John Armstrong Blog Series on "Writing from Left to Right"


 One of the most fascinating and engaging political stories that I have read in years is the recently published book, Writing from Left to Right: My Journey from Liberal to Conservative (Image: New York, 2013). This unique memoir is written by Roman Catholic scholar Michael Novak. I found Novak’s memoir so deeply interesting, for both Christian and personal reasons, that I decided to write several blogs on the ideas of Novak, a foremost intellectual among serious social thinkers over the last four decades.  -- John Armstrong, ACT3 Network


 January 27, 2014

January 28, 2014

 January 29, 2014

Patheos Review of Writing from Left to Right

Writing from Left to Right : My Journey from Liberal to Conservative

Published at by Pete Socks on January 1, 2014  

Personal memoirs can be an engaging read if you have interest in a particular person. Some, however, do more than just tell you about the life of the writer. Sometimes they pull back the curtains on a particular period of time and relate details about historical events. Such is the case with Michael Novak’s latest book Writing from Left to Right : My Journey from Liberal to Conservative.

For those those unfamiliar with Michael Novak, he is an accomplished author of 45+ books as well as a journalist appearing in many notable magazines such as National Review. His career really took off with his book The Open Church, published in 1964 detailing the second session of Vatican II.

In Writing from Left to Right, Michael shares his experiences and thoughts on some of the major events that have occurred in the past 50+ years. The book on its surface is what the the title suggests, his personal story about his journey from liberal to conservative. Along the way Michael sheds some light on the people and events that caused him to switch his ideological views.

The book begins with the influence of his father, than moving on to his 12 years of study for the priesthood which he ultimately determined was not his calling and his time in Harvard. He discusses influences from his days there that would leave an impression on him forever. Gabriel Marcel taught him that “When someones ceases being just an “it” to you and appears, even for a moment, as a “thou”, someone already known to you in the slightest way, you have stepped from the realm of objects to the realm of persons.” Marcel among other influential persons at Harvard would plant the seeds for Michael’s future humanitarian efforts. Perhaps the greatest contribution Harvard made on his life was that is where he met his future wife, Karen.

Michael would next spend time at Vatican II from September to December 1963. While there, his work would result in the book The Open Church. He brings to light in Writing from Left to Right the struggle at Vatican II between the established “conservative” wing and the “progressive” wing. Essentially, as he puts it, the progressives were more traditionalist than the conservatives. Karol Wotyla and Joseph Ratzinger led this school of thought. It is telling that they would one day both become Pope. Another thing Michael points out is how humbling Vatican II was for bishops around the world. “We found it a bit comical to watch all these important bishops, princes of the Church in their own dioceses, used to being chauffeured in shiny black cars, now forced to climb in and out of crowded school buses with everybody else.”

A point he made about the early 60′s really struck me. As Vatican II progressed there was a general feeling of hope of a new era dawning for the Church. The same thought was going on in the United States with the presidency of John F. Kennedy. It was quite interesting how he managed to tie both these events together to illustrate not just a nation but a world that held great expectations for the period in time they were in.

At it’s heart this book is a political memoir. Michael moves on to talk about writing speeches for Eugene McCarthy, Sargent Shriver, George McGovern and Bobby Kennedy. Michael praises each as being a great man and his admiration for them all shines through.

By this time Michael was a professor at Stanford. The assassinations of JFK and RFK, and Martin Luther King are perhaps the most recollected events of the 60′s. Michael had a personal encounter with the the loss of Bobby Kennedy. He received an invitation from Kennedy, who at the time was seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, to fly to Los Angeles to be with him as the California primary returns came in (ultimately he did not go) — the very night the candidate was fatally shot. “An awful summer. An awful year. An awful five years.” as Michael states.

Perhaps what most shifted Michael from left to right was the economic debates of the 1970′s. This is when he realized the spending of Keynesian liberalism was not working and he came forward publicly as a supporter of capitalism. What follows I paraphrase from the book:

“I first realized I was a capitalist when all my friends began publicly declaring that they were socialists. Night after night I tried to persuade myself of the coherence of their logic. Nothing worked. Practical discussions seemed beyond the point. Finally I realized that socialism is not a political proposal, not an economic plan. Socialism is the residue of Judeo-Christian faith, without religion. It is a belief in the goodness of the human race and paradise on earth. That’s when I discovered I believe in sin. I’m for capitalism, modified and made intelligent and public-spirited, because it makes the world free for sinners. It allows human beings to do pretty much what they will.”

I found the closing chapters of this book to be the most interesting but perhaps that it because I am of the generation raised in the late 70′s and early 80′s. These chapters are spent dwelling on what Michael Novak has the called “The Big Three”: Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II. You will read of Reagan’s appointment of Michael as the US Ambassador to the UN Commission of Human Rights. Admittedly Michael knew nothing of human rights law but it was a position he accepted and ultimately flourished at. As much as Michael has been influenced by those around him it must be said that he had just as much influence on them. From a story about his meeting with Margaret Thatcher: “She had turned from the hall to go back into her office. “Here, I want you to see this – it’s your book. All marked up.” She riffled through the book to show me underlinings and marginal notations on a great many pages. “I told you I was reading you. And I want you to believe it. There! You can see for yourself.”

Michael Novak has led quite a life. He has witnessed and played a part in many of the events of the past fifty years. His humbleness in all of this is one thing that shines through in every page of this book. It is also evident that his Catholic faith has played a major part in his role in everything he has done. This review only touches upon a few of the events and the people he discusses in these pages. I would encourage anyone interested at all in not only the political scene of recent years as well as those who have a desire to know more about events that have occurred in our lifetimes, to read this book.

I received a copy of the book for this review from Image Catholic Books. You can read more about the book at their website here.

Writing from Left to Right Review in The Washington Times

Throughout, Mr. Novak’s tone is conciliatory. He draws warm portraits of allies, but he’s also magnanimous toward political opponents. This marvelous political memoir deserves the widest possible readership.

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Writing From Left to Right’

Published by Brian C. Anderson in The Washington Times on December 4, 2013

Catholic theologian, social thinker, diplomat, political speechwriter, journalist, influencer of prime ministers and popes, author of dozens of important books — Michael Novak has lived an extraordinary public life. “Writing from Left to Right” is his entertaining and wise memoir of that engagement with his age, and of his movement across the political spectrum.

