7 votes

Dear Tom Woods,

A few months ago there was a post saying that the best way to help the cause was to educate ourselves. It was basically an advertisement selling Tom Woods' version of history.

Well, I know this took awhile, but now I'm ready to help the cause by educating myself on history. If I'm not mistaken, the claim was made that purchasing history materials from Tom Woods was a good bet because you can trust him for getting the story right. So..

Dear Tom Woods (and anyone else who has any idea),
Why should I trust you to get the story right?

I'm looking for recommendations on how to get a sound, unbiased knowledge of history. Good advice is appreciated! :-)

UPDATE: Thanks for all the comments so far!! Just to be clear, I didn't mean to sound negative on Tom Woods. When I re-read this post it sort of sounded that way, but that's not what I meant at all! Sorry Tom!

Not that long ago I still figured they were right when they said WWII got us out of the depression(never could understand that though), and even now I couldn't tell you what was bad about Abe Lincoln, so I'm long overdue for taking another look at history. Maybe with a little more critical eyesight this time?

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I had thought very highly of

I had thought very highly of Tom Woods, because what I had seen of him indicated that he was a critical thinker and advocate of reason. One of the hallmarks of being a critical thinker is to be mindful of cognitive dissonances and blind spots, and to actively seek to eradicate them in one's own thinking, and in general.

Recently, I saw a video with Adam Kokesh and Tom Woods, called "AVTM shares Catholic-Atheist liberty hug with Tom Woods" (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JUfWlf2xNY) that has caused me great concern. In it, Tom Woods says, and I agree completely, that "Libertarianism is non-aggression". He goes on to say that people who do not understand or believe in this principle are not libertarians.

My question then is, how does he reconcile this viewpoint with being a Catholic? What about all of the murdering, pillaging, subjugation and control by force that the Catholic church has engaged in (examples that come to mind are the genocidal eradication of the Cathars, various Inquisitions/Crusades, trials for heresy, etc.)?

At first, I though that perhaps Mr. Woods was a Catholic who takes issue with the Catholic church, much like he is a U.S. national who takes issue with the U.S. government. But then I found he had written a book, called "How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization". How would this be any different than writing a book called "How the U.S. Government Made the World Safe for Democracy"?

Just to be clear, I still like and respect Mr. Woods a great deal, but am curious if and how he has worked this out for himself.

Remember Jefferson Was A Slaveholder

Is there something wrong with paying tribute to such a person as I do with my screen name and tag line?

"Bipartisan: both parties acting in concert to put both of their hands in your pocket."-Rothbard

Are you asking this question

Are you asking this question in terms of myself in relationship to Tom Woods, i.e. that I should not be critical of him because of the good he's done, regardless of the blind spot I think he has? Or are you asking this question in terms of Tom Woods' relationship to the Catholic church, i.e. that it's OK for him to not be critical of the Catholic church because of the supposed good it's done?

I Believe In The Hippocratic Oath (First, Do No Harm)

To me "first, do no harm" means responsibility #1, beyond doing good things, is to refrain from doing bad things. If someone is a rapist and a giver to charity, our focus ought to be on the former not the latter.

As for Tom Woods's relationship to the Catholic church, perhaps he doesn't have a blind spot. I like to think I don't have one with respect to Jefferson. On the one hand I honor him with my screen name and tag line, but at the same time I find abhorrent his practice of holding slaves. My praising a certain thing about Jefferson does not, in my view, imply that I have weighed in--one way or the other--with an overall, sum-total view of him.

Perhaps Tom Woods's praise for the Catholic church likewise fails to imply any overarching assessment.

"Bipartisan: both parties acting in concert to put both of their hands in your pocket."-Rothbard

Did you mean the sentence "If

Did you mean the sentence "If someone is a rapist and a giver to charity, our focus ought to be on the former not the latter" to say, "If someone is a rapist and a giver to charity, our focus ought to be on the latter, and not the former"? If not, I'm having trouble following your argument. If so, doesn't that imply that Tom Woods should be finding something good to say about the U.S. government?

No No No

The charity-giving rapist is a rapist first and foremost, and a charitable person secondarily.

That said, Tom has the right to focus on one of the Catholic church's good points without being indicted for having (allegedly) absolved the Church of its bad-doing and without being indicted for having (allegedly) issued any overarching, sum-total assessment of the Church.

He ought to be able to praise one aspect of the Catholic church while remaining silent on the Catholic church overall.

"Bipartisan: both parties acting in concert to put both of their hands in your pocket."-Rothbard

Before I respond, I just want

Before I respond, I just want to make sure I understand your argument, so I'll try to repeat it back to you.

What I believe you are saying is that while a charitable rapist is reprehensible for being a rapist, someone praising his charity while at the same time not condemning him for perpetrating rapes, should not be criticized for doing so.

