|Phil, so sorry to have disappointed you (though I am surprised by Michael N's sharing of your concern; perhaps this article was short on specifics, but I was under the impression, Michael, that you had read and quite enjoyed Total Freedom, no?)|
Understand this was simply a brief bibliographic essay designed to point readers in the direction of specific works worthy of study. It was not a critical engagement with those works; it was merely a map.
Prolificity and size are not proof of Rothbard's value. My piece does, however, provide some specifics about the areas of study to which Rothbard contributed---even if it does not provide explanation. Let's take it one at a time:
1. Economics: As I suggested in my article, Rothbard replaces Mises's Kantian foundation in praxeology with a surer Aristotelian one. This, in my view, makes the whole "logic" of the Misesian project far more acceptable to my Randian eyes; it also erases any suggestion of a logical-ontological dichotomy. He was a popularizer, yes, and a colorful, powerful stylist, but he also made new identifications in the areas outlined in my article: welfare and utility theory---see especially "Toward a Reconstruction of Utility and Welfare Economics" here, where he effectively attacks and critiques the very foundation of neoclassical-welfare theory; monopoly theory, where he provides a better and less ambiguous definition of monopoly than his Austrian predecessors and explores such things as the problems with "One Big Cartel"---that, surprisingly, become an indictment of socialism, and, consequently, a contribution to the debate over economic calculation (I should add that Rothbard's own extension and classification of the binary and triangular methods of government intervention in Power and Market is the best systematization of the role of government in affecting the economy that I've ever read).
2. History and social theory: Rothbard's applications of Austrian business cycle theory are among the most important case studies interpreted through an Austrian lens that have ever been published. This is comprehensive research at the crossroads of theory and practice. His work on the history of economic thought---recapturing the lost proto-Austrian contributions of the pre-Classical economists---is remarkably illuminating. Moreover, he was among the most important libertarian critics of the welfare-warfare state, who took the insights of Austrian theory and libertarian rights theory and applied it to an understanding of the genesis of the interventionist state, across the wide sweep of American history, and its implications for domestic and foreign policy.
On this score, I would say that Rothbard's value as a synthesizer is crucial. He synthesizes the contributions of the Austrian school, the individualist-anarchist, the Old Right, the New Left, and the neo-Aristotelian; whatever problems I have with that synthesis in its various aspects, the truth remains that it is a powerfully illuminating analytical engine worthy of study. And its implications are most assuredly non-Marxist, in contrast to other "radical" critiques in social theory.
I recommended to you, once before, my own Total Freedom, which I will do, again. Sales pitch unashamedly noted. :) I do provide what I believe is the only comprehensive scholarly presentation of Rothbard's system of thought. And you'll be able to follow tons of footnotes for follow-up. Of that you can be assured.
Adam, thanks for that note: I will forward it to those who are in control of the Rothbard estate.
Thanks, Michael S.K., for your kind words.
Now, Linz, I have one question for you, and I do ask with all due respect: You've pretty much consigned Hayek, Rothbard, and other non-Randian writers to the scrap heap of intellectual history, or the ninth circle of hell (take your pick).
Are there any non-Randian writers that you find of value? I suspect you might say Mises... but even Rand had some very negative things to say about his writing in her marginalia---not quite on a par with what she said about Hayek, but negative enough.