So many people don't really"get" libertarianism. It is often misrepresented as well as misunderstood. Let's not forget to include misapplied.
So many people are under the misguided notion that libertarianism is about rebellion and rejection and is based on being selfish. They couldn't be more wrong. Libertarianism is about principled thought and behavior based on individual freedom.
What libertarianism really boils down to is the application of individual Free Will. All libertarians agree that every individual inherently has Free Will. As to the source of it, some say it's bequeathed upon us by a deity, others say it's incidental to birth. Either way, we cherish Free Will above all else.
From Free Will we are able to directly trace those natural rights as mentioned in the Declaration of Independence.
Free Will gives us the right to have our life. The right to defend our life and the right to maintain or sustain our life.
Free Will gives us autonomy in thought and action. From Free Will we have Free association, freedom of speech, freedom to organize and gather as we choose.
All Libertarians understand that with all these freedoms and rights comes responsibility. We have the responsibility not to interfere with others people's freedom and rights. We have the responsibility to not cause harm to others through irresponsibility or deliberately.
So naturally, libertarians are extremely skeptical about not just government, but any group that attempts to restrict or restrain individual Free Will or those rights derived from that.
Freedom of association is a biggie for us because it translates not only into who we spend our time with and whom we allow to influence us but how we allocate our resources. Freedom of association is directly tied to how and where where spend our valuables. Whether it be in the form of trade, barter or precious metals and gems or currency.
This leads us to markets. How we involve ourselves in the marketplace. For example, government thinks it should continuously intercede and interfere in the marketplace.
This occurs primarily through establishing standards and regulations based on those standards. Libertarians contend that we don't need the government involved in setting standards or meddling in the marketplace.
You don't need regulations to have standards. You don't need to enforce standards at gunpoint. Take the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for example. People have used it as a standard bearer for decades. Many businesses will not make a change in products or services offered unless they are certain it will meet and achieve the Good Housekeeping seal of approval.
All voluntary. No government involvement whatsoever. Yet people and companies adhere to those standards without regulatory action except by Good Housekeeping themselves awarding or not awarding this coveted seal of approval.
This is applied libertarianism in practice. It works very well. Libertarianism is optimistic. It has expectations that people can and should be able to achieve for themselves, on their own terms and in ways that respect freedom for and of all people.
Libertarianism believes that "the greater good" is ensuring that the individual is protected and defended in their freedom and rights. That as long as every individual is protected this, then any and all persons are so protected. We disagree that the "greater good" is founded in collectivism.