Why are libertarians generally ridiculed?
Here in Australia libertarianism isn't a well known concept. We are either Labor (Center-Left) voters ir Liberal (ironically Center-right) Voters. Basically you're either Liberal (not the liberal party though) or Conservative. There are a few minor parties but they fit nicely into the 1-dimensional spectrum being either left or right (usually religious-right). I've generally disliked both options and only ever felt like I was voting for the lesser of two evils. I value freedom. The right wants to take away freedom to maintain old fashioned values and the left wants to take away freedom to engineer their idea of utopia.
I only realised that the political spectrum had more than one dimension a couple of years ago when my friends got hold of Penn and Teller's Bullshit on DVD from America. I only watched it to laugh at creationists and new-agers but I noticed their politics were often in line with my own values. When they mentioned that they were Libertarians it provoked me to do some reading and I discovered a politial position I could actually agree with. One built on the value of individual freedoms. It's not an exact match for my values in it's details but it's close. I agree absolutely with the foundation but disagree with some of the conclusions it reaches basend on that foundation.
Now to the point. I often kill time reading discussions on websites like Fark.com. Libertarianism is frequently mentioned and as someone who has recently defined himself as largely libertarian I take an interest. What i've found is that liberatianism is almost universally ridiculed and dismissed. Those who have liberal views with argue with conservatives and vice versa but when a libertarian idea is mentioned it's not even argued with. They just label it as libertarian, laugh at those silly libertarians and move on.
As I meantioned earlier Libertarianism isn't well known where I live so maybe there's something in American culture that I'm missing here (most of the posters are American) Why is it that a political position that seems so right to me is not given the respect of the standard liberal or conservative postions?
Oh, a lesson in not changing history from Mr. I'm-My-Own-Grandpa!