Quote from JohnSwift »There are different factions inside libertarianism that want different things, just like there are different groups within Conservatism and Liberalism in America today. (If you don't believe me, compare Russell Kirk to Sean Hannidy.) Minarchists are probably the biggest faction (or group of groups) within Libertarianism in America, but they aren't the only ones. Anarchocapitalism, or right anarchism, is also a well-entrenched position in Libertarian thought. Indeed, Murray Rothbard, Mr. Libertarian himself, was an AnCap. To answer Lithl's point, different Libertarians say different things. There seem to be a couple reasons for this:
--Some don't understand the theory, or don't take the time to look it up. I've meet people before who say that they want people to just be able to do whatever they want, but have never heard of the Nonagression principle or Lockean defense of property rights. As such, they can come to a lot of conclusions that are in conflict with libertarianism.
--Some come to libertarianism on utilitarian grounds, and advocate for more freedom because it is useful for societal wellbeing. (That term is honestly just a fancy way of saying "things being more in line with whatever I consider to be good." Thankfully there are a lot of things that most reasonable people agree on. Just about everyone I've ever met would say that it's better for people to be well-fed and enjoying themselves rather than starving and dying, for example.) Because they advocate liberty on the basis of outcomes, not on the principle of the matter, they also can come to conclusions that can conflict with libertarianism. They say essentially "freedom is the way to go because it works." Utilitarian Libertarians can argue that their positions are consistent with libertarianism, with varying degrees of plausibility.
--Some come to libertarianism on basis of the principle of the matter. Starting from the principle that you own yourself and own other stuff, ought not to violate anyone's property rights. The philosophical justifications for this vary. Natural rights theory is the main one, I think, but I may be mistaken, as I haven't been exposed to enough people in the movement to definitively say. Taken to its logical conclusion, this leads to Anarchocapitalism--the theory that since governments,force you to pay taxes without consent or a legitimate ownership of the land and do a number of other things to abridge your rights, that they are inherently in violation of human rights and ought to be eliminated in favor of private companies and charities. Many people who believe in the principle balk at this conclusion, however, and come to minarchism or conservatism as a result. They'll offer justifications for governments' existence, primarily that we need it to survive. This is probably dominant because it is so very intuitive. Thus, conflict among libertarians who believe in libertarianism based on the principle can arise, but it is different from the kinds of disagreements that arise between principle-based libertarians and utilitarianism-based libertarians in that squabbles between principle-based libertarians focus on what policy is implied by libertarian theory and/or values. Utilitarian vs principle on the other hand usually boils down to argument over what justification ought to be used in setting the political structures advocated in libertarian circles: the Utilitarian says "do what works" while the advocate for principle says "do what's right, based on our ideas/values."
I hope that clears things up.
EDIT: There are a lot of Libertarians outside the Libertarian Party. Also, you can dispute the libertarian credentials of some people in it. It's not exactly representative of libertarianism as a whole, therefore.
How would you define correct libertarianism?