Thomas J. DiLorenzo, Liberty Hero

November 17th, 2008 2:59 pm  |  by  |  Published in Banking, Big Government, Constitution, Economics, Free Market, Liberty, Money, national debt, Politics, Thomas Dilorenzo  |  7 Responses

So far, in Liberty Maven’s ongoing series Liberty Heroes, we have profiled Walter E. Williams, Andrew Napolitano, and Barry Goldwater.

Next up is Austrian economist Thomas J. DiLorenzo.  Born 1954, DiLorenzo teaches American Economics at Loyola College in Baltimore, Maryland, a senior faculty member of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and author/co-author of several books, most notably:

Well known for shunning the typical politically-correct line of thinking, his well-researched and masterfully eloquent works are eye opening to many whose only knowledge of political and economic topics resulted from the revisionist history often taught in government schools.

DiLorenzo is steadfast in his claim that the interventions of Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt exacerbated the economic problems of the 1930s and prolonged the Great Depression.  As he wrote in the opening paragraph of The New Deal Debunked (again) (a followup to his earlier article A New, New Deal):

FDR’s New Deal made the Great Depression longer and deeper. It is a myth that Franklin D. Roosevelt “got us out of the Depression” and “saved capitalism from itself,” as generations of Americans have been taught by the state’s educational establishment.

In addition to his discussion on economics, DiLorenzo’s scathing reviews of often-revered Abraham Lincoln and Alexander Hamilton are noteworthy.  In his books as well as in essays such as Speaking Truth to the Lincoln Cult he points out that the popular “history” of Lincoln is more mythology than fact.

The gigantic collection of myths, lies, and distortions that comprise The Legend of Abraham Lincoln is the ideological cornerstone of the American warfare/welfare state.

DiLorenzo cites a litany of sources to paint a picture of Lincoln as a masterful politician who spent his entire political career to convert our republican form of government (one that was very limited in scope and highly decentralized, as the Founding Fathers intended) to a highly centralized, controlling state.  And despite the fact that our fifth grade schoolteachers told us that Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation to “free the slaves”, DiLorenzo shows us (often in Lincoln’s own words) that he was basically ambivalent on the subject of slavery.  Instead of taking one side or the other, he used it as a political football to achieve his real political goals, such as denying states the right to secede from the union and implementing the mercantilist policies of his hero, Henry Clay.  DiLorenzo details how Lincoln trampled on the Constitution, subverted state’s rights, and pushed our nation into a civil war that has changed us forever.

On Hamilton, DiLorenzo says:

Hamilton was a compulsive statist who wanted to bring the corrupt British mercantilist system – the very system the American Revolution was fought to escape from – to America. He fought fiercely for his program of corporate welfare, protectionist tariffs, public debt, pervasive taxation, and a central bank run by politicians and their appointees out of the nation’s capital.

Building on Hamilton’s statement that our national debt is a “public blessing” and his overt disdain for “an excessive concern for liberty in public men” such as Thomas Jefferson, DiLorenzo unravels the romantic mythology surrounding this founding father, detailing how his policies are now revered by many a big-government politician.  Read his recent article highlighting his new book on this subject.

If you missed the most recent interview with Thomas DiLorenzo as reported on Liberty Maven, be sure to check it out.

Also recommended are his various writings available on


  1. George Dewey says:

    November 17th, 2008 at 6:38 pm (#)

    Sounds like his works should be required reading for all home schoolers !!!!!

  2. timpeck says:

    November 18th, 2008 at 8:50 am (#)

    I concur.

