Commenter David Quinn had a few problems with my response to David Weisberg, and I thought I’d address his points in a separate post.

His first (and recurring) complaint was that the bloggers to whom I linked didn’t offer much in the way of intelligent responses to Weisberg’s piece, which suggests that Mr. Quinn either didn’t read the linked pieces closely, or didn’t read them at all. This issue is somewhat tangential to the political points Mr. Quinn brought up, but it’s been a big problem since I started blogging at City Desk. As with the Brightwood Park post, the links are evidence for an argument, and it makes sense to read that evidence before responding to a post. That is, after all, what makes blogging so special: Linking to longer pieces allows us to say more with fewer words. In addition, when participating in a debate about politics, it generally makes sense to read the other side—if only to gather ammunition—and that’s not something a blogger can do for his audience (trust that the links I provide are somewhat more substantial than what you’d find at Free Republic, for crissakes). On top of all that, skimming links would make the comment threads far more productive.

Now to the specifics:

Point is, you can say all these things are well-reasoned until your face is blue, but that doesn’t make it so. Nowhere in the article do you ever address the fact that libertarian economic policy (i.e., deregulation) is responsible for the current financial crisis….

Nowhere in your response, Mr. Quinn—nor anywhere in Mr. Wiesberg’s piece—is there a shred of evidence that libertarianism contributed to the banking failure. In fact, I haven’t read a single story that pointed to libertarianism as the culprit (besides Wiesberg’s). There is evidence, however, that the Democrats’ obsession with low-income housing, and the ensuing legislation that lowered lending standards, had something to do with it. The big banks are to blame as well—but there’s nothing remotely libertarian about the government protection, corporate welfare, and relaxed lending standards that those banks enjoyed.

…Changing the subject to talk about social policy still ignores the failures of libertarian economic policy (which is a fairly major part of libertarianism, otherwise you idiots would just be normal lefties).

Not Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, nor Congress ever legislated or instituted libertarian economic policy. How is it then, Mr. Quinn, that libertarian economic policy has failed? And no, libertarians wouldn’t be “normal lefties.” For one thing, economic liberalization is almost always accompanied by increased civil liberties. Take away the former and the others begin to disappear (WWII-era Italy and Germany; modern-day Cuba and Venezuela; Russia and China for the entirety of the 20th-century). In addition, Democrats and non-affiliated liberals are leading a subtle assault on civil liberties in the form of smoking bans, food restrictions, and campaign finance laws.

…you’re smearing liberals just as much by conflating all liberals with the Democratic Party, which is far from the case.

This would be a very good point if it weren’t for the fact that most registered liberals vote for Democrats. In other words, you can’t expect to be treated as independent of the Democrats if you espouse liberal ideals in the comments section but vote for Joe Biden, a founding father of the Drug War and the PATRIOT Act. Liberals who want to avoid comparisons to crummy Democrats should vote third party—or better yet, stay home in November.

…explain why deregulation didn’t cause the financial crisis and why libertarianism isn’t a philosophy for the sociopathic, the too-wealthy, and the disembrained. Actually, on second thought, I won’t ask you to do the impossible.

Neither is impossible. The burden of apologetics isn’t on libertarians for the financial crisis—it’s on Rep. Barney Frank and people like him, who thought that sending false market signals would improve the plight of the poor. Or, we could wait for the dust to settle and mete out blame then; but don’t expect that Democrats will be off the hook for their failed welfare plans.

As for libertarians themselves: Don’t be stupid. George Soros is “too wealthy”; Jeremiah Wright is “sociopathic”; Lindsay Lohan is “disembrained”—and they’re all Democrats. Which is to say that every party has its fair share of idiots, jackasses, and weirdos.