Andrew Cuomo, the Governor of New York, is half-hearted about economic freedom but is full-on against value-creation.

In Albany on December 17, the Governor (and possible future Presidential candidate) announced the licensing of three new casinos —striking a minor blow for freedom—while declaring a permanent ban on fracking for natural gas —striking a major blow against freedom.

Libertarian reasons for freedom...

From a libertarian point of view, these two acts kind of balance each other out. But in real life, they don't.

Slot machine gamblers: do they look like they're living well?

A libertarian would point out that both Cuomo's acts relate to government prohibitions against voluntary acts. By banning and restricting trades related to vices—like pot sales or casino betting—the government just creates more criminals and exposes the people most attached to vice to shady dealings. It's economically inefficient , in other words. And economically speaking, banning trades related to virtues has similar deliterious effects, plus it prevents people from doing what they need to do to live well.

...aren't Objectivist reasons for freedom.

Still, in real life, it makes a huge difference whether we have freedom to harm ourselves or whether we have freedom to do what makes a flourishing life possible. What Cuomo has done is offer more opportunities for people to waste money on bets that are rigged to be losers, while at the same time banning profitable investments in a basic good—energy—that all of us need for the achievement of every good thing we do.
new york's andrew cuomo banned fracking economic repercussionsWe have the right to do wrong . Indeed, freedom to make mistakes is the flip side of freedom to make good choices—it's hard to succeed without screwing up now and then. And sometimes what one person calls a vice—Islam looks down on interest payments, for instance—is something others can use to create great values. So there are good reasons to value freedom as such—to be, politically, a libertarian in other words.
But in the end, we need freedom in order to live. And the core freedom we then need is the right to use property to create values—goods that promote our lives and our projects. That's what fracking does: it has created an explosion of wealth and made energy—both natural gas and petroleum—cheaper and more amply supplied than ever.
By banning fracking and licensing casinos, New York State has wedded itself to abetting unreason and disvalue, while banning reason and value-creation.

Add casinos to fix the economy?

The fracking ban has hit the “Southern Tier” of New York particularly hard. South of the state border, fracking is in full swing in Pennsylvania, exploiting the Marcellus Shale the two states share. But in the Southern Tier, unemployment is high and prospects are bleak. Taking note of this, today Governor Cuomo has sent a letter to the casino board , demanding an extra casino be licensed somewhere in the southern part of the state.
It is plain that the Governor thinks allowing gambling will make up for all the industry that has been destroyed by state's high taxes, heavy regulation, and its—longstanding but now permanent—ban on fracking.
Is it any wonder most of New York State is an economic basket case? Value-creation is unwelcome there—but the door is open to disvalue and vice.


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