I am a theoretical libertarian/practical conservative. In 1980 as an 18 y/o E-3 in the USAF I read a book by Robert Ringer: "Restoring the American Dream". This book had a powerful influence on my political philosophy. It resonated with me. From then on I labeled my self a Libertarian.
Over the years I came to realize that although the theory of libertarianism was still rooted in my philosophy there were practical limitations that I could not ignore. So my philosophy began to change. The Libertarian Party ran candidates for the Presidency. Although I felt a kinship with them on a theoretical level their platforms always left me in a conflict. I began to call myself a "little L" libertarian to differentiate my philosophy from the Party.
Fast forward 27 years. One day at the golf course I'm having a discussion with a friend and RR (Ringer, not Reagan) & the book came up. I said to myself "Self, I wonder if RR is still alive?"
So I googled him and found his site. Alive and well he was.
Lo and behold! I was shocked to find that I'd had - completely and totally independent of RR - almost the exact change in philosophy as he had! It was one of those moments that you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing. Every generation has them: JFK, RFK, Martin's assassinations; The Challenger disaster; the Berlin Wall; the OJ verdict; Princess Diana; 9/11 (I mention Diana for those across the pond). This was a personal one for me.
RR's site is: http://www.tortoisepressinc.com/ I'd highly recommend a visit. You'll be better for it if you do.
Here is the link to one of the first pages I read the first time I went there: http://www.tortoisepressinc.com/western.php RR and I are not in 100% lockstep, but our ideas are close enough that, if I were a writer this is what I would hope I could have written. I'll share the first few paragraphs. Visit his site for the rest. Regardless of your own philosophy I guarantee it will make you think.
The past 25 years have been an intellectual tug of war for me. Morally, my soul is still attached to the notion that the keystone of libertarianism—liberty—must be given a higher priority than all other objectives. The problem, however, is that this noblest of all objectives often collides with the dominant aspect of secular life: reality.
Reality is synonymous with truth, and truth is unyielding. One can choose to ignore it, scorn it, or even curse it, but all to no avail; in the end, truth impassively stands its ground in the face of the most overpowering emotional, verbal, and intellectual onslaughts.
Further, truth can be especially brutal to those who insist on worshipping at the Altar of Theory. This is because truth has a way of frustrating theory and, much like a mongoose circling a snake, ultimately wearing it down and devouring it.
More to the point, truth—or reality—seems to take special delight in thumbing its nose at theory and leaving purist libertarians frustrated in the process. So much so that the past two-and-a-half decades have brought about a personal and accelerating evolution that has brought me ever more rapidly to what I consider to be a more mature view of life.
I believe this view has made it possible for me to see the world as it actually is rather than the way I would like it to be. Instead of seeing life as a black-and-white objectivist or unyielding, anarchistic libertarian, I now view life through the eyes of a hybrid ideologue: theoretical libertarian/practical conservative.