Libratarianism sometimes gets catagorized as a subset of conservatism, but political philosophies tend to have a lot of interesting internal contradictions. Jim points to a post on Mahablog that, in turn, notes a very interesting piece by Chris Bertram, Corey Robin and Alex Gourevitch: Let It Bleed: Libertarianism and the Workplace.
Libertarianism is a philosophy of individual freedom. Or so its adherents claim. But with their single-minded defense of the rights of property and contract, libertarians cannot come to grips with the systemic denial of freedom in private regimes of power, particularly the workplace. When they do try to address that unfreedom, as a group of academic libertarians calling themselves “Bleeding Heart Libertarians” have done in recent months, they wind up traveling down one of two paths: Either they give up their exclusive focus on the state and become something like garden-variety liberals or they reveal that they are not the defenders of freedom they claim to be.
Well worth the read - both of the pieces. When I first encountered the idea years ago it seemed like a good thing - pushing very hard on maintaining civil liberties, but it quickly became clear it was being used to justify class and priviledge in America. The fine summary quote in the piece on Mahablog is so true:
That Libertarians have wrapped themselves in the mantle of Patrick Henry while arguing for the rights of King George’s aristocracy is brilliant. That they themselves can’t see that’s what they are doing is pathological.