Frederic Sautet and I will offer a detailed comment on the recent controversy over Pete Leeson and Dan Klein's posts on Austrian vices. But I couldn't resist listing a few reactions.
1. In my opinion Ludwig von Mises is the greatest economists of the 20th century. That doesn't mean he is the only economist to make significant contributions to the discipline. It also doesn't mean that I don't find some of his presentations of arguments to be flawed on a variety of margins. But I do think his work in monetary theory, market theory, comparative political economy (calculation, interventionism, and interest group logic), and methodology represent some of the most provocative and insightful contributions ever made to economic science. His work on socialist calculation, in my opinion, is the single most important contribution to political economy of the 20th century.
2. That history of thought is a viable research discipline within economics, and history of thought can in fact be an indispensible tool in contemporary theory construction. As Kenneth Boulding once put it, "After Samuelson Who Needs Smith?" and to paraphrase Boulding's answer, 'We all do, because Smith can still speak to us today in a way that Samuelson cannot.' What is true for Smith is also true for Menger, Bohm-Bawerk, Mises, Hayek, etc.
3. The most important thing is to make sense of the economic world we are studying, not be faithful to any school of thought. Students of society should look "out the window" not necessarily just to the "blackboard" to find the problems and puzzles to work on. Applied economics and political economy, not textual interpretation is the most productive use of most economists time.
4. Schools of thought are labeled by their intellectual enemies, whereas fields of research are defined by practioners.
5. Always remember what excited you about economics in the first place. Why that first book caught your imagination, why that lecture made you rethink your world, etc. If you do that, you will be a better teacher of economics to undergraduates, and a more enthusiastic and insightful researcher in the field and mentor to graduate students. Too many professors forget the unsophisticated versions of themselves at 18, 19, 20 years of age and teach today's 18, 19, and 20 year olds as if they were the 30 year old version of themselves. Remember what made you angry as a youth, remember what made you fight with others who were ignorant of economics, remember the policy issues that ignited your intellect and the philosophical issues that convinced you that the social sciences was something worthing of pursuing for your career. Economics should be a passion and an obsession, not merely a "job" if you hope to make progress in understanding the world. Respect the professors and books that turned you on to the economic way of thinking, even if you believe you have now become a more sophisticated analyst of the social world.
I do think there are unique contributions associated with the Austrian school. My teaching of Austrian Economics focuses on Mises, Hayek, Rothbard and Kirzner. I don't find too many other economists as insightful and as comprehensive as these four. But that doesn't mean that I don't also stress the contributions to economic science of Buchanan and Tullock, Alchian and Demsetz, Friedman and Becker, and Vernon Smith, Coase and North. And I think there are significant contributions made by many contemporary economists influenced by the Austrians and in particular Hayek, Kirzner and Lachmann that moves us forward in terms of advancing a progressive research program in the tradition of Mises and Hayek.
BTW, George Selgin has a great article from the 1980s on the real bills doctrine where he argues that it is important to beat dead horses in economics because dead horses have an unfortunate way of coming back to life.