A few days ago, John Reese posted the following on Twitter:
"i used to think libertarians were a bit wacky but now I'm really starting to see that a lot of what they believe makes sense / 'grant me the freedom to do whatever I want unless it infringes on the freedom of others.' it's essentially what Thomas Jefferson stated"
John, in my experience, you were right -- Libertarians are a bit wacky. But Libertarianism isn't.
I figured out while I was in college that I was a libertarian with a little "L", a.k.a. a "classical liberal" (not to be confused with a "modern liberal", which is what people usually mean when they say "liberal" these days). In other words, I believe in the core philosophy behind libertarianism, but I wouldn't feel at home in the Libertarian party. Why? My guess is that, since the libertarian philosophy is about as accepting of diversity as any you'll find, the Libertarian party tends to attract the wacky people who could never be embraced elsewhere.
So how can I be a "libertarian" without being a "Libertarian"? While I believe strongly in allowing people their own beliefs and values, my beliefs and values are not very well aligned with those of many of the members of the Libertarian party. They can believe and do what they want, and I'm fine with that, but I don't want my name associated with the predominant beliefs of the party's members.
If all of the "classical liberals" in the country were to join the Libertarian party, I might join too, but right now, I think they're just a little too "wacky".