|Source: Hoover Institution-|
If you look at what libertarianism actually is and I'm not talking about Ayn Rand libertarianism, which I see more as anarchism, but Milton Friedman what I would call mainstream libertarianism, its about maximize freedom and responsibility for the individual. Meaning adults can live their own lives as they see fit, as long as they are not hurting innocent people with their freedom. Meaning adults can live their own lives as they see fit, as long as they are not forcing people to do what they are doing or hurting innocent people in any way.
If you look at what mainstream libertarianism is and what's been called classical liberalism and classical conservatism is, they really aren't that different. They all believe in individual liberty, individualism, the U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, constitutional rights, American capitalism, and limited government. They all just have different approaches to these issues. Liberals, Conservatives and Libertarians, are all individualist and not collectivist like Socialists or statist like Communists and other authoritarians. Liberals, Conservatives, and Libertarians, have more in common I believe than things that they disagree with. Especially on social issues and differ more on economic and foreign policy than anything and have different versions of limited government.
To take what Liberals, Conservatives and Libertarians disagree on which I'll admit is more fun, lets start with economic policy. Liberals believe there's a role for government to provide a safety net for people who fall through the cracks, to help them get up and become self-sufficient. As well as regulate the economy to prevent people from hurting each other in the economy. Conservatives believe in some form of a safety net, but that it should have as much choice in it as possible and be decentralized as possible.
Conservatives believe in some for of regulation as well, like anti-monopoly laws, that sort of thing, but that regulation should generally be mild. Libertarians traditionally speaking have been against all forms of a safety net, especially from the Federal Government. But lately Libertarian presidential candidates Representative Ron Paul and former Governor Gary Johnson, have moderated those positions. And have talked about privatizing the American safety net and block granting it to the states. Libertarians don't want government involved in the economy at all basically.
On foreign policy Liberals and Conservatives tend to be internationalists but again in different forms. Liberals tend to be more willing to negotiate and Conservatives tend to be more willing to use military force. Libertarians tend to be isolationist on foreign policy that we shouldn't butt into other countries affairs.
I believe if the Libertarian Party and movement were to ever moderate its position on the safety net state and the War on Drugs, taking more conservative positions on those issues, like being for privatization and block granting of the safety net and being in favor of marijuana legalization yes, but stop there and come out in favor of getting drug addicts out of prison and into drug rehab instead, the Libertarian Party could become a major force in American politics. Because Americans tend not to like big government bossing them around and telling them what they can and can't do with their own lives and bodies.