Capitalism, the Legacy of Michael Novak, and the Opportunity for a More United Front

While the classical liberals want to maintain our Christian heritage through free markets, autonomy, and democracy and the populists want to maintain our Christian heritage through anti-globalization efforts rooted in social cohesion and social order; both sides aren’t so irreconcilably different that they cannot work together to save America.

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Alexis de Tocqueville and Michael Novak at the Heritage Foundation

Aspirations to socialism and social democracy appear to be gaining traction in much of America, especially among young Americans. People are often fuzzy about what they mean by terms like “socialism.” Sometimes it seems to be a type of aspirational outlook. On other occasions, it involves specific policy-proposals. In yet other instances, it’s some combination of both. The effect is often to make socialism a harder target to critique.

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Catholic All the Way: Michael Novak’s Legacy

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.

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Students 'Hack' Social Justice Issues

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.

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What on earth is a ‘social justice hackathon’?

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.

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Venezuela’s Agony, the Catholic Church, and a Post-Maduro Future

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.

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Bill Crawford: Constructive conservatism needed to thwart rise of socialism

What would Adam Smith, the father of modern capitalism, think of capitalism in America today?

You see, it was Smith’s notion that despite natural greed, individuals in a free, capitalistic society would be led by “reason, principle, conscience” to act morally and compassionately. Capitalism would be the economic mechanism by which wage earners and the middle class would accumulate wealth. While certainly true historically in the United States, and much of the free world, that no longer seems to be the case here, especially since the Great Recession.

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1984’s Lay Letter on the Economy May Be More Relevant Now

Invoking the moral authority derivative of their vocation, prominent Roman Catholic clerics and their emboldened allies are getting a lot of attention for criticizing the capitalist economic system, sometimes quite pointedly. In particular, they are harshly critiquing capitalism in seemingly failing to deliver for the most materially needy among us, as well for the negative effects spiritually for both the needy and those who materially benefit from it. Those lay faithful and their allies who disagree—and would normally be inclined to introduce the many positive aspects of free-market economics into public discourse—feel as if they are on quite the defensive.

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Michael Novak’s ‘Rise of the Unmeltable Ethnics’ in the Trump Era

On March 17, 2016, National Review published an open letter titled “An Appeal to Our Fellow Catholics,”urging Catholics to take a stand against the immensely popular Republican candidate whose upcoming nomination, the letter affirmed, risked destroying the conservative, prolife, and civil center of the Republican Party. Princeton law professor Robert P. George and Catholic journalist George Weigel affixed their name to the bottom of the piece; in addition, Professor George and Weigel’s John Hancock were joined by a veritable “Who’s Who” of Catholics who had traditionally identified as “neo” or moderate social conservatives. One name that was conspicuously absent from the list of signatories was Michael Novak, a man who was, in many ways, the grandfather of Catholic neoconservatism and who had stood shoulder to shoulder with the other four principal Catholic neocons or “theocons,” which included Weigel and Professor George as well as the late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus.

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