Dilorenzo, Thomas J.
DILORENZO, Thomas J.
PERSONAL: Married. Education: Westminster College, B.A.; Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Ph.D. Hobbies and other interests: Biking, playing golf, traveling.
ADDRESSES: Home—Clarksville, MD. Offıce—Sellinger Hall 311, Sellinger School of Business and Management, Loyola College in Maryland, 4501 North Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21210. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Teacher and author. Loyola College, Joseph A. Sellinger, School of Business and Management, Maryland, professor of economics, 1992—. Ludwig Von Mises Institute, Auburn, AL, senior fellow. Held faculty appointments at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and State University of New York; George Mason University, associate professor of economics. Former adjunct scholar with Center for Study of America and with Cato Institute.
Hidden Politics: "Progressive" Nonprofits Target theStates, edited by Daniel T. Oliver, Capital Research Center (Washington, DC), 1993.
Unfunded Federal Mandates: Environmentalism'sAchilles Heel?, Center for the Study of American Business (St. Louis, MO), 1993.
Frightening America's Elderly: How the Age LobbyHolds Seniors Captive, preface by Alan Simpson, Capital Research Center (Washington, DC), 1996.
The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln,His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War, Prima (Roseville, CA), 2002.
How Capitalism Saved America: The Untold History of Our Country, from the Pilgrims to the Present, Crown Forum (New York, NY), 2004.
Author of numerous articles for academic journals and for mainstream publications, including the Wall Street Journal, Reader's Digest, USA Today, National Review, and Barron's.
WITH JAMES T. BENNETT:
The Nation's Largest Municipal Bankruptcy: The Tip of the Off-Budget Iceberg, National Center for Policy Analysis (Dallas, TX), 1981.
Underground Government: The Off-Budget Public Sector, preface by Gordon Tullock, epilogue by William Simon, Cato Institute (Washington, DC), 1983.
Destroying Democracy: How Government FundsPartisan Politics, Cato Institute (Washington, DC), 1985.
The Profits of Nonprofits: Unfair Competition in theComputer Software and Audiovisual Industries, Center for the Study of American Business (St. Louis, MO), 1987.
Unfair Competition: The Profits of Nonprofits, Hamilton Press (Lanham, MD), 1989.
Health Research Charities II: The Politics of Fear, edited by William T. Poole, Capital Research Center (Washington, DC), 1991.
Offıcial Lies: How Washington Misleads Us, Groom Books (Alexandria, VA), 1992.
Unhealthy Charities: Hazardous to Your Health andWealth, BasicBooks (New York, NY), 1994.
From Pathology to Politics: Public Health in America, Transaction Publishers (New Brunswick, NJ), 2000.
Public Health Profiteering, Transaction Publishers (New Brunswick, NJ), 2001.
SIDELIGHTS: A college professor who specializes in economic history and political economy, Thomas J. DiLorenzo has authored or coauthored more than a dozen books on economic topics, including group-interest politics, interventionism, and antitrust issues. A strong opponent of big government, DiLorenzo has often collaborated with James T. Bennett. In their book Offıcial Lies: How Washington Misleads Us, the authors use numerous statistics and anecdotes to make a case against too much government intervention. For example, they argue that government is ineffective and cannot be trusted to intervene in market failures. Writing in the Southern Economic Journal, Donald J. Boudreaux commented that "these authors show that government is, perhaps, the major source of false information and half-truths in the United States. Each of the book's ten chapters is choked with information about misinformation sponsored by, or left uncorrected by, government."
In Unhealthy Charities: Hazardous to Your Health and Wealth, DiLorenzo and Bennett focus on charitable organizations. They present the case for their belief that these organizations are not particularly efficient or effective and would be better off focusing more funds on community services and the sick. For example, the authors write, "For every dollar spent by the American Cancer Society for research to cure cancer, American taxpayers pay $15. The American Lung Association spends a paltry 5% of its income on research, and the National Institutes of Health spend more than $10 for every dollar of research money spent by the American Heart Association." A Nutrition Health Review contributor praised the work, noting, "In this well-documented book, the writers not only expose the woeful inadequacy of aid that these large charities give to the impoverished ill of our society but also venture to remind the organizations of their responsibility and offer advice for change that would ensure their efficiency and broaden their effectiveness." Sidney M. Wolfe, writing in the Lancet, thought that the co-authors put forth many "naive views" and that there are major weaknesses in the authors' review of charities, including "the view that, in contrast to these charities, the for-profit sector is a model of efficiency and accountability because, ultimately 'The Captain is the consumer.'"
In The Food and Drink Police: America's Nannies, Busybodies, and Petty Tyrants DiLorenzo and Bennett take on the government and nonprofits for their supposed public-interest efforts in cracking down on industries that are perceived as producing products detrimental to the public's health. The authors ask, "Is pervasive regulatory regimentation of everyone's life the only feasible way of dealing with health risks? Is the essence of American business really profiting by selling dangerous or deadly products to an unsuspecting public?" In the book, DiLorenzo and Bennett explore the agendas, need for, and effectiveness of groups such as the Center for Science and Public Interest (CSPI) and Mothers against Drunk Driving (MADD). In the end, they question the need to have a government that protects us from ourselves.