  3. RBurnett says:

    November 18th, 2008 at 4:36 pm (#)

    This is a joke, yes?
    Item: The Independent Review had a book review of The Real Lincoln, finding it fatally flawed–the review’s words, not mine. The Independnet Review is published by the Independent Institute, a think-tank/university that Dilorenzo writes for and is a board member, in a word, it’s a symapthetic forum for him–but oh that review.
    And he’s written those three books or so, with some articles on Lew Rockwell’s site and for the Institute.
    His influence is nill, not even that of Walter Williams, who has a nationally syndicated column and appears on Limbaugh’s radio show as a fill-in host.
    In a word, he has made no difference outside of his small sphere–unlike, say, Harry Jaffa, who wrote the famous Goldwater speech and the two books that Dilorenzo rails against, which have had an impact outside of even Jaffa’s circle. Indeed, Jaffa himself, who seems to be the only reason for Dilorenzo’s existence, has been advisor to not only Goldwater, but also Reagan.
    But as Jaffa is a student of Leo Strauss, and as Strauss, according to the legend (“when the facts become legend, print the legend”) is the father of the neoconservatives, well, Jaffa can never be any Liberty Hero, despite his defense of liberty and equality against the Calhounism of Dilorenzo (Calhoun denied the main propositions of the Declaration were true or valid, that no one was born equal or in liberty, and to add that no one was created–except for the first pair–see his Speech on the Oregon Bill, 1848–to which Dilorenzo concurs) Indeed, Jaffa’s Crisis of the House Divided started a counter movement against the Southern histories of the day (1960) which had been the orthodoxy for many years–such as Freeman’s worship at the altar of Lee or Randall’s dismissal of slavery as a cause for that war. Dilorenzo is fighting a rear guard action against this revisionism, with more of the same old revisionism of a century ago.
    Indeed, the reading list to balance out Dilorenzo should include Jaffa, as he is the object of Dilorenzo’s rants in not only Real, but also Lincoln Unmasked.
    Besides, if you must reach that far down in that portion of the universe, why didn’t you nominate Lew Rockwell, who provides a forum for creatures like Dilorenzo and Woods?
    After all, Rockwell also was the campaign manager for Paul’s 1988 Presidential run–so there’s more to him than to Dilorenzo in this area.
    So, either Dilorenzo’s nomination was a joke or you were either bought off or coerced by Dilorenzo’s people–or perhaps your powers to reason have left you, maybe?
    The choice of Dilorenzo is not a legitiamte option, indeed, as I have pointed out the more legitimate pick of at least Rockwell.
    And where are Reagan, Hayek, Friedman, von Mises, Rothbard, Taft or Jefferson? Hey? Hey?

  4. Mike Miller says:

    November 18th, 2008 at 4:43 pm (#)

    RBurnett, we’re not adding people to the list of Liberty Heroes in any particular order. Many of the people you mention are on our list and will be revealed in due time. Why can’t both DiLorenzo and Rockwell and Hayek and von Mises all appear on this list? This isn’t a ranking or a Top-10 list, just a list of people we love in no apparent order. Does that hurt your head?


  5. RBurnett says:

    November 18th, 2008 at 6:44 pm (#)

    “Many of the people you mention are on our list and will be revealed in due tim.”
    due time?
    “This isn’t a ranking or a Top Ten list, just a list in no apparent order.”
    But the revealing, the due timing, implies a ranking–otherwise why have a Dilorenzo revealed befoe a Hayek? And I never said that all or both Dilorenzo, Hayek, Rockwell and von Mises can’t or should not appear on the list.
    Question: Why not a list of the names to be revealed, and then, in due time, the detailed bios of those names?
    This isn’t some magic list or trick to be played out or revealed in due time
    And the criticism of Dilorenzo still stands, and that Independent Institute review should be read as that’s one of Tom’s places. If anything, except for the sake of love, his revealing should have been delayed.

  6. Mike Miller says:

    November 18th, 2008 at 6:56 pm (#)

    Thanks again for your comments, RBurnett. On your blog you can present your lists in the order you choose. :)

  7. Attackdonkey says:

    January 2nd, 2009 at 9:18 pm (#)


    how bout a link to that review? Or can I at least hear some of the claims about DiLorenzo’s shotty work?

    The same things have been said about Thomas Woods, Walter Block, and even Murray Rothbard himself.

    There is a reason that these guys are attacked, and especially DiLorenzo, he has revealed their GOD to be nothing more than a thug and a liar.

    How bout this, you read The Real Lincoln, and give a review of it yourself. I’m not saying that DiLorenzo is Shakespear, but what in his work is untrue?