Born in 1933 to a working-class Slovak family in Johnstown, Pa., Mr. Novak describes two stories from his childhood that colored his later politics. The first is of listening with his father to a crackling radio broadcast in 1939, announcing Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland. “Study all you can about the Nazis and the communists,” his father advised. “These will be the two movements that will shape the next forty years.” The second is of his Uncles Johnnie and Emil. Both worked at Bethlehem Steel and both offered a supply of gruff common sense. The adult Mr. Novak’s anti-totalitarianism and distrust of out-of-touch elites found a source in these early experiences.

“Writing from Left to Right” briefly chronicles Mr. Novak’s dozen years as a seminarian and his initial efforts, after leaving religious life, to become a writer, including publishing a first novel, “The Tiber Was Silver,” which sold 30,000 copies.

Another chapter tells of his graduate-student days at Harvard University, where a moving encounter with the Catholic existentialist Gabriel Marcel gave him a lifelong interest in the human “person,” a being “able to reflect on her own past, approve of some parts of it, disapprove of others, and choose among various roads into the future.” The Protestant thinker Reinhold Niebuhr, relentlessly warning about the unintended consequences of human action, became a second enduring influence from this period.

The memoir really takes off when Mr. Novak enters the political arena. He wrote speeches for Democratic stars Eugene McCarthy, Sargent Shriver, George McGovern and Bobby Kennedy, all of whom come off as decent and impressive men. A Stanford professor at the time, Mr. Novak received an invitation from Kennedy, then seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, to fly to Los Angeles to be with him as the California primary returns came in — the very night the candidate was fatally shot.

Five years earlier, Mr. Novak had been in Rome, covering the unfolding of Vatican II, when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. That night, he and his wife Karen would dine with JFK friend John Cogley and “The Other America” author Michael Harrington, trying to make sense of the horror.

As these names attest, the Michael Novak of the ‘60s was on the left. Several things began to push him right. One was religious. Mr. Novak sympathized with Vatican II’s progressives, who wanted to renew the Catholic faith, which they felt had become too defensive and closed to new insights into the truth. Mr. Novak’s early book “The Open Church” embodied this vision.

Mr. Novak grew troubled as Vatican II began to be interpreted as calling for a complete transformation of the faith, along the lines laid down by secular elites. Such an agenda was distant from the “probing” traditionalism of Vatican II’s leading progressives, future popes Karol Wojtyla and Joseph Ratzinger, Mr. Novak believed, and, in his view, calamitously misguided.

By the early 1970s, those secular elites were rubbing Mr. Novak the wrong way in other ways, too, he recounts. “I had begun to notice the appearance of two lefts — one that included my whole family and what it represented, and the other a ‘new’ left, based on a suddenly emerging ‘constituency of conscience,’ no longer rooted among people who worked with their hands and backs.”

Wealthy, self-satisfied, partisans of a new, more “sensitive” and relativistic morality, the new leftists looked down on Mr. Novak’s “unmeltable ethnics” — the working-class, predominantly Catholic, and culturally conservative Americans of Eastern and Southern European descent who’d eventually become the Reagan Democrats. Mr. Novak rejected the new liberalism’s cultural and political views, though he still considered himself a man of the left.

Mr. Novak’s rightward drift was complete after he immersed himself in the study of political economy and came out a partisan of the free economy — albeit an economy molded by a morally serious culture and robust democratic political institutions. Joining a right-of-center think tank, the American Enterprise Institute, in 1978, where he would remain until his recent retirement (and where I worked for him for several years during the 1990s), Mr. Novak read and read Adam Smith, Friedrich Hayek, Max Weber, Alexis de Tocqueville and a vast literature of other social thinkers.

The research culminated in one of his most audacious books, 1982’s “The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism,” a powerful defense of democratic capitalist societies based on the very real goods they provided, including the rule of law, respect for the person and widespread prosperity. Margaret Thatcher and Poland’s Solidarity leaders, among many others, would draw inspiration from it.

“Writing from Left to Right” covers lots more: Mr. Novak’s conflicted views on the Vietnam War; his late-‘60s run-in with left-wing campus lunacy at the experimental college of the State University of New York at Old Westbury; his stints as Ronald Reagan’s ambassador to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights; his tireless efforts during the 1980s and 1990s to build a consensus for welfare reform and to find new approaches to help the poor; and his profound respect for Pope John Paul II, whose encyclical on the free society, “Centesimus Annus,” he clearly influenced.

Throughout, Mr. Novak’s tone is conciliatory. He draws warm portraits of allies, but he’s also magnanimous toward political opponents. This marvelous political memoir deserves the widest possible readership.

Brian C. Anderson is editor of the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal and author of “Democratic Capitalism and its Discontents” (Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2007) and “South Park Conservatives” (Regnery, 2005).

The American Spectator: Capitalism’s Theologian

American-SpectatorThe renowned Michael Novak, on his journey to conservatism.

 Published by Mark Tooley in The American Spectator November 2013 issue



MICHAEL NOVAK IS one of the great public theologians of the last half-century, and his new memoir, Writing From Left to Right: My Journey From Liberal to Conservative, illustrates why. Born in 1933 to a Slovak family in flood-famous Johnstown, Pennsylvania, Novak witnessed the last century’s great political disasters. His earliest such memory is of Germany’s 1939 invasion of Poland.  

As an Eastern European and a Catholic, Novak viscerally felt the totalitarian horrors that brutalized his ancestral land. And he would deeply identify with, and come to know, his fellow Slav, Pope John Paul II. Novak ideologically pivoted right when the mainstream Left lost interest in robustly defending democratic order. In the 1980s he pioneered a spiritual defense of democratic capitalism that morally explained the resurgent success of America and Britain under Reagan and Thatcher, both of whom credited Novak’s insights.

 In earlier years Novak worked for Robert Kennedy, Gene McCarthy, George McGovern, and Sargent Shriver, and he writes fondly of them all. He also briefly served Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, about whom he’s less appreciative. At first he felt drawn to the priesthood, but, after much anxiety, he realized his calling was to be a philosopher and writer. As a Harvard student, Novak was deeply influenced by Protestant thinker Reinhold Niebuhr, whose focus on irony, realism, and unintended consequences further equipped Novak against Utopianism.

