(I’m just trying to hone my thoughts, sharpen my understanding of politics. What do I know, I’m a young guy. So if I’m way off base here, I wouldn’t be surprised…I’m just trying to better understand the groups people identify with here in America.)
Some Republicans say they’re libertarian. But they’re not the Murray Rothbard, Ayn Rand, Reason Magazine, Ron Paul, sort. They’re not for blowing up the Fed, burning the welfare state with fire, et al. But they’re “fiscally conservative” and “socially liberal.” Let’s call them “small-l libertarians.”
What does it mean to be socially liberal in this country? The only issues I’ve pinned down are gay marriage and legalizing prostitution (National Review has long been skeptical of the drug war, so it wouldn’t be fair to divide conservatives from libertarians using that issue). You might say abortion…But many libertarians – even big-L Libertarians – are not pro-choice.
I guess a small-l libertarian would also differ from a conservative in emphasis. The conservative’s all about traditional values, the libertarian about liberty.
A friend pointed out to me that small-l libertarians also are likely to differ from conservatives on foreign policy. These days, small-l libertarians would be more likely to be for scaling back more military operations, while conservatives would want a tough international presence.
Do I have the basic gist of the differences here or am I way off base?