Often, libertarianism is defined as "fiscally conservative and socially liberal." I believe it is time to put a stop to this misnomer, and replace it with something that holds true all of the time.
There is no denying that many in the libertarian camp are both fiscally conservative and socially liberal. But that by no means insists that all libertarians are socially liberal. (Some even claim to be libertarians who are economically "liberal" -I just call them wrong.) In fact, many libertarians are both economically and socially conservative.*
For example, we find evidence of socially and fiscally conservative libertarians in folks like Ron Paul, Lew Rockwell, and Mark Sanford. In fact, the Ron Paul Revolution is based around a movement heavily influenced by socially conservative free marketeers. I know many of those who ran Dr. Paul's presidential campaign and those who now run Campaign for Liberty and Young Americans for Liberty. They are not social liberals; far from it!
Sure, there is some tension between some "right" and "left" libertarians. I have blogged about the rift between beltway libertarians--who lean socially liberal--and the Austrian/paleo libertarians--who lean socially conservative, myself (here and here). But, for the most part, both camps get along well together and strive for the common goal of human freedom.
So how do we explain the compatibility of these socially liberal and socially conservative fiscal conservatives? How can two groups of individuals who differ widely on social issues reconcile their differences? The answer is that both are libertarians, and libertarianism is not about social liberalism or conservatism. Libertarianism is about social responsibility. (Continue reading here.)