 “There were always wars in human history—new ones, generation after generation—because wars spring from the human heart itself,” Novak writes, citing St. Augustine. “Peace never lasts.” He eventually turned against “progressivism” because it “overrates human innocence and goodness and underrates human weakness and preference for getting things for free rather than as a result of arduous work.”

After his rightward turn, Novak recalls that former colleagues and friends shunned him as a heretic to the Left’s faith in unstoppable progress. He writes that these wayward friends like to cite his more appealing early work, such as his favorable coverage of Vatican II in his book The Open Church, in which he dissected the “nonhistorical orthodoxy” of those who understood the Church “in the idiom of the sixteenth and the highly defensive subsequent centuries.” But he states that their opponents, then called progressives, were the true “probing traditionalists”—future Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI among them, he sardonically notes. The Catholic Church humbly moves “along a sinewy path in the jungle, where patches of light only occasionally break through the darkness.”

 His first conservative impulse came from religion, as Vatican II was reinterpreted to align with the secular “thinking of the age” instead of the actual texts and the “counter-cultural voice of ancient truths.” Novak was horrified by the assassination of America’s first Catholic president, and then two months later, his brother, a priest in Bangladesh, was beheaded during Muslim riots against Hindus. (See “The Day My Brother Was Murdered,” TAS, December 2008-January 2009.)

 Vietnam momentarily derailed Novak’s conservative shift, as he demonstrated against the war while teaching at Stanford. He was especially horrified by a disingenuous speech there by Vice President Hubert Humphrey that provoked student riots. He also toured Vietnam as a reporter. The later horrors of communist conquest in Indochina persuaded Novak his thinking had not been “steady,” and he noticed the Left’s “double standards” toward communist brutality.

In 1968, Novak praised Robert Kennedy in a Methodist student magazine as “The Secular Saint,” which led Kennedy to seek him out, although Novak was already supporting McCarthy’s presidential bid. He declined Kennedy’s invitation to join him primary election night in Los Angeles, when Robert was assassinated.

Increasingly repelled by campus radicalism, Novak agreed to work for Kennedy’s brother-in-law, Sargent Shriver, a fellow Catholic intellectual, in 1970 on behalf of Democratic congressional candidates. He again helped in Shriver’s 1972 vice-presidential campaign, noticing the radicalization of the Democratic Party. That year his obituary for Reinhold Niebuhr in Commentary waxed nostalgic for political realism. 

Novak’s 1972 book The Rise of the Unmeltable Ethnics foreshadowed the surge of Reagan Democrats and emphasized social issues like defense of the family. The New York Times Book Review trashed it for spreading hate. Its theme of ethnic patriotic traditionalism contrasted with the new fad of multiculturalism that relied on the “logic of relativism” and denied national cohesion. Even as the New Left captured the Democratic Party, Novak worked loyally for George McGovern, an unpretentious Midwesterner with whom he retained lifelong friendship. It was among his last liberal exertions. 

BY 1976, NOVAK was ready to come out as a free marketeer in a Washington Post op-ed headlined “A Closet Capitalist Confesses.” He wrote: “Socialism is the residue of Judeo-Christian faith, without religion.… Capitalism, accepting human sinfulness, rubs sinner against sinner, making even dry wood yield a spark of grace.” But his new views left him intellectually homeless, without a base. 

Novak met but declined to support a still-obscure Jimmy Carter, whose views on international relations were evasive. He feared that the personalizing of policy, fueled by Carter’s Baptist faith, would inhibit the shrewd detachment necessary for a president. Novak had helped found the Coalition for a Democratic Majority for a forceful U.S. foreign and military policy, as championed by Scoop Jackson, whom Novak supported for the White House instead. In 1977 he joined the American Enterprise Institute as resident theologian.

At a 1980 poolside party for hawkish Democrats, Senator Daniel Moynihan asked how many were considering voting for Reagan. Every hand reluctantly went up, including presumably Novak’s. He served Reagan as ambassador to the UN Commission on Human Rights. “I loved the Reagan presidency,” he recalls. Reagan gave him direct instructions for his UN post: “Condone no human rights abuses.” 

Margaret Thatcher excitedly greeted Novak in a D.C. reception line, exclaiming she relished his work, and later invited him to 10 Downing Street. His most important book of that era, perhaps ever, was The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, which made the moral case for markets, and which underground movements in Eastern Europe translated and read in secret.

Novak has kind words for Presidents Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II, with the exception of Clinton’s abortion zealotry, and he especially salutes Bush II’s commitment to universal human rights. He hopes democracy will yet sprout in the Arab world ,while admitting the prospect is long-term. He warns against the collapse of political conversation, imploding birth rates, the redefinition of marriage, and aggressively intolerant secularism. He inveighs against government debts, which he sees as stealing from our kids and grandkids. “I am glad that I am in my eightieth year and will not live to see the suffering, and perhaps bitterness, of these grandchildren. How they will despise us!” 

The memoir concludes with Novak’s inventory of his deep admiration for Pope John Paul II. In particular, he explains the conflict he felt in the run-up to the Iraq war, which Novak thought necessary and the pope attempted to avert. He worried about losing John Paul’s friendship, but he found solace in the Catechism’s teaching on just war. In the last paragraph, Novak describes attending John Paul’s funeral with President Bush: 

At one point a sudden breeze turned the pages of the open book of the Gospel highly visible on the central lectern. Then, as the varnished wood casket was slowly being lifted to be carried into St. Peter’s, the breeze nudged the clouds away from the sun, and for the first time that day a beam of sunlight fell directly upon the casket and the pallbearers.…I am not saying an act of God occurred; natural causes could explain it. But these signs expressed what we felt when we shouted into the great roar of the throng, “Santo Subito! Saint Soon! Declare him saint soon!”

Novak dedicates his book to his late wife, Karen, an accomplished artist who famously served Dove bars at a dinner for Clare Booth Luce. And he ruefully laments that he outlived her.  

Conservatism’s support for free markets always threatens to implode into sterile materialism. Novak has, across decades, helped to construct a spiritual framework for a winsome capitalism premised on liberty and human creativity, sustained by biblical tradition. His old friends on the Left resented him for it. But all who cherish freedom and authentic human progress should be grateful.


About the Author Mark Tooley is president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy in Washington, D.C. and author of Methodism and Politics in the Twentieth Century. You can follow him on Twitter @markdtooley.




