What’s the libertarian position on abortion? What’s the libertarian position on hate speech? What’s the libertarian position on corporate welfare? The question about the official libertarian position on various controversial topics is common, especially amongst anti-libertarians who are looking for something to crucify libertarians with and freshly converted libertarians. However, it’s not a good question because libertarianism doesn’t have many official positions.
The foundation of most branches of libertarianism is the non-aggression principle, which states that initiating aggression is undesirable. Other common principles include strong individualism and support for private property. The common principle of strong individualism butts heads with the question about the official libertarian position. While individual libertarians may hold a specific position on a controversial topic, there is seldom an official libertarian position because such an official position would go against individualism.
For example, there is no official libertarian position on abortion. Many libertarians see abortion as aggression against a fetus and therefore believe abortion is immoral. On the other hand, many other libertarians see forcing a mother to carry an unwanted fetus until birth as a violation of her self-ownership and therefore believe abortion is moral (or at least more moral than violating the mother’s self-ownership).
Oftentimes libertarians themselves fail to understand the strong individualism common in the philosophy they follow. When asked what the libertarian position on a topic is, they will give their position as the official libertarian position. But speaking authoritatively for others without having that authority delegated to you by the individuals you’re speaking for is collectivism, which is commonly accepted as anti-libertarian.
The question isn’t what the libertarian position is but what a libertarian’s position is. What is your position on abortion? What is your position on hate speech? What is your position on corporate welfare?