| June 25, 2013

In Oklahoma, freedom works

In a recent video titled "What in the World? An America That Works," CNN’s Fareed Zakaria touted what he sees as the recent rise of Oklahoma (and other states in the heartland) to prominence in the national and global economic picture. As an Okie, I like that he is saying positive things about Oklahoma, but he is missing the point on "why" it works by a mile.

Contrary to the commentary in the video, Oklahoma's success has little to do with "investments in education" or the "smart government regulation" of the energy industry. In fact, those in the education establishment claim they are woefully underfunded (did CNN just disrupt their narrative?) and business leaders across the state need more skilled workers (the kind our common education system is not producing). No, we are enjoying this success because a significant part of our population still understands the value of work and the power of individual initiative. We value freedom, and we don't wait on the government to do it for us.

While it is nice to be praised for our robust economy and our achievements as a community, I might suggest that being mentioned alongside New York City (whose mayor wants to dictate citizens' drink choices) or Chicago (which has some of the nation’s strictest — and least effective — gun control laws) is not actually a compliment. And let's not forget that the production techniques many in those states vilify, are the very ones driving the success of outstanding Oklahoma energy producers who have voluntarily donated millions to help their neighbors in a time of need.

It is always great to see my home state praised in the national media. I just want to make sure the story is told correctly. The states mentioned in the video are enjoying success because they embrace ideas such as the heartland tax rebellion and opportunity where pioneers and entrepreneurs still chase their dreams. In fact, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas rightly pointed out that in his state "light taxation and regulation produced more jobs than any state, and an economy growing at twice the national state average."

It is a difficult principle for liberals in the media to understand that success and progress actually occur in the private sector in spite of the government, not because of the government. While some may claim we didn't build it or that we owe a debt to some government service, agency, or system for the successes we enjoy, Oklahoma responds with a polite yet pointed, "I beg your pardon," and backs it up with the data to prove freedom works and government doesn't.

A national news network has noticed something special here, and I hope they keep watching. I am proud of who we are. I just don't think CNN knows who or what that actually is.

Loading Next