The Catholic Thing Reviews Writing from Left to Right

Words of Gratitude    By Brad Miner Monday, 26 August 2013

I watched and heard history as I was coming of age, which was when Michael Novak was making history – a great coming-of-age story in its own way, that’s all in his elegant and entertaining new memoir, Writing from Left to Right: My Journey from Liberal to Conservative. (It will be released a week from tomorrow and may be pre-ordered here.)

 I heard the news of JFK’s assassination over a scratchy school intercom and watched Ruby shoot Oswald on a black-and-white TV. A friend called my dorm to tell me Dr. King had been gunned down and – just two months later – heard on my transistor radio the news of Bobby Kennedy’s death.  

And there was that war we all watched on the nightly news, like we were picnickers at Bull Run.

 But Mr. Novak’s life directly intersected with all this. He was covering Vatican II on November 22, 1963 and shared a mournful dinner with his beloved wife, Karen, and with John Cogley – writer of JFK’s famous “Houston Speech” – and socialist Michael Harrington, author of The Other America.  

Michael Novak was then a man of the Left.

Among the stories he tells of the Sixties is calling his friend Eugene McCarthy to say he’d decided to support Bobby Kennedy in 1968. Mr. Novak was at Stanford University when Bobby called just before the California primary to ask him to fly to L.A. to be with the clan as returns came in. Novak declined; we all recall what happened that night.

 Later he worked with Sargent Shriver to elect Democrats to Congress. Between campaign stops, the two shared many long conversations about Catholic authors and theology. Novak admired Shriver’s basic, Catholic decency.

 George McGovern and Jimmy Carter sought his counsel, because Michael Novak was still a man of the left in the Seventies.

 But then came Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and John Paul II.

 Michael, who is our colleague, a founder of The Catholic Thing, writes: “I witnessed with my own eyes the almost immediate results of the switch from Carter’s economic policies to Reaganomics.” Entrepreneurship boomed, Reagan’s “creative tax and regulatory regime” gave rise to small businesses, and employment soared. The favorable climate suddenly propelled the emergence of new technologies.

 Michael’s visibility rose too, so much so that, although his prodigious writing continued, he took on a new career as a diplomat – for Reagan and for Bill Clinton.

 Today our brief era of prosperity and peace has come to an end, marked symbolically, if not actually, by 9-11. “Shovel-ready” economic recovery plans and ditch-digging foreign policy remind us that if the hole keeps getting deeper, stop digging. As Michael sagely writes, the trouble with statists is that they keep digging “until the state runs out of other people’s money.”

 The genesis of any political transformation is difficult to pinpoint exactly, but when Michael published The Rise of the Unmeltable Ethnics in 1972, and when both political parties took note of its arguments, something happened that, frankly, wounded him. His “liberal” comrades shunned him:

 I had never before understood how secular excommunication works – how effectively one can be banished from the innocent banter of old circles of trust, how even old friends change the flow of conversation as one approaches, signaling with a certain chill that one’s presence is no longer desired.

 It’s good, he notes, that he was still young: “One needs the toughness later.”

 In Unmeltable Ethnics, Michael, an “ethnic” himself (Slovak-American), had helped redefine, directly or indirectly, the political strategies of candidates from McGovern to Nixon by insisting that no single “homo Americanus” exists. But E Pluribus Unum is – must be – very real. How sad then for him to witness the downward spiral of multiculturalism, which “borrows the logic of relativism in order to assault the tradition of the Unum.”

 Undercutting its pretense of relativism, multiculturalism is aggressively hostile to certain cultures, chiefly our own, with our Jewish and Christian vision of the one and the many, the different people of the one Creator held to the same transcendent standards.

 Culture, he writes, is more important than either politics or economics. Culture, more than the hot-button issues of the day, is what touches hearts and moves souls. And, especially in its moral and religious dimensions, culture is what animates the decisions of real people. What is the Creed but a profound cultural statement?

 Creedal beliefs are what drove three people he came to know: Reagan, Thatcher, and Wojtyla – all of whom he portrays with remarkable insight: his and others’ – as in Jeane Kirkpatrick’s statement to him that Ronald Reagan was “the most secure man in the presence of a woman that she had ever met.”

 Margaret Thatcher congratulated him on his book, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism. “You are doing,” she said warmly, “the most important work in the world.” The great Irving Kristol, already acquainted with Thatcher, stood nearby and theatrically cleared his throat. “You too, Irving,” she quipped.

 A few years later, at 10 Downing Street, she would show him a dog-eared copy of the book, marked up with her notes.

 John Paul II once told George Weigel: “Novak says he is Slovak, but he is actually Polish.” (Long story.)

 Meeting the pope on one occasion, Michael brought Karen, a superb sculptor, who presented the Holy Father with a bronze crucifix. John Paul studied the figure of our Lord, His back arched. The Novaks were amazed to hear the pope say: “Exactly at the point of death” – exactly the artist’s intention.

 Michael concludes the book by describing the role he played in helping clarify certain points in the pope’s great encyclical, Centesimus Annus.

 “When it comes to life the critical thing,” G.K. Chesterton said, “is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” Michael Novak – scholar, diplomat, economist, sports fan, philosopher, Democrat, conservative, theologian, writer, husband, and father – has never taken anything for granted, for which his readers are most grateful.


Brad Miner is senior editor of The Catholic Thing, senior fellow of the Faith & Reason Institute, and a board member of Aid to the Church In Need USA. He is the author of six books and is a former Literary Editor of National Review. The Compleat Gentleman, read by Christopher Lane, is available on audio.

