Today would have been Murray Rothbard's 91st birthday. It's impossible to convey fully what he was like to those who did not know him; but here are a couple of stories about my unforgettable mentor and friend. In the fall of 1979, Murray gave a talk on the origins of World War II. He was not a specialist in European diplomatic history, but in his talk he displayed a detailed knowledge of the many twists and tums in the negotiations among Britain, Poland, and Germany in 1938 and 1939. Murray's range of knowledge was immense.
If you met Murray, you would soon learn he had a never-ending supply of funny stories. He told me that the revisionist historian Harry Elmer Barnes found out that a festschrift in his honor was in the works. He looked at the contributions; and, if someone's article had a criticism, he would insert a reply, along the lines, “Professor Barnes would probably respond. . .” With his unique laugh, Murray said, “He wrote his own festschrift!”
I wish that Murray were still around to teach and guide us.