Lots of readers are peeved with me re this whole socially-liberal-but-fiscally-conservative thing. For example, from a reader:
Isn’t “socially liberal but fiscally conservative” what libertarianism is? Isn’t that what WFB is?
Me: I was probably unclear as I was typing fast in a fast-moving car. What bothers me about the SLBFC thing is not the actual political position of being socially liberal but fiscally conservative. Indeed, it’s a sign of how meaningless the term is on the merits that it could in fact be a description of libertarianism (as well as the position of various New Democrats and the like). My peeve is that people who say they are socially liberal but fiscally conservative are generally full of it. They are simply liberals who like to sound tough-minded, when in fact the only fiscal conservatism they have is about their property values and income taxes. It’s like liberals who say “I don’t believe in labels.” It’s an unserious dodge — much of the time in my experience — by conventional liberals desperate to sound like they’re not conventional liberals.
It is entirely possible that there are legions of people who use the term to describe themselves who are brimming with ideological rigor and consistency. But in my experience, they are the exceptions.