[T]he libertarian apologetics fall wildly short of providing any convincing explanation for what went wrong. The argument as a whole is reminiscent of wearying dorm-room debates that took place circa 1989 about whether the fall of the Soviet bloc demonstrated the failure of communism. Academic Marxists were never going to be convinced that anything that happened in the real world could invalidate their belief system. Utopians of the right, libertarians are just as convinced that their ideas have yet to be tried, and that they would work beautifully if we could only just have a do-over of human history. Like all true ideologues, they find a way to interpret mounting evidence of error as proof that they were right all along.
Libertarians who are smarter than me were quick to respond to your post. Reason’s Matt Welch wrote “I just think that, all things being equal, capitalism is vastly superior to socialism, government is by definition inefficient, and would be much better off focused on essential tasks.” Other libertarians weighed in with similarly well-reasoned responses. Brink Lindsey at Cato stressed that it will be a long time before anyone knows exactly what caused the meltdown, just as it took several decades to trace the causes of the ’29 crash. The Agitator’s Radley Balko brought up the very good point that the Bush Administration has been vehemently anti-libertarian in regards to social, economic, and foreign policy (so was Bill Clinton, for that matter). And Will Wilkinson observed that your post equated to a game of “Smear the libertarian queer.”
But after reading various responses, I was left with the feeling that my colleagues failed to call you on a very important aspect of your bullshit: There’s more to libertarianism than economic policy, and more often than not, we’re pushing for things that Democrats wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole—but should.
The majority of libertarians opposed the Iraq War—which you and a number of high-profile Democrats idiotically supported. The majority of libertarians support gay marriage—the Democratic Party, at least at the national level—does not. Nor does your party—at least at the national level—support an end to the drug war, farm subsidies, or freedom from domestic spying.
In short, the majority of libertarians are willing to support civil liberties when the Democratic Party will not. Celebrating a successful smear campaign against deregulation (and doing so without any research), is not only misguided, but downright shameful.
In short, please shut the fuck up and stick to your areas of expertise.
Sincerely, Mike Riggs