Thomas Woods

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Thomas Woods
Tom Woods by Gage Skidmore 3.jpg
Woods in February 2011
Thomas Ernest Woods Jr.

(1972-08-01) August 1, 1972 (age 47)
Melrose, Massachusetts, United States
School or
Austrian School
Alma mater Harvard University (A.B., 1994)
Columbia University (M.Phil., Ph.D.)
Alan Brinkley [1]
Influences Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, Ralph Raico, Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Stefan Molyneux, H. L. Mencken, Ron Paul, Rand Paul, Lew Rockwell, Walter Block, Robert Nisbet, Thomas Sowell, Scott Horton, Gene Epstein, Andrew Napolitano, Michael Malice

Thomas Ernest Woods Jr. (born August 1, 1972) is an American author, historian and libertarian who is currently a senior fellow at the Mises Institute. [2] [3] [4] Woods is a New York Times Best-Selling author and has published twelve books. [3] He has written extensively on subjects including the history of the United States, Catholicism, contemporary politics, and economics. Although not an economist himself, Woods is a proponent of the Austrian School of economics. [5] He hosts a daily podcast, The Tom Woods Show, and he formerly co-hosted the now defunct Contra Krugman . [4] [6] [7]


Since completing his doctorate in history from Columbia University in 2000, Woods has mostly written for political and popular audiences. He first received media attention for writing the Politically Incorrect Guide to American History in 2004, which promoted a paleolibertarian interpretation of American history and was a New York Times bestseller. [8] His subsequent writing has focused on promoting libertarian economics and political philosophy, and libertarian political figures such as former Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul. His 2009 book Meltdown , which attempted to exonerate free markets from blame in the 2008 economic crisis, also became a New York Times bestseller. [9]

Woods was a founding member of the League of the South, a white supremacist and neo-Confederate organization which spreads conspiracy theories about Jews. [10] Woods has also defended the position of the Confederate States of America in the American Civil War and condemned the 19th-century abolitionist movement. [11] Woods has argued that the League has changed its politics and was not racist or anti-semitic when he co-founded it in 1994. [12]

Education and affiliations

Woods holds a B.A. from Harvard University, and M.Phil. and Ph.D. from Columbia University, all 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 . [13] Woods was an ISI Richard M. Weaver Fellow in 1995 and 1996. [14] He received the 2004 O.P. Alford III Prize for Libertarian Scholarship and an Olive W. Garvey Fellowship from the Independent Institute in 2003. Woods received the 2019 Hayek lifetime achievement award from the Austrian Economics Center. [15] 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. [16] 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. [17]


Woods is the author of twelve books. His book The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History was on The New York Times Best Seller list for paperbacks in 2005. [18] His 2009 book Meltdown also made the bestseller list in 2009. [19] 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 Économistes et des Études Humaines, AD2000, Crisis, Human Rights Review, Catholic Historical Review, the Catholic Social Science Review and The American Conservative . [20]


Woods is a Rothbardian anarcho-capitalist and paleolibertarian. [21]


In a 1997 essay for the Southern Patriot (the League of the South's journal), Woods characterized 19th-century abolitionists as "utterly reprehensible agitators who put metaphysical abstractions ahead of prudence, charity, and rationality". [4] [22]

Bill of Rights

In an article for the Southern Partisan magazine in 1997 Woods writes: "The Bill of Rights, moreover, erroneously invoked by modern Civil Libertarians, was never intended to protect individuals from the state governments. Jefferson is far from alone in insisting that only the federal government is restricted from regulating the press, church-state relations, and so forth. The states may do as they wish in these areas." [23]

Jake Jacobs, a conservative author and historian critical of Woods views argues that Woods's interpretation of the Bill of Rights fetishizes states' rights, and promotes them at the expense of the rights of individuals. [24]


Woods was received into the Roman Catholic Church from Lutheranism. [25] He wrote How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization. For eleven years, he was associate editor of thr Latin Mass Magazine , which advocates traditional Catholicism. As a traditionalist Catholic, [26] Woods is also recognized for his books attacking the post-Vatican II church. [27] [28] Woods advocates what he calls the Old Latin Mass [29] and cultural conservatism. [30] [31]


Tom Woods at CPAC in February 2010. Tom Woods by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg
Tom Woods at CPAC in February 2010.

