Joshua over at The Pittsford Perennialist writes to defend the libertarian ideology from the charge that it is heartless and selfish: Libertarianism = Nonaggression. Joshua excerpts the libertarian activist and theorist Lew Rockwell, who provides this quote: "The libertarian idea is based on a fundamental moral principle: nonaggression. No one may initiate physical force against anyone else."
Of course, insofar as libertarianism embraces that idea, there isn't anything wrong with it. The problem with libertarianism from a conservative perspective, as noted exhaustively by Russell Kirk in his landmark essay on libertarianism, is that libertarians habitually fall into the trap of ideologizing that principle to the point where society acting through the State has no ability to recognize and inculcate moral norms. In this, libertarianism is very much like its sibling ideology, modern liberalism. And both ideologies end up undermining freedom by undermining order.
As the English statesman Edmund Burke and our own Founding Fathers well understood, it is impossible to have freedom without order, and for that reason neither Burke nor our Founders set out to create a modern liberal or libertarian polity. They sought to defend systems that would preserve ordered liberty, the notion that individual rights are balanced by individual duties. It is this mix of rights and duties that constitutes the core of both the conservative and classical liberal approach to the relationship between human beings and society, between individuals and the State. And it on this basis that the conservative and the classical liberal must object to libertarianism. Not on account of its non-aggression principle, but on account of its inability to account for the need for a virtuous citizenry and the role that law and State action plays in shaping a virtuous citizenry.
Of course, in this, as in all things, most libertarians' errors are easily corrected by a close reading of Burke, John Adams, Russell Kirk and -- for the truly adventurous -- St. Thomas Aquinas and the social encyclicals of the Roman pontiffs. Take up and read. Take up and read.