In our final dissection of Thomas DiLorenzo’s comments in a 2008 C-SPAN interview with Brian Lamb, we learn of a conference that Dr. DiLorenzo liked and indeed helped organize:
LAMB: Andrew Ferguson wrote about a meeting you had in Richmond, what was that?
DILORENZO: In Richmond? Well, we had the – after my book came out it created quite a – I had a lot of fan mail, thousands and thousands of e-mails from all over the world and it created a lot of controversy and I’ve been in a couple of debates with some well known Lincoln scholars. And so we put on an academic conference in Richmond, we thought it would be a good thing to do and we had six or seven academics talking about different aspects of Lincoln. And we put it on at a hotel in Richmond. It was a very low cost event. It was at the old John Marshall Hotel in downtown Richmond which was being renovated at the time.
We had over 300 people attendance on a beautiful spring day in April on a Saturday.
LAMB: What year?
DILORENZO: This was – I guess this was – I think it was ’04, I’m pretty sure it was ’04. And so we had a big attendance. And we had, I think, seven academics gives speeches, give talks, and then we had a 90 minute question-and-answer session at the end. And I thought it was all very educational and very stimulating. A lot of people from Washington, D.C. drove down to Richmond to see this event and Andrew Ferguson wrote about it. I was kind of disappointed in him though he said almost nothing about the substance of what was said in our conference but he did mention it in his book.
LAMB: Now did you try to balance your conference out? Or did you do the same thing you accuse the others of doing?
DILORENZO: No, our conference is the balance.
LAMB: The whole conference?
DILORENZO: Yes. When we opened it up, there was an open question-and-answer session after each presentation and there were 300 people in the audience. And then we left an extra hour-and-a-half at the end just to ask any question of any of the speakers. And so I’ve never been to a conference dominated by the Lincoln scholars that did that. They never seemed to let people like myself have an hour-and-a-half to interrogate them about their views. And so, I thought, that would be our way of doing this. And I personally I was the organizer of the conference along with two or three other people. But, I didn’t have much of a taste for inviting many of these people after they had treated me so shabbily like the History Channel example is one.
Croossroads Comments: First, Dr. DiLorenzo does not like Andrew Ferguson, who described the conference in question. Second, although Dr. DiLorenzo frequently observes that he’s not welcome among Lincoln scholars (although he does admit to debating them), he did not feel moved to invite them to his conference. Somehow he knows what happens at the conferences Lincoln scholars put on … but I’ve never encountered him at a meeting of the Abraham Lincoln Association. Maybe I missed when he came. I do know that this year, there was a 90-minute round table where people asked questions of Jonathan Earle, Jonathan White, Russell McClintock, Michael Holt, and myself, and that two years ago I participated in two round tables during the bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth at Springfield.
What strikes me is that DiLorenzo admits that he stacked the deck at his own conference but then calls it “the balance.” Then again, he makes mention again of how Lincoln scholars used the History Channel to conspire against him. I remain curious as to what real evidence he has for this claim.
Thomas DiLorenzo has written a great deal on Lincoln, largely by repeating his claims as if mere repetition is sufficient to establish veracity and truth. I’ve looked at this interview because readers of several blogs wanted someone to hold his assertions up to the light and see what’s there. There isn’t much. However, what remains remarkable to me about this interview is the amount of time spent by DiLorenzo in describing a cult that is conspiring to prevent truthtellers such as himself from getting the word out about the real Abraham Lincoln … aided by, of course, the History Channel.
Oh well. I hope you learned something.