Woods is a former neoconservative and has been critical of neoconservative support for an aggressive and interventionist foreign policy. In place of this, he has advocated non-intervention. [32]

Woods makes a sharp distinction between paleoconservative thinkers, with whom he sympathizes, [3] [33] 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.

These views have provoked a strong response from some conservatives. On the release of Woods' Politically Incorrect Guide to American History, the book was scathingly reviewed by Max Boot [34] of The Weekly Standard . Boot accused Woods of being overly sympathetic with Southerners such as John C. Calhoun for his thoughts on a state's right to secede and state nullification (though northern politicians also advocated for nullification), while exaggerating the militarism of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, and Bill Clinton. [34] James Haley's Weekly Standard review of the book, in contrast, stated that it "provides a compelling rebuttal to the liberal sentiment encrusted upon current history texts..." the book is "ultimately about truth" and "[t]his is a book everyone interested in American history should have in his library". [35] Woods concluded his reply to Boot's review by saying "[s]ince in my judgment Max Boot embodies everything that is wrong with modern conservatism, his opposition is about the best endorsement I could have asked for". [36]


Woods is a controversial figure in the libertarian movement, owing to his alignment with paleoconservatism, the ideas and legacy of Murray Rothbard, and the Mises Institute. In 1994, Woods was a founding member of the League of the South for which he has been criticized [34] [37] . Woods has argued that the League has changed its politics and was not racist or anti-semitic in 1994. [38]


The Tom Woods Show

Since September 2013, Woods has delivered a daily podcast, The Tom Woods Show, originally hosted on investment broker Peter Schiff's website. On the podcasts, which are now archived on Woods' own website, Woods conducts interviews on economic topics, foreign policy, and history. [6]

Contra Krugman

In September 2015, Woods began Contra Krugman, a weekly podcast, with economist Robert P. Murphy that critiques The New York Times columns of economist Paul Krugman by analyzing Krugman's viewpoints through the lens of free market Austrian economics. The podcast sought to teach economics "by uncovering and dissecting the errors of Krugman." [6] [7] The podcast released its final episode on June 11, 2020.


