David Cameron made a significant speech the other day at the Conservative Conference where he spoke for over an hour on a range of subjects. It was well delivered but one point really grates. He commented on political philosophies and in particular libertarianism saying "But freedom can too easily turn into the idea that we all have the right to do whatever we want, regardless of the effect on others. That is libertarian, not Conservative - and it is certainly not me".
Libertarianism is not that. While there are a number of forms of libertarianism around, as there are with say socialism or liberalism, the one he was rejecting is right wing libertarianism where people should be free to live their lives as they wish, so long as they do not interfere with the ability of anyone else to be free. Libertarianism exists on the point of voluntary choices and that coercion, whether individual or state backed, is wholly contrary to this belief. Being a libertarian doesnt mean that I do whatever I want and to hell with you lot. Thats anarchism. David Cameron is being wholly disingenuous about this and while its understandable why he does this, he really does need to engage brain before speaking like he did. The public may not care too much, but to the core Tory vote it will matter as its a matter of belief. This is even worse since he derides libertarianism even though he said a while back that he was an "instinctive libertarian" and at Conference preached so much libertarian thought about government getting off peoples backs and allowing the people to be free.
Libertarianism isnt a free for all. It is based upon individual responsibility and real financial prudence. Cameron's efforts to triangulate himself between the hardcore socialists and the extreme anarchists to appear moderate is a bad strategy and misrepresents those he rejects of his own party.