The current â€˜civil war between Auburn & Fairfax’ ( Mark Sunwall’s apt description), was sparked off by Peter Boettke’s judgment that “[Don Lavoie] understood Mises better than all but two other Austrian economists (Israel Kirzner and Richard Ebeling).â€ Naturally this proved intolerable to some â€˜Auburnites’.
Let me now suggest a via media: let us begin with the intellectual system of Mises himself. In the assessment of someone who was “probably the oldest of [Mises'] pupilsâ€: Mises’ “knowledge of [economics] surpassed that of most occupants of professorial chairsâ€¦â€ But Mises’ thinking was too far-reaching to stop at departmental boundaries: “[Mises] was never a real specialistâ€ in that narrow sense. His thought was so far-ranging that “in the realm of the social sciences….he must be compared to thinkers like Voltaire or Montesquieu, Tocqueville and John Stuart Mill.â€ In short, Mises was a multi-faceted thinker, whose intellectual system far surpassed the limited bounds of specific departmental (& other) interests.
It seems appropriate, therefore, that people are able to specialise in only aspects or areas of Mises’ global thought. I would suggest, therefore, that Lavoie, Kirzner, Ebeling, & even Rothbard, each took further & developed or worked on, a specific, distinct aspect of Mises’ ideas. (Note that even Rothbard was compelled to separate the gold from the dross in Mises’ Human Action, hence Rothbard’s Man, Economy & State.) I believe some people would be prepared to allow even Hayek a small space on this list (perhaps at the bottom.)
The quotes are from Peter Klein, ed, The Fortunes of Liberalism, The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek Volume IV (London: Routledge 1992) pp. 129, 153.