The terms “liberal” and “conservative” seem to have evolved to mean socialism and fascism, respectively. Liberals tend to promote a highly regulated economy that re-distributes wealth to “benefit” the lazy or incompetent at the expense of property rights. On the other hand, conservatives prefer to legislate morality because of some sort of misguided superiority complex telling them that they know how to live your life better than you do, also at the expense of property rights. Combine the ingredients and viola! You have totalitarianism, or at least a nicely paved road towards that end. A steady progression towards the ultimate goal of communism. Karl Marx would be proud.
Which leads me to ponder what exactly the term “libertarianism” really means and what it’s purpose is. Depending on how far back you go, liberalism in the classic sense is almost identical to libertarianism. The same applies to conservatism, again depending on which part of history you are referring to. So what are we doing calling ourselves libertarians when we are truely the principled liberals and conservatives? Are we compelled to distinguish ourselves as a fringe group?
Update: The Register-Guard has a nice about this subject from a university education perspective.