DiLorenzo turns to the past in The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War. According to DiLorenzo, there are many myths surrounding Lincoln and his presidency, including the belief that he was a strong abolitionist. According to DiLorenzo, Lincoln was far from the great leader history has painted him as being. In an interview in the Austrian Economics Newsletter, he commented that Lincoln "was just another politician, and a particularly menacing one" who was a "mercantilist and an inflationist." DiLorenzo also argues that the U.S. Civil War could have been avoided by Lincoln because, as he writes, "the political support structures for slavery were breaking down in 1860" and that slavery would have eventually died out without the war. DiLorenzo also names Lincoln as one of the first purveyors of big government.
Critics came down on both sides of DiLorenzo's attack on Lincoln. An Insight on the News contributor commented that "DiLorenzo makes clear how, step by step, Lincoln's decision to forcibly resist Southern secession led to a regime that can only be described as authoritarian." Noting that DiLorenzo "deserves some credit for producing an anti-Lincoln book worth discussing," Matthew Pinsker, writing in Presidential Studies Quarterly, commented, "Most of these contentions and a litany of others tossed off pugnaciously within the book are old charges that have been twisted badly out of context." In an article in Independent Review, Richard M. Gamble commended DiLorenzo for bringing up "fresh and morally probing questions, challenging the image of the martyred president that has been fashioned carefully in marble and bronze, sentimentalism and myth." Gamble went on to note, "Despite its provocative insights and obvious rhetorical skill, however, The Real Lincoln is seriously compromised by careless errors of fact, misuse of sources, and faulty documentation."
DiLorenzo discusses capitalism and its importance to the United States in his 2004 book How CapitalismSaved America: The Untold History of Our Country, from the Pilgrims to the Present. He writes about such issues as what capitalism is, how it saved the Pilgrims, its enrichment of the working class, and how he believes the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt ultimately crippled capitalism. A Kirkus Reviews contributor felt that DiLorenzo failed to provide a complete context for some of his arguments, noting, "His insistence that both federal spending and borrowing be immediately cut in such situations is not, for some reason, rendered in context of the current administration." The reviewer also wrote, "Quite readable, for doctrinaire chapter and verse." In a review in Booklist, Gilbert Taylor noted, "DiLorenzo's presentation challenges widespread beliefs about economic history." Writing in Publishers Weekly, a reviewer called the book "a work of ideology cross-dressing as history. Its value lies in its lively polemic rather than its claims to novelty or historical depth." Library Journal contributor Lawrence R. Maxted noted, "The text is pretty extreme but consistent and well reasoned, which makes it worth reading."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
DiLorenzo, Thomas J., The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War, Prima (Roseville, CA), 2002.
DiLorenzo, Thomas J., and James T. Bennett, Unhealthy Charities: Hazardous to Your Health and Wealth, BasicBooks (New York, NY), 1994.
Austrian Economics Newsletter, winter, 1994, interview with DiLorenzo."
Booklist, June 1, 1994, William Beatty, review of Unhealthy Charities: Hazardous to Your Health and Wealth, p. 1747; June 1, 2004, review of How Capitalism Saved America: The Untold History of Our Country, from the Pilgrims to the Present, p. 1681.
Consumers' Research, April, 1999, Peter Spencer, review of The Food and Drink Police: America's Nannies, Busybodies, and Petty Tyrants, p. 43.
Footwear News, July 7, 1986, Dick Silverman, "Study: Imports Save $3.1 Bil," p. 4.
Independent Review, spring, 2003, Richard M. Gamble, review of The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War, p. 611.
Insight on the News, May 13, 2002, review of TheReal Lincoln, p. 5.
Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2004, review of HowCapitalism Saved America, p. 41.
Lancet, January 21, 1995, Sidney M. Wolfe, review of Unhealthy Charities, p. 179.
Library Journal, July, 2004, Lawrence R. Maxted, review of How Capitalism Saved America, p. 95.
National Review, August 19, 1988, Michael Fumento, review of Destroying Democracy: How Government Funds Partisan Politics, p. 56; September 26, 1994, Marvin Olasky, review of Unhealthy Charities, p. 66; October 14, 2002, Ken Masugi, review of The Real Lincoln, p. 61.
Nutrition Health Review, summer, 1994, review of Unhealthy Charities, p. 21.
Presidential Studies Quarterly, March, 2004, Matthew Pinsker, review of The Real Lincoln, p. 167.
Public Interest, spring, 1995, Heather R. Higgins, review of Unhealthy Charities, p. 124.
Southern Economic Journal, April, 1993, Donald J. Boudreaux, review of Offıcial Lies: How Washington Misleads Us, p. 831; July, 1995, Dwight R. Lee, review of Unhealthy Charities, p. 285.
Townhall.com,http://www.townhall.com/ (November 4. 2004), Anna Marie Gould, review of The Real Lincoln.*