Now they're so embarrassed of their former party, they no longer identify themselves republicans. They call themselves libertarians; so they don't get laughed out of the room.
If you haven't had that experience, it just means your too young to have witnessed the shift.
I called myself a libertarian even when I voted for Clinton. My smart republican friends agreed with me on a small government, free trade stance. They just didn't realize that the right's military spending would dwarf anything the dems would do in office. They were fiscal conservatives back then, they just didn't get that military spending far outstrips any social spending from the left.
As for civil rights or social issues - no libertarian could ever consider the republican party seriously without vomiting..... yet I constantly see these new so called "libertarians" rail on about Obama being a facist or communist or other assanine nonsense.