Thomas Woods

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Thomas E. Woods, Jr.
Tom Woods by Gage Skidmore 3.jpg
Woods in February 2011.
Born ( 1972-08-01) August 1, 1972 (age 43)
Melrose, Massachusetts
School or tradition
Austrian School
Alma mater Harvard University (B.A.)
Columbia University (M.Phil., Ph.D.)
Influences Ludwig von Mises, Murray N. Rothbard, Ralph Raico, Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Ron Paul, Robert Nisbet, Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

Thomas E. "Tom" Woods, Jr. (born August 1, 1972) is an American historian, political analyst, and author.[1] Woods is a New York Times best-selling author and has published eleven books.[2] He has written extensively on the subjects of American history, contemporary politics, and economics. Woods identifies as a libertarian and a proponent of the Austrian school of economics. He operates, a pay-for-access educational website that offers audio and video content on topics in history, economics, and philosophy.[3]

Education and affiliations[edit]

Woods holds a B.A. from Harvard University and a Ph.D. from Columbia University, both in History. He is a senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama and a member of the editorial board for the Institute's Libertarian Papers.[4] Woods is also an associate scholar of the Abbeville Institute, in McClellanville, South Carolina. The Abbeville Institute promotes the cultural inheritance of the American Southern tradition as "a valuable intellectual and spiritual resource for exposing and correcting the errors of American modernity," as opposed to "colleges and universities [which] have come to be dominated by the ideologies of multiculturalism and political correctness.[5]

Woods was an ISI Richard M. Weaver Fellow in 1995–96.[6] He received the 2004 O.P. Alford III Prize for Libertarian Scholarship and an Olive W. Garvey Fellowship from the Independent Institute in 2003.

He has additionally been awarded two Humane Studies Fellowships and a Claude R. Lambe Fellowship from the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University.[7] His 2005 book, The Church and the Market: A Catholic Defense of the Free Economy, won the $50,000 first prize in the 2006 Templeton Enterprise Awards.[8]

Woods is co-editor of an eleven-volume collection of articles, Exploring American History: From Colonial Times to 1877.

Catholicism, American history, and Politically Incorrect Guide[edit]

Woods' best-selling 2004 book

Woods was received into the Roman Catholic Church from Lutheranism.[9] He wrote How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization. For eleven years, he was associate editor of The Latin Mass Magazine, which advocates traditional Catholicism. As a traditionalist Catholic,[10] Woods advocates what he calls the Old Latin Mass[11] and cultural conservatism.[12][13]

Woods' book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History was on The New York Times Best Seller list for paperbacks in 2005.[1] His 2009 book Meltdown also made the bestseller list in 2009.[14] His writing has been published in numerous popular and scholarly periodicals, including the American Historical Review, the Christian Science Monitor, Investor's Business Daily, Modern Age, American Studies, Journal of Markets & Morality, New Oxford Review, The Freeman, Independent Review, Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, AD2000, Crisis, Human Rights Review, Catholic Historical Review, the Catholic Social Science Review and The American Conservative.[15]

Views on conservatism[edit]

Tom Woods at CPAC in February 2010.

Woods makes a sharp distinction between paleoconservative thinkers with whom he sympathizes, and neoconservative thinkers. In articles, lectures and interviews Woods traces the intellectual and political distinction between the older conservative, or paleoconservative, school of thought and the neoconservative school of thought.

Of the latter he writes:

The conservative's traditional sympathy for the American South and its people and heritage, evident in the works of such great American conservatives as Richard M. Weaver and Russell Kirk, began to disappear.... [T]he neocons are heavily influenced by Woodrow Wilson, with perhaps a hint of Theodore Roosevelt.... They believe in an aggressive U.S. presence practically everywhere, and in the spread of democracy around the world, by force if necessary.... Neoconservatives tend to want more efficient government agencies; paleoconservatives want fewer government agencies. They generally admire President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his heavily interventionist New Deal policies. Neoconservatives have not exactly been known for their budget consciousness, and you won’t hear them talking about making any serious inroads into the federal apparatus.[16]

Controversy on League of the South membership[edit]