Can you confirm that I've got it right, or, if not, correct me?

You're Close

If Tom writes the following I think he can rightly be criticized: "The Catholic church did xyz, ergot the Catholic church is a great positive institution." Here he can be criticized because you can't make an overall assessment without taking on board the bad as well as the good.

On the other hand, if Tom simply writes "The Catholic church did xyx," I think he ought not be criticized for omitting anything because he has not made an overall assessment.

"Bipartisan: both parties acting in concert to put both of their hands in your pocket."-Rothbard

OK. So lets say that I have a

OK. So lets say that I have a friend, and she's interested in our rapist, thinks he's cute, etc., but doesn't know anything else about him. Would it be right for me to tell her that he's charitable, and leave everything else out? And I ought not then be criticized for omitting anything, since I have not made an overall assessment?

The Scenario You Describe Does (in my view) Call For Disclosure

But Tom is not recommending the Catholic church to anyone.

"Bipartisan: both parties acting in concert to put both of their hands in your pocket."-Rothbard

In the scenario described, I

In the scenario described, I was not recommending the rapist. I was simply saying that he was charitable.

I See

So, when it comes to the Catholic church and "The Church And The Market," do you think Tom fell down on a responsibility to provide full disclosure?

From the review of the book at Mises.org, it sounds like Tom is not so much praising Catholicism as he is trying to argue against those who claim that Catholicism is at odds with Austrian economics:

"Bipartisan: both parties acting in concert to put both of their hands in your pocket."-Rothbard

I feel like the discussion

I feel like the discussion about disclosure is at best peripheral to my original question (see my first post in this thread).

You're Right

An interesting question to ask Tom sometime.

"Bipartisan: both parties acting in concert to put both of their hands in your pocket."-Rothbard

Mises Institute is a great place

I'm currently taking an online course at mises.org 'Hamilton, Clay, and Lincoln' by Tom DiLorenzo that is great. Only $59 for 5 week class.

Tom posts all the books and authors that he refers to, and the other students post good info as well.

Key to History is to try to read The Victor's version of history as well as the Loser's. You will find the truth somewhere in between. Example: The Indigenous Americans' version of history is quite different than the Europeans. Their history is full of betrayal (The US Gov't has not once lived up to a Treaty with Native Americans), yet I was taught that they were Savages and constantly murdered the Colonists and broke Treaties.

jrd3820's picture

Thanks for this info

I am looking at some classes there for the upcoming months. I have not decided exactly which one I would like to take yet, but $59 seems like a great deal. About how many other students are in your class? Maybe I will see you in a class there in the future.

There were about 35 if I recall


Be sure to sign in early to make sure your sound and chat work correctly. A few students missed about half the first class getting drivers/etc set up.

Mises Academy

I've taken two classes. Both had 15-30 students attending on any given day. Many people do not log in at the specified time as you can wait a day and the recorded version will be made available. The Moodle platform makes it very easy to interact with students and professors. It's very intuitive and uncluttered. Plus, the material is entirely included in the fee so that $59 is the actual total cost. You will undoubtedly enjoy it.

Word of advice: if you see a class that looks interesting, JUMP ON IT! Even if you can't spare the time to actually attend. Just download all the lectures afterward and save them for later. But once the course is over, I don't think you can access the material.

How are the Mises classes structured?

I'd love to learn the history and would totally pay for the lectures, but I'm not at all interested in taking tests or writing papers. BTDT, got the t-shirt/degree.

The professors give lectures

The professors give lectures at designated times. There is a separate text chat box and another to ask questions directly to the professor.

There are optional tests and essays if you wish to take the courses for a grade. But by no means is it required. If you do, you can receive a certificate of completion.

The credits are internal and (99.9%) unlikely to transfer. The essays and tests are more for people seeking to make sure they understand the material and have the professor aide them in that manner. So they aren't like the ones you got in high-school/college.

I chose to audit the courses. It's very laid back back but not sloppy/disorganized/chaotic.

ytc's picture

Historical accounts, even the primary eye-witness accounts,

are biased. To me education is about learning how to think critically based on a wide collection of primary, secondary and multiple viewpoints and the understanding of the social, economic, cultural backgrounds which engendered those viewpoints.

Even Tom Woods' accounts should not be blindly memorized, but be studied as one of the rare perspectives to counter the keynesian imperial (pro-big government) court historians of our time.


....so, an 18th Century version of John Locke's Two Treatises on Civil Government, or any essays from a Benjamin Rush, or any signer should be considered biased, maybe antiquated or irrelevant?

Freedom, Liberty, God-given rights should be taught....oh, that's right, we're progressives, and all religions are government brainwashing tools.....tell Ron Paul he is a fool for buying "the God lie"....

