OPINIONSrnThe Pleasurable Sciencernby Justin Raimondorn”No nation ever made its bread either by its great arts, or its great wisdoms. By itsrnminor arts or manufactures, by its practical knowledges, yes; but its noble scholarship,rnits noble philosophy, and its noble art are always to be bought as a treasure,rnnot sold for a livelihood.”rn—John RuskinrnEconomic Thought BeforernAdam Smith: An Austrian Perspectivernon the History of Economic Thought,rnVolume IrnClassical Economics: An AustrianrnPerspective on the History ofrnEconomic Thought, Volume IIrnby Murray N. RothbardrnAldershot, Hants, England:rnEdward Elgar;rn556 pp. and 526 pp., respectively;rn$110 eachrnIs it a law of physics, or of human nature,rnthat frequently dooms genius tornobscurit)’ during its lifetime? While everyrnnonentity has his 15 minutes of fame,rnanyihing more enduring seems governedrnby a simple principle: death precedesrnrecognition. In the case of Murray Rothbard,rnthe axiom applies in spades. Therndean of the Austrian or pure free marketrnschool of economics, Rothbard was thernauthor of 28 books, wrote thousands ofrnarticles and reviews, and founded the libertarianrnmovement literally in his lixingrnroom. Not until the last years of his liferndid this productive and innovative scholarrnreceive at least some measure of thernhonor that was his due: in 1994, ThernRockford Institute awarded him The IngersollrnFoundation’s Richard M. WeaverrnAward for Scholarly Letters. Wider acclaim,rnhowever, eluded him. This wasrndue, first of all, to the undying enmit}’ ofrn]ustin Raimondo is the author, most recently,rnof A Passion for Justice: A Life ofrnMurray N. Rothbard (forthcoming fromrnthe Ludwig von Mises Institute).rn/a : >rn^ f Mrn^BBfek^^^rnwmi^m. »a 13 EiBirnn PI ranrnm[in IBIrnprecisely those people whose business itrnis to hand out awards, fellowships, academicrnappointments, and other emoluments.rnThe Establishment which Rothbardrnlambasted was hardly likely tornhonor him — living or dead.rnEven his libertarian adherents, outsidernthe immediate circle of his friendsrnand colleagues, failed to see what theyrnhad in Rothbard. This under-appreciationrnmay be attributed, in part, to Rothbard’srnown struggle to find a literar)^ formrnequal to the scope of his erudition.rnWTiile a quick glance at the footnotes ofrnthe 26 books he published before hisrndeath would indicate the breadth andrndepth of his knowledge, no single workrngave him the scope to bring it all intornplav. It was, instead, the accumulatedrnweight of his achievements in variousrnfields—economics, philosophy, history,rnpolitical theory—that won him what acclaimrnhe garnered during his lifetime.rnWith the publication of the History ofrnEconomic Thought, however, Rothbard’srnstature cannot be denied. The richnessrnof anecdote and analysis, the scope of thernresearch, the transparency of the language,rnand the lightning flashes of witrnthat illuminate these two volumes arernimpossible to summarize, except in a singlernword: masterpiece.rnIn the course of researching a biographyrnof Rothbard, I came across a 1983rnletter in which he complains of “a crisisrnin my History of Economic Thoughtrnbook.” The original publisher wantedrnthe manuscript in short order, and his editorrninsisted that Rothbard “stress thernpost-[Adam] Smith era.” The only wayrnto do that, and also bow to the publisher’srnedict to keep it short, was to scrap ever’-rnthing he had written to that point “and tornwrite what he wants—what Joey [JoAnnrnRothbard, his wife] calls for short the TenrnGreat Modern Economists, and thenrnhope that there will be enough time tornlink the two books up into one. If not, Irnmay wind up with [one short book] and arnlarger, much broader book on the wholernshebang.” Luckily for future generations,rnhe did not scrap the first volume;rninstead, as he writes in his acknowledgments,rn”after pondering the problem . . .rn1 told [the editor] that 1 would have to beginrnwith Aristotle, since Smith was arnsharp decline from many of his predecessors.”rn”The whole shebang” is the onlyrnphrase that does justice to Rothbard’srntheme. Rejecting the narrowly “economic”rnin favor of presenting the philosophical,rnreligious, and political contextrnin which economic theories are formulated,rnRothbard created a vivid panoramarnof the history of thought: not just economicrnthought, but all thought. Thernmethod follows the injunction of hisrn32/CHRONICLESrnrnrn