OPINIONSrnThe Autocrat of the Dinner Tablernby Thomas Flemingrn”But what is liberty without wisdom, and without virtue?”rn— Edmund BurkernAn Enemy of the State:rnThe Life of Murray N. Rothbardrnby Justin RaimondornAmherst, hlY: Prometheus Books;rn400 pp., $35.00rnMurray Rothbard was like the elephantrnthe blind Chinamen in thernstory tried to describe. Everyone whornknew Murray saw only one or two sides ofrnhim: There was Murray the happy warriorrnwho campaigned for the soul of thernOld Right, the New Left, the LibertarianrnParty, and —once again, near the end ofrnhis all-too-short life —the Old Right;rnMurray the libertarian ideologue who, inrncollaboration with the Volker Fund, thernCato histitute, and the Ludwig von MisesrnInstitute, worked tirelessly to craft arnpractical consensus that was rooted in individualrnliberty; Murray the scholar andrnintellectual historian who assembled arnprodigious amount of obscure informahonrnon business cycles. Rockefeller plots,rnand —perhaps most importantly —therntrue history of economic thought, whichrnwas the subject of his concluding nrasterwork.rnMurray has many friends and enemiesrnalive today who will no doubt take issuernwith Justin Raimondo’s fair-minded andrnsympathetic accomit of his mentor’s career.rnSmall minds and “movement”rn(both conservative and libertarian) t)’pesrnoften ended up hating Rothbard, eitherrnThomas Fleming is the editor ofrnChronicles and president of’lhernRockford Institute.rnbecause he revealed the hollowness ofrntheir pretensions or because his expansiverntemperament saw farther than mostrnof his warmest admirers. But Murrayrncould make friends with the most unlikelyrnpeople. Mel Bradford (about as oppositerna number as one could hope to find)rnalways spoke fondly of Murray, praisingrnhis courtesy and essential decency; he alsorngave high marks to the economist’s understandingrnof Southern history- and thernSouthern cause. As Raimondo pointsrnout, tiiere was no contradiction in Rothbard’srnsupport for the South in the 1860’srnand Black Power radicals in the 1960’s:rnBoth defended real people and communitiesrnfrom predatory big governments.rnEven our Washington editor, Dr.rnSamuel Erancis —not a man giveir to excessivernsentimentality—was shaken byrnnews of Murray’s death, and whenever Irnthink of Murray, the lines of a popularrnVictorian poem (a translation from Callimachus)rncomes to mind:rnI wept as I remembered how oftenrnyou and IrnHad tired the sun with talking andrnsent him down the skyrnAs Raimondo makes clear, Rothbardrnearned his reputation for being crossgrainedrnand short with people. Lie didrnnot suffer fools gladly—or dullards or lifest’rnle libertarians who did not own necktiesrnor intellectuals who staked out theoreticalrnpositions so radical tirat tliey werernable to justify going along with the powcrs-rntiiat-bc. I, on the other hand, neverrnsaw him even annoyed, if you discountrnthe time we took him for a half-mile walkrnthrough Colonial Williamsburg. (“Wliatrnis this,” he complained, “the Bataanrndeath march?”) The only thing I everrnwrote that elicited a complaint fromrnMurray was an essay counseling Stoicrnresignation. “I like you better as a fighter,”rnhe told me, explaining that even spiritualrnresignation was a form of defeatism.rnMany people have suggested thatrnRothbard adopted his conservative andrnlibertarian principles in protest againstrnthe fypical leftism of his New York Jewishrnfamily. Writing of his background in arnChronicles essay, Rothbard said: “I grewrnup in a Communist culture. The middle-rnclass Jews in New York whom I livedrnamong, whether family, friends, orrnneighbors, were either Communists orrnfellow-travelers in the Communist orbit.rnI had two sets of Communist Parfy’ unclesrnand aunts, on both sides of my family.”rnBut Murray Rothbard’s intellectualrn30/CHRONICLESrnrnrn