The most fundamental difference between conservatism and libertarianism is one of ideology. Libertarianism is an ideology based upon abstract ideas and doctrines such as the free market, absolute liberty, and radical individualism. The libertarian foolishly believes that if his abstract ingredients are properly mixed within the social cauldron, an earthly utopia will bubble forth.
Conservatism, as H. Stuart Hughes declared, is the negation of ideology. Ideology is founded upon abstract ideas which possess no relation to reality, whereas conservatism is founded upon history, tradition, custom, convention, and prescription. As Russell Kirk put it, “[C]onservatism...is a state of mind, a type of character, a way of looking at civil social order. The attitude we call conservatism is sustained by a body of sentiments, rather than by a system of ideological dogmata.” The conservative puts his faith in the wisdom of his ancestors and the virtue of experience, rather than the abstract jargon of “sophisters, calculators, and economists.” He knows that there are no simple political formulas to solve all the world’s troubles.
Next, conservatives and libertarians disagree over what binds civil society. Libertarians view civil society as something artificial — a dissoluble agreement made to furnish individual self-interest. In their repugnant view, society is a “partnership in things subservient only to the gross animal existence of a temporary and perishable nature.” Society is merely a machine with interchangeable and separable parts, says the libertarian.
In contrast, the conservative declares that society is not a paltry economic agreement or a mechanical device, it is a spiritual and organic entity. The conservative, imbued with the spirit of Burke, sees society as a partnership between the living, the dead, and those yet to be born – a community of souls. Each social contract in each particular state “is but a clause in the great primeval contract of eternal society, linking the lower and higher natures...”
Independentemente da diferença das origens ideológicas e posicionamentos face a aspectos económicos e sociais, o que deve estar em causa quando se conjectura sobre um "Novo Rumo" para um país é a realidade desse mesmo país. Isto no sentido de identificar os problemas principais que o afectam: a máquina socialista que tomou conta do Estado e da economia portuguesas com respectiva teia de influências e de vícios. Neste sentido, faz sentido uma convergência entre liberais (ou libertários) e conservadores uma vez que há um adversário comum. Não é um modo de se ultrapassarem diferenças, pois essas existem e sempre existirão, mas sim virar-se uma página da história económica de Portugal que cisma em manter-se pois o sistema político eleitoral e as mentalidades estão acrioladas pelos princípios de Abril.