In a review of Woods' Politically Incorrect Guide to American History published in The Weekly Standard, historian Max Boot criticized Woods for being a founding member of the League of the South. Boot noted that this organization advocated secession and "counsels 'white Southerners' that they should not 'give control over their civilization and its institutions to another race, whether it be native blacks or Hispanic immigrants'".[17] A winter 2006 Intelligence Report by the Southern Poverty Law Center also criticized Woods' membership in the League, which the report described as "a Southern secessionist group with white supremacist ideology".[18] Eric L. Muller, a professor and associate dean at the University of North Carolina School of Law, wrote that Woods was "a frequent contributor to the League's journal, The Southern Patriot, and has spoken at its conventions"; Muller also wrote that Woods, in an essay for the League's journal (the Southern Patriot), had characterized nineteenth-century abolitionists as "utterly reprehensible agitators who put metaphysical abstractions ahead of prudence, charity, and rationality".[19][20]

Woods replied on the blog, writing that when he was 21, he attended a meeting of scholars and journalists interested in starting an organization to assert the legitimate rights of the states. Although as a northerner he preferred the group target the whole nation, he accepted the group's decision to focus on the South. He was "convinced that in spite of those aspects of Southern history that all reasonable people deplore, that there was much of value in Southern civilization that deserved a fair hearing". He also supported the right to secession as "a salutary restraint" on the federal government. He said that for these reasons he maintained an intermittent membership in the League. He played no day-to-day role in the organization and was not responsible for politically incorrect statements he heard were on the League's web site. He wrote that as an Armenian, he saw no reason why Anglo-Celts should not be "allowed to preserve their culture". Woods wrote that "racism" is "a word that is thrown around at everyone who looks cockeyed at Jesse Jackson" and found it "revealing that white supremacist organizations have repeatedly and vocally condemned the League".[21]


Tom Woods Show[edit]

Since September 2013, Woods has delivered a daily podcast, The Tom Woods Show, on investment broker Peter Schiff's website. On the podcasts, which are archived on Schiff's website, Woods conducts interviews on economic topics, foreign policy, and history.[22]


As author[edit]

As editor[edit]


  1. ^ a b New York Times "Bestseller List" (Paperback non-fiction), January 9, 2005 [1]
  2. ^ Naji Filali, Interview with Thomas E. Woods, Jr., Harvard Political Review, August 16, 2011.
  3. ^ "Liberty Classroom". 
  4. ^ "Editorial Board at Libertarian Papers". Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  5. ^ Abbeville Institute website
  6. ^ "First Principles – Banana Republic, U.S.A". 2009-03-02. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  7. ^ Inferno New Media. "About Tom Woods | Tom Woods". Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  8. ^ "ISI Announces 2006 Templeton Enterprise Award Winners". 
  9. ^ Woods, Thomas E. (Presenter) (2008). The Catholic Church: Builder of Civilization (Television production). Episode 8: "Catholic Charity". Eternal Word Television Network. ASIN B00C30D3NG. Retrieved 2013-05-21. My personal favorite in this list is Martin Luther because I, myself, am a former Lutheran. 
  10. ^ "A Profound Philosophical Commonality by Anthony Flood". 1987-11-22. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  11. ^ "Sacred Then and Sacred Now: The Return of the Old Latin Mass". 2007-09-14. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  12. ^ "History and Truth: An Interview With Thomas E. Woods, Jr. by Bernard Chapin". 2005-07-23. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  13. ^ "Up From Conservatism – Mises Media". Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  14. ^ New York Times "Bestseller List" (Paperback non-fiction), March 08, 2009 [2]
  15. ^ bio
  16. ^ "The Split on the Right", interview of Thomas Woods by Die Tagespost
  17. ^ Boot, Max (February 14, 2005). "Incorrect History", The Weekly Standard.
  18. ^ Beirich, Heidi (2006). "Two Treatises". The Southern Poverty Law Center
  19. ^ Muller, Eric (January 30, 2005). "Guest Blogger: Thomas Woods' Southern Comfort", American Constitution Society
  20. ^ Woods, Thomas (November 3, 1998). "Dispelling myth... THE ABOLITIONISTS", Southern Patriot.
  21. ^ Woods, Thomas (February 19, 2005). "In case you were wondering".
  22. ^ The Tom Woods Show
  23. ^ On Woods' association with Ferrara, see "On Chris Ferrara"
  24. ^ Also on audio book, as read by the author Thomas Woods.
  25. ^ [3] English translation of Polish title is In defense of common sense.
  26. ^ Woods, Thomas E. "Beyond Distributism". Acton Institute. October 2008.

External links[edit]