I'm late to the blog contretemps between Glenn Reynolds and Glenn Greenwald. But I am as disappointed in Instapundit's abandonment of libertarianism and limited government as Greenwald is. Reynolds is an immensely talented, smart innovator of this medium, and I admire his work greatly. But his appeasement of the Malkin right is truly dispiriting. He's not alone in this respect, unable to break with the illegal, arguably un-conservative and certainly anti-libertarian aspects of the current administration. Greenwald gets this right, I'm afraid:

Reynolds long ago used to emphasize the libertarian aspects of his belief system, by, for instance, writing for Reason Magazine. But this weekend, he attacked Reason's Dave Weigel for criticizing publication of the home address of the NYT photographer so that Reynolds could justify and defend the actions of Michelle Malkin, David Horowitz and Rocco DiPippo with regard to the Travel Section murder plot. That is a clear reflection of what Reynolds is - he has long ago dispensed with his libertarianism beyond the most cursory and decorative uses, and he has no meaningful differences with the most extreme elements of the Republican Malkin/Coulter right wing.

Reynolds' transformation is illustrative of a broader and much more significant dynamic. There are no more vibrant libertarian components left of the Bush movement. Libertarians (in the small "l" sense of that word) have either abandoned the Bush-led Republicans based on the recognition - catalyzed by the Schiavo travesty - that there are no movements more antithetical to a restrained government than an unchecked Republican Party in its current composition. Or, like Reynolds, they have relinquished their libertarian impulses and beliefs completely as the price for being embraced as a full-fledged, unfailingly loyal member of the Bush-led Republican Party.

I don't think of Reynolds as a political animal. He has independent integrity. But when push came to shove, Reynolds never challenged in any serious way the abuses of power in this administration nor the extremism of the Malkinesque blogosphere. When a libertarian finds any excuses to ignore or minimize government-sponsored illegality and torture, then he has truly ceased to be a libertarian in any profound sense. If my opinion weren't so high of his abilities, my disappointment wouldn't be so deep.