All this talk about education...minus reverence for a Supreme Being....good luck with that....

Sorry....that was knee-jerk...you are saying also take in original sources....but, I think the primary founding attitude about reverence for one Creator of all men is too important.....

I've mentioned before....

The neo-cons have David Barton from Wallbuilders and Hillsdale College as their "favorite" darlings of Judeo-Christian ethics and fiscally responsible government; if we believe in the "free" flow/marketplace of ideas, and....capitalism....why are we NOT debating these people in public at public universities, or, going after their "customers"???

Rather than sell people Alex Jones and Jesse Ventura conspiracy crap, why don't we STOP the revisionist history game, or at least challenge it with a road block!

Homeschoolers were FOR Ron Paul....they are about truth, and not spin....they do not trust government, and they know the media is state run, and all public-subsidized education is propaganda.

We ought to have a Ron Paul University of sorts....we ought to debate our positions versus their positions from PRIMARY sources, and let the public vote with their money!!!

Truth is still more popular than Starbucks and Apple computers!!! Look what we've built so far! We KNOW we have bastard children in our ranks damaging our credibility ON PURPOSE; so let's build something and start educating!!!

"adding virtue and excellence"....that's what Ron Paul told us to do....we HAVE the talent, we need t do something more than wait for the next Alex Jones, Jesse Ventura, Adam Kokesh shock-video....a

you shouldn't

You should learn from multiple sources, apply critical thinking, and make up your own mind. But I do believe Tom cites his sources, so you can confirm for yourself whether what he says gets the story right.

“Although it was the middle of winter, I finally realized that, within me, summer was inextinguishable.” — Albert Camus

Tom Woods has proven himself time and time again

this post is ridic.

Its simple. Try it out. and if you are not satisfied, discontinue.

Everything I have read from Tom has been great. He backs his claims up and is not afraid to admit mistakes. And when he does make mistakes he has no problems correcting himself.

Thanks for your perspective!

Thanks for your perspective! I don't know much about Tom Woods but what little I do know I'm very impressed with, so I thought his materials might be a good place to start for learning history. Just re-read my post and it sounds pretty negative on him, but that's not what I meant at all!! Just looking for some advice. Sorry Tom! I'm going to update the post...

If you trust Ron Paul

Then his endorsement should mean something. His blurbs are all over Woods' books. Woods testified before Congress about ending the Fed, spoke at the Rally for the Republic, opened for Dr. Paul at many events, and even has a book with a foreword written by Dr. Paul. I believe the Doctor is telling us something.

My dad always said if Hitler had won we'd be speaking German.

History books would be a bit different for sure.

It is up to each one of us to cut through the crap.

There is no "good guy" or "good government" or "good corporation" in this world.

The heart of all man is wicked, even his "good" thought is no better than a bloody rag in the perspective of God.

The rackets formed by "good guys", "good governments" and "good corporations" are the work of the devil and have deceived men.

Our form of it is no better than Hitler's form of it.

"Corporate Fascism" is more/less exactly the same as "National Socialism" with a different set of victims and beneficiaries.

56+ million unborn dead.

War on brown people in foreign lands.

Uncontrolled military and militarized police expansion.

Law by dictate.

And it has only just begun here.

speak for yourself

I know I am not wicked. I also know that I am not better than other people. Therefore, I believe most other people are also not wicked. Rather, a small minority is wicked. That small minority is attracted to power and claws its way to power, whereupon they prey on the ignorant and good majority.

“Although it was the middle of winter, I finally realized that, within me, summer was inextinguishable.” — Albert Camus

You do aye? You're wrong.

"I know I am not wicked."

That's why you'll never serve anything but wickedness Anarchist. You can't see the wickedness inside yourself. You don't "know thyself" and it reinforces that you can't be honest with yourself. If you can't address the wickedness inside you, you're worthless in defending people from it.

There IS evil inside me, you, and each one of us. The question is, what are you going to do about it?

An Anarchist needs to pretend mans wickedness is an illusion, that it's not there, because they want to set mans covetous nature loose in the world. They want to create a free market of violence serving the principle of self interest while pretending there's no wickedness inside them.

Being nihilists, Anarchists actually BELIEVE that there's no wickedness inside them, because that's what nihilists are; WORTHLESS in any moral debate because they don't recognize wickedness. Anarchists are WORTHLESS to liberty because they don't recognize wickedness.

They need to do what you just did, pretend that there's no wickedness inside them, yet when you take a good hard look at them, all that they produce is bad fruit. They're liars and snake oil salesman, con men handing out poison apples to people they view as something less than them, something here to be made fun of and destroyed.


Your dishonesty is why, and no, I wasn't dumped by my Anarchist girlfriend. Anarchists make people sick all on their own.