Libertarian position…a query

by cactus

As I understand it, the Libertarian position is that for the most part, if an entity (a person, a company, or a corporation) wants to do something with property it owns, it should generally be allowed to do so. I don’t want to be arguing with a strawman, so if I have an incorrect view of the Libertarian position, someone please let me know.

But, assuming this is right, the problem with the Libertarian position is one of externalities. Dump toxic waste in a river that passes along one’s property, and that toxic waste is still there when the river passes through someone property, which means they can’t swim in drink the water. (Well, maybe they can… once.) Enjoy listening to loud music on your property and you may be preventing your neighbor from enjoying some sleep at 2 AM. Put another way… one entity’s right to use its own property as it pleases means other entities don’t.

All of which is to say, assuming I am not, in fact, arguing with a strawman, the Libertarian position is internally inconsistent. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Or rather, for every action, there is a cost. The Libertarian position essentially says that an entity is entitled to make others pay a cost for what it chooses to do.

I think the Libertarian position can be salvaged very easily, however, because my position is essentially similar to that of the Libertarians. See, like the Libertarians, I believe an entity should be able to do just about anything they want on their own property. I just think that they have no rights to do anything at all on another’s property without that property owner’s permission. All of which is to say… if you want to play loud music at 2 AM, you should be welcome to do it provided you also take on the costs of ensuring that ambient sound does not rise so much as a fraction of a decibel anywhere outside of your property. Now, that may sound costly to you, but someone has to pay it. Why should the someone be third parties who had nothing to do with creating that cost?
by cactus