Many years ago if one called himself a libertarian he was viewed as a sort of child molester. People looked at him as some rebellious teenager who wants to do whatever he wants. He wants to do drugs, shoot some guns, and disregard the law at any chance he gets. He was the rebel. And one who opposed to anything the government did. The libertarian was so heavily disliked by both the people on the left and right because he was seen as someone who wants to destroy society, suspend all laws, and let everything be whatever it wants to be.
Today the perception of the libertarian changed. Now it is okay among both the people on the left and right to call themselves libertarians. Not very frequently but you do notice it. I have spoken and heard of several "civil libertarians" or "left libertarians" or whatever they call themselves. But there is nothing libertarian about them. When it comes to the economy they still maintain the same rigid control and even when it comes to people's personal life they still are not very libertarian. They might agree that people have the right to take marijuana but they do not feel the same with cocaine or heroin. They often support the disarmament of the citizens, if not guns then assault rifles and machine guns. Support seat-belt laws and favor high taxation. These people who call themselves "civil libertarians" or "left libertarians" are either ignorant of what they say or dishonest, I believe they are simply ignorant. Even their position with gay marriage is non-libertarian, the libertarian position on gay marriage is the abolition of the interference with the state with marriage. Like Bill Maher. He calls himself a libertarian but what exactly is he a libertarian about? Smoking marijuana? No, not even that issue, we wants to tax it.
These "left libertarians" are nothing but liberals. The positions they take are identical to the left. They are just probably a little confused. Maybe bi-confused also, but they are confused about these words so they call themselves libertarians with some other noun attached to it. These are not the kind of people you need to beware of, they do not intentionally try to be deceptive, they never hide their true intentions, they are just bi-confused. So it is forgivable.
The kind of people to beware are Republicans who call themselves "libertarians". In most cases today when someone calls himself a "libertarian" it is a hardcore Republican. They usually favor cutting taxes by a lot, but not because of some philosophical objection to paying taxes (since they do not want to abolish all taxes) but because they do not like paying more taxes. They generally want to continue the same Republican economics. They might actually support gay marriage on a few occasions, and maybe, in certain cases support legalizing drugs. There is a joke about libertarians that libertarians are just gay Republicans who like to do drugs. And this joke has truth to it. Most libertarians that I have seen are very similar to Republicans, they just differ from them on a few points. However, when it comes to expanding the US empire or preventing the illegals from coming into this country they have no problem with that. And no problem with capital punishment. These people like to be fiscal conservatives whenever it is convenient for them. It is just like the Confederacy during the Civil War. The Confederate army was not some champion of states rights. They were pro-state rights whenever it was convenient for them. They wanted slavery so they supported states rights as a covenience. But they had no objection to the federal fugitive slave law being passed. These libertarians always pretend they are some strict followers of the Constitution. They use the Constitution when it is convenient. When they object to any form of universal healthcare they say it is unconstitutional. But when they want to prevent a mosque being build by ignoring the first amendment is that called being constitutional?
These libertarians are not inspired by fiscal conservatism, or laissez-faire economics, or the philosophy or liberty. They have their own stances that they call under "libertarian". They do not really support fiscal conservatism, when it becomes convenient for them to use the government for their own ends they would happily support it. And they most certainly do not defend liberty. They preach liberty and the Constitution when it is convenient. But the moment they find something they do not agree with they will have no problem with using the federal government to take away the rights of those they disagree with.
These people are to be dealt with caution. They feed on the people truly in favor of liberty because they both identify themselves with a common tag. These libertarians use conservatism and liberty to promote their own interests. Beware of these people. Especially today when calling yourself a libertarian is semi-acceptable. As time will evolve you will start seeing more and more of these people.
There are of course genuine libertarian out there. But they are very rare. So when one calls himself a "libertarian" deal with him with a lot of skepticism because there is a good chance that he is just a hardcore Republican.