Liberals and libertarians have accomplished little in America but to give liberty a bad name
The paradox of freedom is simple yet profound: One individual's freedom of action will often have an unintentional effect of limiting another person's choices. By definition, you're not free when someone else's actions are directly limiting your own action choices.
As such, the debate over freedom is generally framed as one person's freedom versus another's. Is the smoker free to smoke at his favorite bar, or are the non-smokers to be free to breath smoke-free air?
Modern liberals have a few biases in their opinion, and it can kind of be summed up in a nationalistic and collectivist way. Its all about the greater good, so you shouldn't necessarily be free to impose your unhealthy habits on others. This is the liber- root that influences modern liberalism in America, but so many on the left side of the spectrum will take these ideas even further. If you eat the wrong food or even smoke in the privacy of your own home, you're still imposing a forced action on society because of increased aggregate medical demand. Unfortunately, this logic carried out to its conclusion reduces the individual to a cog in a highly efficient machine - and freedom loses priority to efficiency.
American libertarians will often come up with equally strange conclusions when the liber- root is considered. As Rand Paul demonstrated on Maddow last night, a Republican with libertarian & Tea Party affiliations might have a hard time giving a straight answer on something directly related to individual liberty: The Civil Rights Act.
"Should a business be able to discriminate against customers based on race, religion, or belief?" And there are many self-proclaimed promoters of liberty who would support that "right" to discriminate from any legal reproach. Of course, they'll concede afterward, the bigoted shop owner deserves to be boycotted and ostracized - but we can't let the courts get involved!
Higher Education is a Liberty conspiracy
Republicans will often accuse intellectuals & professors & institutions of higher learning to be part of a leftist, liberal conspiracy - and there is almost a shred of truth in that.
The fact is that only an educated society can ever hope to be free, because only an educated society can begin to understand what freedom truly means. Much as the printing press brought knowledge to larger populations, hopefully so does the internet expand our capacity for understanding and feeling empathy for those who most need the protection of freedom.
When liberals side with Hollywood and police unions on intellectual property & drug laws, they're generally siding with the liberty of those who already have money and power against the freedoms of those who don't. The same exact thing happens when libertarians side with business owners and socially conservative religious voters. Natural social and economic power doesn't need the government to protect its freedom - its us people that need protection from the institutions that generate such natural power.