Kirkus Review of Writing from Left to Right

The political and economic education of a remarkably accomplished man. Best known as a philosopher and theologian, Novak has also been a seminarian, professor, journalist, author, ambassador, speechwriter and all-round political handyman. Now 79 and retired from the American Enterprise Institute, he revisits each of the stages in his crowded and interesting life. On behalf of an obscure congressional candidate, Novak (All Nature is a Sacramental Fire: Moments of Beauty, Sorrow, and Joy, 2011, etc.) coined “the New Frontier,” a phrase famously adopted by John F. Kennedy. As a reporter, he covered the Second Vatican Council. He organized for Gene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy, studied philosophy at Harvard, taught religion at Stanford, acted as a dean for an experimental college, campaigned for McGovern, worked hard for and came to love Sargent Shriver, and attempted to counsel Carter. This same man learned new economic lessons from Jack Kemp and Steve Forbes and worked closely with Jeane Kirkpatrick. On behalf of Ronald Reagan, Novak represented the country at Geneva and Bern, became friendly with Margaret Thatcher (an enthusiastic fan of his books) and shared dinners with John Paul II. Charting his slow drift from left to right, Novak explains how he came to see the guiding passions of his life—fighting poverty, advocating for human rights—as better served by an enlightened capitalism and by democratic politics that restrained the well-intentioned but too often disastrously heavy hand of the state. His conversion cost him some old friends on the left, but it seems impossible to ascribe these ruptures to Novak. Throughout this warm, chatty memoir, he comes across as the ultimate happy warrior, a thoroughly decent man interested only in truth, looking for the best in people and acknowledging it without regard to political affiliation.

A rare thing from a public intellectual: a guileless, bileless apologia.

Read at

Ave Maria Herald Article on "Writing from Left to Right"

Michael Novak's Political Journey from Left to Right

Published in The Ave Herald on Thursday, 29 August 2013


Many who came to know Michael Novak relatively recently during his time in Ave Maria may have trouble imagining him as a radical left-wing socialist in the 1960s. But his reasoned approach to conservative philosophy and economics is the result of a political journey that started when he was "to the left of the Democratic Party." He worked hard to get left-wing Democrats elected in the 1960s and early 1970s. By the 1980s, he was working for Ronald Reagan and being hailed by conservative icons such as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Mr. Novak, who turns 80 years old Sept. 9, describes this political transformation in his latest book Writing from Left to Right, available right after Labor Day.

He's already written more than 45 books, and few men of letters in the United States have written so much, on such Ave review pic1varied topics, as Mr. Novak. His works have been praised by politicians, philosophers and religious leaders – and Sports Illustrated magazine also hailed his Joy of Sports as one of the 100 best sports books of all time.

Seemingly disparate topics, but not to him.

"The connection is this," Mr. Novak said in an interview, "My dream was to write about the philosophy, the theology of American culture -- and not because it was American, but because there was something different here and unique. It belonged to the whole human race, but we were pioneering it."

Mr. Novak entered academic life in the early 1960s after 12 years preparing for the Roman Catholic priesthood – leaving the seminary just months before his scheduled ordination. Right, Margaret Thatcher listnes to Michael Novak after he received the Templeton Prize for Religion in 1994.

He drifted to the more radical political left in the 1960s, teaching at Stanford University, where he was voted two out of three years "the most influential professor." He came to Bobby Kennedy's attention during his 1968 run for the presidency, and worked on the campaign.

"I loved working for the Kennedys," he said, "even though I didn't appreciate at the time the Kennedys' personal life. No one said anything in those days. Not even close up."

The day of the California primary in 1968, he recalled, "Bobby called me and asked me to join him on the plane down to Los Angeles for the returns," but he couldn't go because he had a new baby at home. "I presume I would have been walking with him into the hotel" where he was assassinated, Mr. Novak said.

He left Stanford for a new Experimental College of the State University of New York on Long Island. It was there, among "some real whacko students and some real whacko faculty" that his political right turn began.

"I was radical, but they were destructive," he said.

Change was driven in party when he started to see the results of various left-wing initiatives.

"I supported very strongly the War on Poverty," he said, "and then it just went belly up. Crime went up 600 percent. Marriages fell apart at unprecedented rates. Marriages didn't even form. And I thought, 'This is crazy I can't keep supporting that.' So I became more conservative."

His Catholic faith has remained constant throughout his political journey, although he says that Church leaders don't seem to grasp fundamentals of how people can overcome poverty.

"It just seemed to me that the 'preferential option for the poor' was just a disguised way of saying more government funds to give to the poor and keep them dependent. Keep them like on a plantation. Keep them like Animal Farm."

Ave review pic 2His admirers included Lady Thatcher and Pope John Paul II.

"One of the great blessings of my life was the friendship with John Paul II. He called me publicly, several times, his friend, and I had an open invitation to come by for a meal if he was free."

Although Mr. Novak had served for years on the Ave Maria University board of trustees, he didn't spend a great deal of time in Ave Maria until 2010.

"After my dear wife Karen died in August of 2009 . . . I began to realize I wanted to sell the house in Washington. I started sending my books to AMU. Then [former AMU President] Nick Healy said to me, 'Michael, your books are here. Why don't you come down?'"

"I really have loved it," he said. "I have enough strength to do a course a semester and the university provides somebody to team with and teach it with me which makes it a lot easier."

"As long as I live and as long as I have energy, I'll be coming back to Ave Maria."



Writing from Left to Right is available on


Truman’s New World

The Most Controversial Decision: Truman, the Atomic Bombs, and the Defeat of Japan, by Wilson D. Miscamble, C.S.C. (Cambridge, 192 pp., $24.99) Back when I was in graduate school at Harvard in the early 1960s, I hoped to do my doctoral thesis on Reinhold Niebuhr, so questions of morality and politics were uppermost among my interests. This led me, naturally, to wonder about the atomic bombs dropped on Japan — and the fire bombings of Dresden and Tokyo. At the Catholic University of America a few years earlier, a prominent moral theologian, Fr. John Ford, S.J., had condemned these bombings as immoral: They were the direct killing of civilians in crowded urban areas.

My curiosity led me to a joint study by U.S. and Japanese experts in military history, some of them in high enough positions to know the internal political struggles on their own side. Although I have not been able to locate this study since, I think its authors called themselves “The Pacific War Group.” Two of their considerations were new to me, a novice in the field: first, the pressures on Emperor Hirohito from his military command never to surrender; and second, the race by the Germans and the Russians to build the atomic bomb first.

TrumanThe horror of Hiroshima gave the emperor a powerful argument in favor of a negotiated peace to spare the homeland. The bomb on Nagasaki proved that there might be a steady stream of such bombs, on city after city. I remember, too, vivid descriptions of the obscurities and uncertainties under which decision makers in Japan and the U.S. then worked: Neither could know the fierce internal arguments going on in the other’s inner circles, nor the most persuasive personalities, nor all the military intentions, nor the mysteries of the new atomic science.

