Michael Novak

Michael Novak
Michael Novak
  • Born: September 9, 1933
  • Died: February 17, 2017
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Philosopher; Professor, Ave Maria University









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Michael Novak is an American Catholic philosopher, journalist, novelist, and diplomat. The author of more than twenty-five books on the philosophy and theology of culture, Novak is most widely known for his book The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism (1982). In 1993 Novak was honored with an honorary doctorate degree at Universidad Francisco Marroquín due to his commitment to the idea of liberty. In 1994 he was awarded the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, which included a million-dollar purse awarded at Buckingham Palace. He writes books and articles focused on capitalism, religion, and the politics of democratization.

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A free enterprise system that is not underlaid with values is bankrupt. Business, Commerce & Finance ;Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest ;Capitalism
Benjamin Franklin in London and Thomas Jefferson in Paris searched libraries to find out why previous republics had failed. Envy, it turns out, is the most destructive social passion—more so than hatred, which is at least visible and universally recognized as evil. Envy seldom operates under its own name; it chooses a lovelier name to hide behind, and it works like a deadly invisible gas. In previous republics, it has set class against class, sections of cities against other sections, leading family against leading family. For this reason, the early Americans stood against division (“divided we fall”) and sought ways to neutralize envy. Human Nature
Democratic capitalism is neither the Kingdom of God nor without sin. Yet all other known systems of political economy are worse. Such hope as we have for alleviating poverty and for removing oppressive tyranny – perhaps our last, best hope – lies in this much despised system.
I would not want it to be thought that any system is the Kingdom of God on Earth. Capitalism isn’t. Democracy isn’t. The two combined are not. The best that can be said for them (and it is quite enough) is that, in combination, capitalism, democracy, and pluralism are more protective of the rights, opportunities, and conscience of ordinary citizens (all citizens) than any known alternative. Democracies & Republics ;Capitalism
Religion can thrive only in a personal universe. Religion & God
The family is the human race's natural defense against utopianism. Families, Children & Parenting
The Holy Trinity should be thought of as a Communion of Divine Persons—radiating his presence throughout creation, calling unworthy human beings to be his friends, and infusing into them his love so that they might love with it. Religion & God
Western Humanism does not ask the fundamental questions about the meaning and limits of personal experience. Humsniists leave aside the mysteries of contingency and transitoriness, for the certainties of research, production, consumption. Philosophy
Atheists in our midst are proof that all consciences can be accommodated here, even those that have no ground for holding that conscience is sacred, inalienable, and prior to civil society. Society
Christians must be Jews. The truth of what we believe depends on the truth of Judaism, depends on the first covenant. Truth
Even rock stars are entitled to privacy.
If you've ever been in a position in your life where you just can't take any more, you just have to get through the next second, and the next second after that. Life
In God's eyes, there's not before and after. Every moment of time is simultaneous to God. Time ;Religion & God
In most of history, societies have not been free. It's a very rare society that is free. The default condition of human societies is tyranny. Society ;History
Individual freedom is a Jewish idea, but it's one of the functions of Christianity to make this idea universal. Freedom & Liberty
Jews do not have to be Christians. Christianity is an offshoot of Judaism, but too utopian, too hopeful, too unrealistic a turn.
Love is not a feeling of happiness. Love is a willingness to sacrifice. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Happiness & Unhappiness
Not all of those who cry 'The poor, the poor!' will enter the kingdom of heaven.
Our Founders always wondered about how long it would last. The price of liberty is everlasting vigilance. You've got to be on your guard every minute or you will lose it.
Our political institutions work remarkably well. They are designed to clang against each other. The noise is democracy at work. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Practically every movie that shows the pope or even a bishop as a character, and in much of western literature of the last 300 or 400 years, these are portrayed as awful figures.
The Lord God, the creator of Judaism and the God of Judaism and Christianity, empowered our minds and gave us the ability to question. Religion & God
The universe moves in the direction of Liberty.
To know oneself is to disbelieve utopia.
We really feel happier when things look bleak. Hope is endurance. Hope is holding on and going on and trusting in the Lord. Hope
You're a sovereign as a citizen. If you're not involved in your government, you're not doing your job. In the long run that's very bad for the Republic. Government