The libertarian philosophy is, “Live and let live.” Each individual must be free to do as they please, as long as they do not infringe upon the equal rights of others.
Libertarians simply oppose the initiation of force. We seek a society where as much of human interaction as possible is peaceful and voluntary. However, libertarians are not pacifists; the sole legitimate use of force is in defense of life, liberty, and property.
All laws are backed up with the threat of force. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t carry any weight, and so would be meaningless. Sometimes, this force is used as a means to deter or punish those who would themselves initiate force against people. These laws are entirely consistent with the libertarian philosophy. But all too much of the time, laws are passed which don’t have anything to do with stopping or punishing the initiation of force. Some such laws are written to manipulate people’s behavior, while others quite literally are direct initiations of force. Regardless of whether or not these laws are successful at achieving their objectives, libertarians oppose them on principle, because we are opposed to initiating force, especially to achieve goals.
We apply the standard of voluntary action and non-aggression to everyone around us in our daily lives. Why can’t we hold our government to the same standard?