I was powerfully reminded of this early study by this new book by Prof. Wilson Miscamble, making use of a scholarship far more advanced in nearly all areas than it had been in the 1960s. Miscamble produced an earlier study, From Roosevelt to Truman: Potsdam, Hiroshima, and the Cold War, focusing especially on the complexities of Truman’s personal strengths, weaknesses, hesitations, and uncertainties in the field of foreign policy. In this new book, he follows an analogous course — using all available scholarship to shed light on the human factors of decision making, but especially the internal controversies. Adm. William Leahy, for example, maintained that the atomic-bomb project was “the biggest fool thing we have ever done. The bomb will never go off, and I speak as an expert in explosives.” Miscamble describes an army of participants slowly assembling to make, over time, this “most controversial decision” — passionately controversial even in their own midst.

The first chapter discusses Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Manhattan Project, on which Vice President Truman was never briefed. The second takes up the steep learning curve Truman had to mount when Secretary of War Henry Stimson finally gave him his first-ever briefing on the super-secret project, on the evening of the day FDR died and Truman (within two hours) was sworn in. Less than four months later, Truman would have to make a decision no man in history had ever made.

The fourth chapter focuses on the Allied summit at Potsdam, at which Truman, now president, and Secretary of State James F. Byrnes tried to preserve decent relations with the Soviets, even as they both saw clearly enough that the USSR was veering away from its past dependence on its Western allies into a competitive, adversarial, unbelievably cynical wrestling for dominance whenever and wherever an opportunity presented itself. (A later chapter on Japan and the USSR shows how pleased Truman was when, quite hurriedly, Russia did declare war on Japan and launch a powerful attack on Japanese forces in Manchuria — two days after Hiroshima, just before Nagasaki.)

Especially impressive is Miscamble’s account of the bitter Japanese arguments after Hiroshima. The emperor used the horrors of this new weapon as an honorable reason for surrender, but he did not fail to have a direct accusation delivered to the United States through the Swiss, to the effect that the huge immorality of the atomic bomb put it outside all international rules of war.

As for Truman, he never allowed himself to forget, in making his decision, the immensity of the Japanese atrocities in China, and Japan’s ferocious brutality in its losing battles of 1944–45. (Nor did he forget the Soviet brutalization of whole societies, although he also knew that success in World War II depended heavily upon the Soviets.) In other words, he put into the moral equation the character of the regimes the world then faced.

Miscamble’s discussion of the decision to drop the second bomb, to make credible the threat of further bombings, is gripping. Truman told his cabinet that the thought of wiping out another city of 100,000 civilians was “horrible,” and that the bomb must never afterwards be used again. After Hiroshima, Truman did not think of atomic weapons as just another instrument of war: They were far too indiscriminate. He summed up his view in his farewell address: “Starting an atomic war is totally unthinkable for rational men.”

For Truman had come to see graphically after Aug. 6, 1945, the moral burden he had taken on his shoulders. But he thought it unworthy to moan publicly (or privately) about the hard necessities he inherited. He continued to be confident that the bomb’s use at Hiroshima and Nagasaki had been necessary, the least evil of choices available to him. And Truman did not scrap the growing American line of nuclear weapons: He knew how the Soviets would use their own growing arsenal to intimidate and to extort, if not far worse. He came to think that mutual deterrence, however morally compromising, was more moral than surrender, and as a command decision had the best chance of maintaining a fragile peace, even for a long time. Immediately after Hiroshima, Washington took no steps to wind down the war economy or the war effort. The American leaders could not be sure, given strong evidence to the contrary, that the Japanese would just surrender without committing national suicide. They could hope the Japanese would avoid the carnage, but they could not be sure.

Miscamble manfully holds back from making his book polemical. His aim is to present these historical decisions, which stand under moral judgment, in the full human complexity within which the decision makers had to feel their way. His aim is to offer a more concrete and realistic framework for the moral decisions of statesmen (and their advisers and critics) in the future. Yet Miscamble does not hesitate to state succinctly where the views of Truman’s critics — Gar Alperovitz, Elizabeth Anscombe, and others — are inadequate in the face of today’s richer body of evidence.

Miscamble’s arguments are both unsettling and, overall, convincing. Unsettling, because the moral ambivalence inherent in the use of atomic weapons in Hiroshima and Nagasaki stands out so starkly in his arraying of the evidence — and Truman himself understood it both quickly and clearly. Convincing, because I know enough about my own moral decisions and others I have studied to be impressed with how Miscamble makes concrete and believable the troubled reasonings of the human participants who made this most controversial of moral decisions.

Mr. Novak is the author of All Nature Is a Sacramental Fire and, with William E. Simon Jr., Living the Call: An Introduction to the Lay Vocation. His website is

Published in National Review October 31, 2001


Sargent Shriver, 1915-2011

The Last Liberal: Sargent Shriver's life and times Sarge: The Life and Times of Sargent Shriver by Scott Stossel (Smithsonian, 761 pp., $52.50)

ONE DAY, early in the summer of 1970, I read in the New York Times that Sargent Shriver was opening an office in Washington to help elect Democrats to Congress. Shriver had just returned from a tour as ambassador to France and was eager, the story implied, to join the political battle against Nixon and Agnew. "Sounds like fun," I told my wife over morning coffee. Three hours later, the phone rang, and it was Shriver, inviting me down to Washington to write for him.

He explained--when I visited him the next day at Timberlawn, his Maryland home, out Rockville Pike from Washington--that he had been reading my book The Experience of Nothingness during his last days in France. He read some of it aloud to me right there, and asked me if I would be willing to come and write for him: We would be on the road all summer, right through Election Day, he explained, which meant I would need to take a semester's leave of absence from the university in the fall, but my family could live at Timberlawn in the pool house during the campaign.

I said yes. When a little later I was introduced to Eunice, she smiled and said Sarge would be tough on me. "Give you five dollars if you're still here Election Day," she tossed her hair in the way parochial schoolgirls used to do. It was a marvelous adventure, those five months. There were people working in the office on K Street, there were advance teams, press secretaries, and sometimes an old-time Kennedy (or Stevenson or Humphrey or Johnson) hand for advice and company and schmoozing. And then there was Sarge and me. We did thirty-eight states, and I forget how many campaigns--pretty close to a hundred, I think.

