An excellent article to check out is this Hans-Hermann Hoppe article in regards to the difference between Ludwig von Mises and F.A. Hayek.
In the article Hoppe briefly discusses the popularity of Hayek over Mises, concluding that the difference is one of political philosophy. Hayek was a social democrat. Mises was a laissez-faire radical. In regards to Mises’ political philosophy, Hoppe states as follows:
In distinct contrast [to FA Hayek – TS], how refreshingly clear — and very different — is Mises! For him, the definition of liberalism can be condensed into a single term: private property. The state, for Mises, is legalized force, and its only function is to defend life and property by beating antisocial elements into submission. As for the rest, the government is “the employment of armed men, of policemen, gendarmes, soldiers, prison guards, and hangmen. The essential feature of government is the enforcement of its decrees by beating, killing, and imprisonment. Those who are asking for more government interference are asking ultimately for more compulsion and less freedom.”
How refreshing indeed! So read Mises!