Ask a Libertarian

Ask a Libertarian: "Could we hunt and eat endangered animals in a libertarian world?"


Welcome to Ask a Libertarian with Reason's Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch. They are the authors of the new book The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong With America. 

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On June 15, 2011 Gillespie and Welch used short, rapid-fire videos to answer dozens of reader questions submitted via email, Twitter, Facebook, and In this episode, they answer the question:

"My neighbor's hobby is hunting and eating endangered animals. Would he be able to do this in a libertarian society?"

For the complete series, go to and's YouTube Channel at

Produced by Meredith Bragg, Jim Epstein, Josh Swain, with help from Kyle Blaine and Jack Gillespie.

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  1. In a libertarian society you should be able to hunt your neighbors to extinction.

  2. Trick question. No commons, all is private property. There are no endangered animals, at least so long as the owner can make a buck off of them.

    1. No commons, all is private property.

      Trick answer.

      All you said is lies.

      If “No commons, all is property rights” we would have long ago left earth in dragon space ships and earth would now be a pristine all natural organic jewel…..Jupiter on the other hand would be a shit can.

  3. And what is the justification for the assertion that currently existing species must be maintained?
    Why and what costs should we bear to maintain, say, Condors, whose ecological niche is obviously contracting?

    1. Define we.

      I think people who really take the preservation of endangered species seriously can bear whatever costs they choose to purchase land and reshape it as a habitat for animals of their creation, and to acquire private property rights over the animals themselves to further discourage poaching.

      There’s no real social good, since by the nature of their minimal numbers, seriously endangered species aren’t playing a large ecological role. It’s pretty much just a hoarding mindset. They can do that on their own dime.

  4. Endangered animals? Who is going to be in charge of the magical ring when you guys take over? Don’t trust sugarefree, he’ll turn it into a cock ring

  5. Why do Libertarians bother to run for office? If they win (haha), won’t they have to abdicate the throne otherwise cease to be libertarian?

  6. Only if you own them yourself, or get permission from the property owner.

    1. Upon what objective basis can humans never be considered as property but other animals can?

  7. So Nick, let’s hear this recipe for heroin sauce.

  8. In libertopia, you could buy two of each “endangered” animal, put them in a fucking giant boat, get in the boat with them, and GTFO.

    Laws against imaginary neighbors are more of a real world thing.


  9. I think you can also say that it’s the proper role of government to protect certain species by arguing from the libertarian position of not harming others (in the same vein of legalizing all drugs except for antibiotics, or the government taking action to reduce smog pollution).  E.g., if bees become endangered and threaten the food supply, I don’t have a problem with the government identifying the cause and enforcing some action.

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