I remember Sarge almost killing himself by taking a dare in South Dakota and allowing a bunch of the Democrats there to seat him on one side of a big inner tube near the shore of the local lake, with a rope tied to its other side, the rope then strung out about thirty feet to a power boat. When the men with drinks in their hands roared off at high speed, I was sure Sarge was going to lose both his legs in the boat's wake.

I also remember campaigning in Oakland, and Ron Dellums telling Sarge in front of the crowd that Oakland was so tough that even the muggers went in twos. We also put in a stop for another freshman, this time for the California Assembly, John Vasconcellos--who stays in touch with me to this day--and met in Sacramento with Jerry Brown, too. We baked in the desert at 110 degrees in Palm Springs, deplaning from a four-seat Cessna flown briskly by a woman pilot who wore a white jumpsuit with a flying tiger emblem on her buckle. We did Vegas, Albuquerque, Toledo, anywhere anybody wanted a headliner for a chicken dinner fundraiser. There were movie stars or athletes to join us at almost every stop. There were always Peace Corps veterans, or Job Corps veterans, or Upward Bound leaders. There was an army of Shriver people everywhere.

Sarge liked to have three or four index cards, block-printed with felt-tip pens, for each of the nine themes of the campaign. The main facts, a story or two to illustrate, a funny line or two, a throat-tightener, a punchy ending, or a lead into the next sequence. He would vary these sequences, depending on the crowd or occasion. He thought a good speech ought to move an audience through several different moods, from hilarity through sadness and on to resolve. He liked to keep things fresh. Every day he would hand me new clippings with facts or stories to "work in."

HE ALWAYS WANTED a "touch of class," as well, by which he meant a quotation from a theologian, philosopher, or classic figure--particularly something with the aura of the Catholic tradition. In this, he reminded me a bit of Eugene McCarthy, already a friend through our Commonweal ties. Both McCarthy and Shriver were Catholics not only by birth but intellectually and knowledgeably, in the way that the Kennedy brothers never were, and both thought the Catholic tradition shed an intellectual light on American perplexities that nothing else rivaled.

Shriver always hired someone--Colman McCarthy, Mark Shields, a legion of others--to play the role I held: someone to talk to about Teilhard de Chardin and Dorothy Day and Mother Teresa and Thérèse of Lisieux and Peter Maurin and G.K. Chesterton and Danilo Dolci and the Worker Priests of France and Cardinal Suhard. Shriver loved the vein of Catholic thought that wanted to "reconstruct the social order," "put the yeast of the gospel in the world," "feed the hungry, comfort the afflicted." He thought of the Catholic faith as a culture-changing force, a shaper of civilizations, an inspirer of great works, a builder of great institutions that bring help of all kinds to the needy in all dimensions of need.

Some people always thought this passion was a Kennedy thing. Shriver had a certain nobility of soul regarding the Kennedys, and I never heard a negative word cross his lips. But Shriver had a sense of his own lineage, needing vindication by nobody else. His family had helped to launch Maryland on the side of Independence, had fought on both sides of the Civil War, and served gallantly in every American war.

Long before he got involved with the Kennedys, he had excelled in prep school (in fact, he bested there, by far, Jack Kennedy), at Yale, in the Experiment in International Living (which took him to Europe every summer until 1939--he was on the last ship to leave France the day the war broke out), in the Navy, at Yale Law School, at Newsweek, and in fact at everything he had tried to do.

He had joined the Navy after Yale and emerged a hero from a decisive battle off Guadalcanal. He was from the beginning handsome, dashing, athletic, self-confident, full of fun and zest, a restless thinker, and a man with an instinct for the grand and truly great, and an acute sense of destiny. Well before he met the Kennedys, he was preparing himself for high ambitions, certainly a governorship or Senate seat. Why not? His faith wanted him to, his family expected it, he had been granted great opportunities to prepare for such things, and his inner energy and expectations longed for them.

He was McGovern's second choice to run for vice president in a doomed campaign, and that was as close as he got to the highest peaks of national ambition. He never became president, or governor, or senator. To some, that may seem a curious failure for a man with so much talent and considerable success at every lower level.

WITH SARGE: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF SARGENT SHRIVER, Scott Stossel has written a really good biography. I hadn't expected it to be; so many such books aren't. But there are many things Stossel tells that I never learned while working for Shriver in that 1970 campaign, or as his speechwriter again during his candidacy as vice president in 1972. On that occasion, the moment Senator Eagleton withdrew his candidacy, I guessed that McGovern, for whom I was then working, would turn to Sarge, so I instantly began writing his acceptance speech; and I showed up unbidden at Timberlawn the morning the news became public. All the old Kennedy speechwriters were there the next day with drafts of an acceptance speech for Sarge. He read them all, and chose mine.

From Stossel I learned the details about the Shrivers (and Shreibers) of Maryland; and about Sarge's mother and her influence on him; and how the great Cardinal Gibbons often used to come to stay with his family for days at a time (and during his final illness) and called them the best Catholic family in Maryland. From Stossel I also learned the dramatic story of his courage and decisive leadership as gunnery officer of the battleship South Dakota, which very nearly went down under furious bombardment off Guadalcanal. After that, Sarge trained to gain command of a submarine, but on assignment day, he overslept--much to his cold fury at his bad luck. (He was later to learn that all six of his companions who received commands perished at sea.) The story of Sarge's long, difficult courtship of Eunice, Stossel tells most affectingly through passages from letters. Eunice was such a strong, determined, active, personally driven woman that it speaks extremely highly of Sarge that it was precisely for these qualities that he loved her. That he pursued her so long and so singlemindedly, when other women were falling all over him, is also a great story in itself. That marrying her meant living in the shade of the Kennedys was a burden to him, and yet one he had reflectively and deliberately assumed. He felt the blessing of God in it.

He also took real pleasure in helping his wife to be the leader she is, and he put himself at the service of her dreams in helping with the Special Olympics. Only a Kennedy and a Shriver could have made that happen. It meant mobilizing legions of athletes and movie stars and journalists and publicists and health workers and volunteers. The vision came from Eunice (who from her teenage years longed to help the most needy) but the organizational skill, salesmanship, and jack-of-all-trades talents of Sarge made it happen.