As author

As editor


  1. "How Does a Libertarian Survive College or Grad School? | Tom Woods". Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  2. "Thomas E. Woods, Jr". Mises Institute. 20 June 2014. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  3. 1 2 3 Naji Filali, Interview with Thomas E. Woods, Jr., Harvard Political Review, August 16, 2011.
  4. 1 2 3 Woods, Tom. "About Tom Woods" . Retrieved 10 February 2017.
  5. "Liberty Classroom | The History and Economics They Didn't Teach You". Liberty Classroom. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  6. 1 2 3 "Profile: Thomas E. Woods, Jr". Mises Institute. 20 June 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  7. 1 2 O'Leary, Lizzie (24 September 2019). "The Libertarians on the Anti-Krugman Cruise Just Want to Be Left Alone". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 2020-06-18.
  8. "What You Should Know About the Author of the NYT Bestseller, Politically Incorrect Guide to American History| History News Network".
  10. See:
    • Applebome, Peter (7 March 1998). "Could the Old South Be Resurrected?; Cherished Ideas of the Confederacy (Not Slavery) Find New Backers". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 28 September 2016. ...Mr. Woods, one of the founding members of the League of the South.
    • Euan Hague. Heidi Beirich. Edward H. Sebesta. (2008). Neo-Confederacy – A Critical Introduction – University of Texas Press, p. 36
    • Muller, Eric (January 30, 2005). "Thomas Woods' Southern Comfort". American Constitution Society. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. ...the League of the South, a Southern nationalist organization of which Dr. Woods boasts he is a founding member. (The organization was formed in 1994; Dr. Woods was present at the founding and became a member of the League's Membership Committee, which was headed by the League's President, Michael Hill.) Dr. Woods has been a frequent contributor to the League's journal, The Southern Patriot, and has spoken at its conventions. (He has also spoken at similar meetings of other organizations, like the Southern Historical Conference and Bonnie Blue Ball, where he shared the lectern with speakers on the "Myths and Realities of American Slavery" and "Why Slaves Fought for Their South.")
  11. Articles written by Woods for the League of the South's journal include:
    Woods, Thomas (1995). "Copperheads". Southern Patriot. 2 No. 1 (Jan.-Feb. 1995): pp. 3–5.
    Woods, Thomas (1995). "The Abolitionists". Southern Patriot. 2 No. 5 (Sept. – Oct. 1995): pp. 36–37.
  12. "What's the Deal with Woods and the "League of the South"? | Tom Woods".
  13. "Editorial Board at Libertarian Papers". Archived from the original on 2011-07-28. Retrieved 2011-08-10.
  14. "First Principles – Banana Republic, U.S.A". 2009-03-02. Retrieved 2011-08-10.
  15. "About: Author, Historian, Libertarian | Tom Woods". Retrieved 2020-07-04.
  16. Inferno New Media. "About Tom Woods | Tom Woods". Retrieved 2011-08-10.
  17. "ISI Announces 2006 Templeton Enterprise Award Winners" . Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  18. New York Times "Bestseller List" (Paperback non-fiction), January 9, 2005
  19. New York Times "Bestseller List" (Paperback non-fiction), March 08, 2009
  20. "About: Author, Historian, Libertarian | Tom Woods". Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  21. "Libertarian Anarchy: Against the State". 2014-03-14. Retrieved 2018-06-30.
  22. Muller, Eric (January 30, 2005). "Thomas Woods' Southern Comfort". American Constitution Society. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. It would include Dr. Woods' insistence that nineteenth century slavery abolitionists were "not noble crusaders whose one flaw was a tendency toward extremism, but utterly reprehensible agitators who put metaphysical abstractions ahead of prudence, charity, and rationality." It would include Dr. Woods' endorsement (in an essay appealingly entitled "Christendom's Last Stand") of the view that whereas those who sought the abolition of slavery were "atheists, socialists, communists, red republicans, [and] jacobins, those who owned slaves were "friends of order and regulated freedom."
  23. Thomas, Woods (1997). "Christendom's Last Stand". Southern Partisan. 17 (2nd Quarter 1997): 26–29.
  24. Jacobs, Jake (December 5, 2014). "Thomas Woods' 1861 "Secessionist-Libertarianism": A defense of a slave-civilization gone with the wind!". Renew America. Retrieved 2016-09-14.
  25. 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.
  26. "A Profound Philosophical Commonality by Anthony Flood". 1987-11-22. Retrieved 2011-08-10.
  27. Beirich, Heidi. "Two Treatises: A pair of recent books attack the Vatican and its current policies form the core of radical traditionalist teachings". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 2016-07-17.
  28. Woods, Thomas E.; Ferrara, Christopher A. (2002). The Great Façade: Vatican II and the Regime of Novelty in the Catholic Church. The Remnant Press. ISBN   978-1890740108.
  29. "Sacred Then and Sacred Now: The Return of the Old Latin Mass". 2007-09-14. Archived from the original on 2008-05-01. Retrieved 2011-08-10.
  30. "History and Truth: An Interview With Thomas E. Woods, Jr. by Bernard Chapin". 2005-07-23. Archived from the original on 2014-03-13. Retrieved 2011-08-10.
  31. "Up From Conservatism – Mises Media". Retrieved 2011-08-10.
  33. E. Woods, Thomas. "The Split on the Right". Retrieved 2016-09-14.
  34. 1 2 3 Boot, Max (Feb 14, 2005). "Incorrect History". The Weekly Standard. Retrieved 2016-09-14.
  35. "Haley, James W., The Standard Reader, Weekly Standard 01/31/2005". 31 January 2005.
  36. "A Factually Correct Guide for Max Boot". The American Conservative. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  37. "Review Essay of The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History by Thomas E. Woods, Jr". 2014-07-30. Retrieved 2016-09-28.
  38. "What's the Deal with Woods and the "League of the South"? | Tom Woods".
  39. On Woods' association with Ferrara, see "On Chris Ferrara"
  40. Also on audio book Archived 2011-07-08 at the Wayback Machine , as read by the author Thomas Woods.

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