[Image courtesy of Toothpaste for Dinner via tbogg.]
I used to spend a lot of time arguing with libertarians, back in the prehistory of the Internet, when that was the primary form of mental infestation found there. It helped me refine my own views a bit, but was mostly a waste of time, and aside from occasional sniping I don't do it any more.
On reading that Alan Greenspan has started muttering favorably about bank nationalization, which is akin to Genghis Khan becoming a pacifist or the Pope opening an abortion clinic, I realize that I have won. Libertarianism is dead, over, finished, kaput. Although if experience is any judge, its devotees won't realize it and will keep on churning out the same brain-dead arguments over and over, which will be even more disconnected from reality than before. In fact, the stronger the role of the state in the economy, the more they will have to complain about, and the more they can pile the blame for every evil in existence on its ample back. So maybe it's good times for them.
However, their role in the last couple of decades of being the useful idiots of the Republican Party will be over (as will, one hopes, the Republican Party). The governing style of Republicans from Reagan through Bush II was to spout small-government rhetoric while massively building up the state apparatus, and to preach fiscal responsibility while racking up massive deficits. Republicans who campaign on a small-government platform deserve to be laughed off the stage, and for at least the next couple of election cycles, might actually get what they deserve for a change.