MOST PEOPLE HAVE FORGOTTEN, if they ever knew, that Sarge was almost Lyndon Johnson's choice for vice president, instead of Hubert Humphrey. Johnson liked and admired Shriver and knew he could be his salesman on Capitol Hill--and also a hedge against the ambitions of Bobby Kennedy. He entrusted Sarge with the War on Poverty. Again, it may not mean much today, but the French loved Sarge when he was ambassador to France. He was everywhere, and glamorous, and intellectual, and all the things the French admire.

In his late-starting 1972 race for the vice presidency, the cause was hopeless. But Mickey Kantor, Mark Shields, Jeanie Mains, Doris Kearns, and a host of talented volunteers poured out to join him. McGovern assigned us the task of winning back the Catholic ethnic vote that Nixon had so knowingly cut into in 1968. We saw a lot of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Youngstown, Cleveland, Toledo, Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, occasionally St. Louis, and then around and back again. Toward the end, when the crowds were huge and enthusiastic, we began to feel--unbelievable as it now seems--that the press must be wrong, and the campaign might have a chance of winning. What the crowds were actually saying is that they weren't going to vote for us, but we shouldn't take it personally, because they really did like Shriver.

At a factory gate, on one occasion, I watched one of the advance team hand out flyers in a see-through blouse, a miniskirt, high boots, and a big red "Abortion" button. Turning away from her in disgust, the older workers weren't meeting Shriver's eyes, and I saw two spit on the ground in anger--this in a factory in Joliet, Illinois, from which the Democrats should have gotten, maybe, 114 percent of the vote. It wasn't Sarge's fault. But such experiences of the Democratic party that year, not respecting its own base, were enough to make a neoconservative out of me.

Most people also forget that Sarge ran for president in 1976. Once again, as in 1970 and 1972, Teddy Kennedy and his professionals didn't rally round. Just before the crucial Massachusetts primary, Stossel relates, after he sat down from a rousing St. Patrick's Day talk at a big luncheon in Boston, Teddy Kennedy got a sharp rebuke from Eunice, because not once had Teddy even mentioned Sarge's name or urged the faithful to help him. We knew back in 1970 and 1972 that Teddy and his guys were carping about Sarge's speeches--once Sarge even threw in a mention of Teilhard de Chardin just to torment them a little. Sarge kept doing things his way, and even today, a number of his best lines keep getting picked up, like his 1970 "culture of life, culture of death" speech.

STOSSEL IS MISLED on a related point by Mark Shields's telling of the famous anecdote about Sarge, in a crowded ethnic bar, buying drinks for all the workers and then, at his turn, after all the shouts for various American beers, calling out: "Make mine a Courvoisier." Sarge knew exactly what he was doing. He thought if he ordered a beer, everybody there would know he was a phony. He respected other people for being who they were, and he was damned well not going to pretend to be what he wasn't. He admired the hard work, the family life, the faith, the hopes of these guys. But he didn't think they wanted him to be exactly like them. It wasn't Tip O'Neill's way of campaigning, and Sarge may have had it wrong. But he did it his way, and I liked him the more for it.

Even here Stossel, to his credit, gets to the essence of Shriver, for he keeps pointing out how much the guys in the bars actually liked Sarge. Stossel isn't so good on why the same guys weren't so sure about the national Democrats any longer--not after McGovern said he would apologize to the North Vietnamese. And not when they listened to Shirley MacLaine going on and on (and there seemed to be ever more radical voices in the national campaign, and fewer and fewer familiar local pols and party "bosses"). The new guys had forgotten that one radical's "party boss" was some regular's source of patronage and garbage service.

After 1976, Shriver turned his attention back to charities and public life, including (in his law work) all sorts of activities to link civil society in Russia to the outside world. (Once, his young son, whom he took on a trip to Russia, chased a ball down the hall, opened a door, and found Russian agents inside minding tapes that were picking up everything the Shrivers did.)

Sarge also kept up his support for all the institutions he had helped get started--and, if you think about it, there are still standing, and sometimes thriving, forty years later a number of truly beloved institutions Sarge Shriver helped to found--not only the Special Olympics, but also the Peace Corps, Upward Bound, Head Start, the less successful Jobs Corps, and not a few initiatives of the much-mocked War on Poverty.

It is astonishing how many of these programs anticipated later writings on civil society. Many were designed to raise flying buttresses outside of government, involving "mediating structures" (most notably, the urban churches and big business and the world of celebrities) and civil society. Much that Shriver had a hand in creating contained significant elements of "compassionate conservatism." A lot of big government liberalism, too--but with an arresting number of conservative elements.

In Sarge, Stossel describes the conversation in which many of Shriver's friendsadvised Sarge not to reveal the early signs of Alzheimer's (which set in three years ago), and Shriver replied, "Reagan had a much worse affliction than I did. Hard-core conservatism. Whatever I've got now, I never suffered from that." I cannot believe Shriver would mean any comment like that cruelly, but it is, in fact, how he often thought of conservatives. Sarge could understand liberal Republicans; many of his Yalie friends were such--he could see the tony similarity that certain Republicans and certain Democrats share in good spirits, which leads them to believe that they are not ideological. But people like Reagan seemed to them beyond the pale.

Yet for Shriver, this was not entirely a matter of social class. His ancestors helped found the Maryland Democratic party, and though he would never confuse politics with religion, his politics were quite equally a thing of faith. Those outside that faith seemed to him afflicted. Sarge would experience them as strangers, odd fish, and would feel sad for them. In a political campaign, he would lambaste them with zest. One on one, he would try to charm them, and do his best to try to understand them, as if they were another species.

I used to wonder, over many years, what would happen if Sarge ever came to see the flaws in the Democratic party's way of construing taxes, poverty, crime, welfare, and abortion, and so became a conservative. There were many aspects about his life that could have led him in this direction. His business experience prevented him from being a full-blown leftist on economic policy.

On abortion, he and Eunice were always flat out of accord with their party--but not ready to break from it or even to insist on their voices being heard. I always expected Sarge to have more sympathy than he ever actually showed with those former liberals who had been mugged by reality and become neoconservatives. I even thought, sometimes, that he might join us. But, the truth is, he really was a Democrat, a party man, all the way down. His loyalty was one of the reasons he was a great man--and also one of the reasons he was never as great in politics as he should have been.

Michael Novak is George Frederick Jewett Scholar in Religion, Philosophy, and Public Policy at the American Enterprise Institute.

Published in The Weekly Standard on May 24, 2004, Vol. 9, No. 35