There are very few 'mainstream' Austrian men or women in England. When I say mainstream, I mean 'Misesian', in the mould of the Mises Institute in Alabama.
Yes, via the Institute for Economic Affairs, and the London School of Economics, there is a large Hayekian presence, particularly in and around London, which is probably due to Hayek's immense intellectual stature. Intellectualism is a very important commodity in the British libertarian tradition and Hayek appears to appeal much more to us Brits, mainly because of his perceived high intellectual stature, as a sort of right-wing equal to Keynes.
But is Hayek really more of an 'intellectual' than Mises? Or is this a mirage caused by the total intransigence of Mises, allied to the much greater conciliation of Hayek? Mises never really minded who disliked him so long as he held his own position in a steadfast manner, whereas Hayek was much more affable and polite, particularly when in the company of those statists who brand themselves 'Minarchists'.
Like many non-British hardcore Austrians, I find this Hayekian conciliatory approach to the state lacks the necessary jolt of caffeine to get me up in the morning. The much more uncompromising Mises is much more my cup of tea.
Unfortunately, this leads to the sad situation where the Mises/Rothbard line in England is very thin, consisting mainly of Anonymous, myself, and perhaps a few others of whom I am completely unaware, and a strong sympathy to the Misesian line from the (smaller) Libertarian Alliance, of which I am a camp-following occasional member.
Virtually everyone else belongs to a myriad of other libertarian positions, mostly statist/minarchist as summarised on the frontispiece of the Samizdata blog site:
We are also a varied group made up of social individualists, classical liberals, whigs, libertarians, extropians, futurists, 'Porcupines', Karl Popper fetishists, recovering neo-conservatives, crazed Ayn Rand worshipers, over-caffeinated Virginia Postrel devotees, witty Frédéric Bastiat wannabes, cypherpunks, minarchists, kritarchists and wild-eyed anarcho-capitalists from Britain, North America, Australia and Europe.I used to write a long time ago for the Samizdata site, as a wild-eyed anarcho-capitalist under an assumed name, but there was not much toleration for that position, which admittedly was very fluid as I worked out where my end game was going to be on my own long road from socialism.
This wild-eyed anarcho-capitalism, combined with several other factors too boring to mention, eventually forced me to leave. Indeed, here are two Samizdata definitions for the kinds of people who recently attended Professor Hoppe's conference, including my good self [note my italics]:
Barking moonbatGiven that there is such British intellectual hostility to the Paleo-libertarian, Paleo-conservative position, as advanced by the Austrian school, particularly as advanced by Professor Hoppe, my main question to him this week was how I could help advance the Austrian (Misesian) position in England, from my relatively time-constricted position of being an armchair economist?
noun. Someone on the extreme edge of whatever their -ism happens to be.
(coined by Perry de Havilland)
Usage:"Definition of a 'barking moonbat': someone who sacrifices sanity for the sake of consistency"
Although the term (often rendered simply as 'Moonbat') is very popular with conservative and libertarian bloggers who appropriately use it to describe the Chomskyite Left, it was always intended as a much more ecumenical epithet and has been correctly used to describe certain paleo-conservative and paleo-libertarians views. (also see 'idiotarian').
noun. A term of abuse for an advocate of what are deemed to be irrationalist and subjectivist values that have very little reference to the workings of the real world. Idiotarians are often socialist (quintessentially Noam Chomsky), but can also be paleo-libertarian or paleo-conservative. The defining phrase of idiotarianism is "it is all the fault of the United States": this is usually applied to geopolitics but is sometimes encountered with regard to cultural issues, economic issues, environmental issues, the weather, socks lost in the laundry etc.
The term is obviously highly partisan but is in quite widespread use by many blogs. However it is not a term used exclusively by the neo-conservative 'right wing' and many well left of centre or libertarian blogs have used it describe the more surrealist wings of their particular branch of political thought.
The answer was interesting; it was to help Dr. Sean Gabb as much as possible and his work with the (larger) Libertarian Alliance. Being a constellational member of the (smaller) Libertarian Alliance, I found this a little difficult to accept at first, but he talked me round.
(If this seems a little strange, then you need simply imagine that you're in the Monty Python film, 'Life of Brian', and that I am a member of the Popular Front of Judea, and that Sean Gabb is the leader of the People's Front of Judea - Who obviously are the real splitters.)
Incidentally, not only was Sean Gabb himself present at the conference, he shared the final speaking platform with the Professor, as a pair, even making the keynote address on the nature of the enemy ruling class. So if Professor Hoppe has this much confidence in the leader of the People's Front of Judea, then the only thing this member of the Popular Front of Judea can do, is to take his marching orders and simply to accept them.
So hopefully, in the next few months or so, you may see me popping up in various places in London, under various assumed names, helping Sean Gabb in his various endeavours, should he so wish me to do so.
Time, obviously, will tell.