Prairie towns slowly wither on the vine; the young people quietly leave, the stores gradually empty and close. Reporters from the Times write haunting and moving stories about the gentle, drifting sadness of it all. Novelists in creative writing programs can write delicate tales of rural decline; filmmakers can make understated little films about the lost hope and vanished promise of the American dream.
The Obama administration would also love for such withering to continue so North Dakota can be turned into the Buffalo Commons, a nature preserve for bison, where oil and gas stay locked in the ground, as our whole nation undergoes a decorous decline while our independence hinges on the whims of Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.
As Mead says: “Boom towns: let’s hope we get more of them.”