Social libertarianism is the idea that any infringement upon your freedom is bad, and that one shouldn't trade freedom for equality
Libertarianism is not the idea that any infringement on your freedom is bad. Rather, it is the idea that everyone has three basic rights; to their life, to their liberty, and to own property. Note that these aren't rights in the sense that socialists mean them: the right to life means that society will protect you from having your life threatened against your will, not that food and shelter will be provided for you. The right to liberty does not mean that you are free to do anything you want, it means that you can only do things that do not infringe other people's freedom. The right to property does not mean that you will be given whatever you want, it means that what you own is yours, and that the state has no claim to it, and may not require you to use it for any purpose other than your own.
It is on this fundamental misunderstanding that Paladeen's position is based.
Equal Opportunities: that every man be given the same chance of advancing, regardless of the economic/personal wealth of his parents.
The key phrase here is "that every man be given". It indicates that Paladeen is confusing equality of opportunity with equality of outcome. The economy is not a zero sum game; there is not a fixed pool of "opportunity" that must be divided between members of a society. Further more, it is obvious that for some to be given, others must give. Since this would divide the group into net contributors and net recipients, it is clearly at odds with the stated goal of producing equality.
The ideal of equal opportunities is not impossible to achieve given a really good public school system that is mandatory for all and a ban on the inheritance of wealth.
There are two issues here. The first is of mandatory attendance at a public school system. How would this work in practice? If every student receives an equal share of the schools resources, then this retards the development not only of the least able, who require more attention, and the most able, who require advanced tuition and facilities to reach their potential. Once again, we see that although the stated aim is equality of opportunity, Paladeen is arguing for enforced equality of outcome, by skewing the distribution of actual value received from the system towards the lower end of what should be a bell curve of outcome. Since attendance is mandatory, not only to the most and least able suffer academically, but the freedom of families to choose particular styles of education is curtailed. Once again, enforced equality of outcome - a discredited socialist doctrine, evidenced by the declining state school systems in many Western countries.
Secondly, the ban on the inheritance of wealth. Not only does this deny the right of the property owner to dispose of their property as they see fit, what is to be done with the wealth? If it is to be distributed to those who did not earn it, we see equality of outcome and a disincentive to productivity; after all, why work when you can simply wait for your neighbor to die? One key motivation of people to work is to ensure that their families are provided for. The knowledge that their wealth would not be used for this purpose should they die prematurely, rather that the state would provide, is a disincentive to produce, and would lower the overall productivity of an economy, giving fewer resources to the state in the first place.
It is for this reason that I cannot understand why libertarians want to place education into private hands. Doing so would only widen the class division of societies, which is bad enough as it is. Does this ideal of equal opportunities mean nothing to them? Have they even considered it?
Libertarians wish to place education into private hands primarily to introduce competition and choice into the educational system. By forcing schools to compete for the resources of parents, they are incentivized to offer the best possible educations, and to attract the highest quality of staff. By keeping education in state hands, there is no incentive for schools to fully develop the potential of each student, since they get paid regardless. Mandatory state education would simply result in universal mediocrity.
Within the libertarian framework of life, liberty and property, there is equality of opportunity. One need only take a glance at the capitalist system to see people born poor who accumulated stunning wealth over their lifetimes, and people born wealthy who squandered it all. Libertarians have carefully considered equality, and the system promotes true equality of opportunity.
However, this is not really the heart of the issue. By bringing up this "heart", I will be questioning beliefs that most people in the western democracies take for granted.
The one thing that most economic libertarians harp on continuously ...
As an aside, I will point out here that if you wish to practice Rhetoric you must not make the classical mistake of revealing your own prejudices and making emotive appeals. These are called "appeals to motives in place of support" and they leave you hugely vulnerable. Rhetoric is like pure mathematics: you must remove the scaffolding before you show the cathedral to the public.
I don't doubt that laissez-faire capitalism increases the total wealth of a given society. However, they never seem to stop and ask themselves the question: "By improving the economy with minimal government, do we improve most people's lives?"
There is a strong correlation between the overall wealth of a society and the quality of life of even its poorest members. In fact, it is causal. One must only examine history to see that the wealthy are inclined towards philanthropy, thereby the post hoc causal fallacy does not apply. When asked what happens to the poor in a laissez-faire economy, a common criticism, the answer is of course that anyone who wishes to help them will not be prevented from doing so. The is in accordance with the right to do anything that does not impact the freedom of another, and the right to do with your own property as you will. The poor of the wealthy Western societies are better off than the poor of impoverished African states; in the West the opportunity exists to transcend the circumstances of ones birth, in a poor country there is no such opportunity.
Even if it were possible to ensure that this increased economic profit were reasonably evenly divided between people (which it certainly is not), I have serious doubts that the people of the "rich" Western democracies would find their lives much improved by having a little more cash in their purse.
Once again, although your stated aim is equality of opportunity, you are arguing here for redistribution of wealth which is directly antithetical.
People always seem to lose sight of the fact that happiness cannot be equated with ability to acquire physical posessions. Once you're beyond the level of starvation/physical discomfort, additional posessions do little for you.
A massively subjective conjecture. The sample size of "you" is far too small to support an inductive generalization about a population. Additional posessions may do little for you, in which case you are free to spend or give away your surplus money as you see fit. However, additional posessions, bought with money earned in exchange for work, may bring great happiness to another. Since the utility of a given possession varies between individuals, it follows that utilitarianism, which you mentioned that you agree with, cannot be applied. This negates your argument.
Isn't it worth trading this this potentional "additional" economic profit for the security that a social welfare model provides? As the resident of a country with a strong welfare system, I know that I will never suffer the pangs of hunger or freeze to death under a bridge. I think it´s worth it.
For some people it is; under a libertarian system those people would simply buy insurance against losing their incomes or their health. Arguing that the existance of such facilities is impossible in a libertarian society is called the "false dilemma" - two choices are given when in fact more exist.
In conclusion, you have failed to answer your own question "Libertarianism sounds good on paper, but is it really?" by presenting what amounts to little more than propaganda.