Michael Novak was a thinker whose sweep was without peer in his time, or ours. As a public intellectual, his contributions ranged over a staggering list of fields – theology, philosophy, journalism, economics, politics, poetry and fiction – just for starters. His public service included work as an ambassador for human rights, as a professor, as a public speaker in great demand; and his service was recognized by a staggering list of honors: 24 honorary degrees, the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, awards from the Central European governments and associations for whom his towering work, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, would serve as a providential blueprint during the years in which they clawed up from decades of communist oppression.Read More
Teams of University students competed in developing action plans addressing particular social issues, such as homelessness or income inequality, as part of a “hackathon” on March 19. The hackathon was part of the second annual Novak Symposium, a day-long conference promoting continued discussion of issues and themes that the late Michael Novak focused on.Read More
The Catholic University of America’s Novak Symposium, now in its second year, is a day filled with the sharing of thought provoking ideas.
To honor the memory of Michael Novak, an American Catholic political scholar best known for his demonstrations that democratic capitalism and Catholic social teaching are compatible, Catholic scholars from think tanks and educational institutions come from all over to deliver speeches on current social issues and the solutions they have discovered through their work.Read More
One of history’s less palatable lessons is that dictatorial regimes can stay in power a long time. We can talk endlessly about humanity’s insuppressible yearning for liberty, but if a government retains its security apparatus’s loyalty and the will to use force, dictatorships can be very resilient in the face of popular discontent.
The good news is that such regimes can also collapse at the most unexpected moments.Read More
Michael Novak, who died recently at age 83 from colon cancer, was a philosopher and theologian of the first rank. His writings on capitalism, democracy and religion had an enormous influence in the 1980s and 1990s. In fact, they provided critical intellectual underpinnings that led to the demise of Soviet communism.Read More
Last month, America lost a great defender of freedom, Michael Novak.
Novak was committed to rightly ordered liberty and cared deeply about the principles and practices that produce it. His enormous body of work emphasized the cultural prerequisites for political and economic freedom, as he stressed that economic conservativism and social conservatism are indivisible.
In the words of Heritage Foundation founder Ed Feulner, “Michael forced those of us trained in the dismal science of economics to explain that we should be more than ‘free to choose’—rather we should be free to make good free choices.”Read More
Any adequate account of the swirling currents in Catholic intellectual life during the decades following the Sixties and Vatican II—think names like Wills, Greeley, Berrigan, Ruether, Hesburgh, Buckley—would have to give a major place to Michael Novak, who died at age eighty-three on February 17.
Novak was a frequent contributor to Commonweal from the late 1950s to the middle ’70s. In these pages and in the National Catholic Reporter, Timemagazine, and elsewhere, he was a skillful exponent of the work of Vatican II and a passionate champion of the radicalism arising from campus opposition to the war in Vietnam.Read More
The news of Michael Novak’s death Feb. 17 saddened close friends and colleagues in the community of think tank scholars who drew so much from his writings and lectures.
Novak’s perspectives expanded our conceptual grasp of economic liberty beyond dry formulas to include a more complete picture of the creative, human, and virtuous nature of entrepreneurship.Read More
Michael Novak, a Catholic philosopher, theologian and author who was highly regarded for his religious scholarship and intellectual independence, died Feb. 17 at home in Washington, D.C. He was 83.
His daughter Jana Novak told The Washington Post the cause of death was complications from colon cancer.Read More
In the late 1970s I underwent two conversions: the first was reading myself out of the left wing politics in which I had been active. The second, not unrelated, was to return to the practice of the Catholic faith.
I say these transformations were related because I found that the more I saw the basis of a free society was predicated on free human action in the economy, the more I found myself thinking about the nature of the human person, his transcendence, and his dignity, and hence my return to the faith of my youth.Read More