I’ve pondered various ways of offering a constructive and creative way of dealing with some of the comments presented here and elsewhere about the work of Dr. Thomas DiLorenzo. I took another look at his C-SPAN interview with Brian Lamb, for which there is a transcript. It occurred to me that one could cut the biographical information and extraneous chatter and use the rest to present several of DiLorenzo’s contentions and then comment on them. As you have the transcript available, you will be able to see that I’m not trying to distort what he says (indeed, it’s in my interest to have him speak for himself). So, over the next several days, I’ll offer portions of that transcript, along with my observations.
I see where my posting of a short exchange of views in three part harmony on Fox has sparked a discussion at Kevin Levin’s Civil War Memory over exactly how to engage such folks in debate. Kevin asserts:
While those of us familiar with this Lincoln scholarship might enjoy a good laugh, we would do well to keep in mind that DiLorenzo and Woods are probably influencing the general public more through their publications and activism than all of the recent scholarly studies combined.
(this post originally appeared in somewhat different form on Civil Warriors, November 13, 2009; note that the blog in question is a multiauthor or group blog, and I’m replying to one of the bloggers, whose views may or may not be shared by his colleagues)
The blogosphere’s an interesting place. Really. Anyone can gain a measure of legitimacy by setting up a blog or posting reviews on Amazon or making comments on websites. In an age of ever-opening information and access, everyman can be his own historian, as Carl Becker once put it … and everywoman as well.