Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Michael Novak

Michael Novak - American Catholic Philosopher, Journalist, Novelist, and Diplomat

Michael Novak (born September 9, 1933) is an American Catholic philosopher, journalist, novelist, and diplomat. The author of almost 25 books on the philosophy and theology of culture, Novak is most widely known for his book The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism (1982). 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.

Novak served as U.S. chief ambassador to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in 1981 and as the ambassador to the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. Additionally, Novak served on the board of directors of the now-defunct Coalition for a Democratic Majority, a kind of faction in the Democratic Party, which sought to influence Democratic Party policies in the same direction that the Committee on the Present Danger later did. Novak is currently George Frederick Jewett Scholar in Religion, Philosophy, and Public Policy at the American Enterprise Institute. On December 12th, 2007 he declared his support for the presidential candidacy of Mitt Romney.

Early life and education

Novak was born in 1933 in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. He earned an M.A. in history and philosophy of religion from Harvard University in 1966, a Sacrae Theologiae Baccalaureus (a degree in theology), from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome in 1958, and a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and English (Summa Cum Laude) from Stonehill College in 1956.

Novak attended Harvard University to study philosophy and religion, hoping to obtain a doctorate in philosophy of religion. Novak stated that he thought the philosophy department was too focused on analytic philosophy, neglecting religious philosophy[citation needed]. He did not receive his doctorate and he started work as a writer.

Early writings

Second Vatican Council

Novak worked as a correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter during the second session of the Second Vatican Council in Rome, where he also got the opportunity to fulfill a book contract for a fellow reporter who was not able to complete the project. The result was Novak's second book, The Open Church, a journalistic account of the events of the second session of the Council.

Early books

Michael Novak has published two novels: The Tiber Was Silver (1962) and Naked I Leave (1970). At the time, he considered the modest $600 advance to be "a fortune" [1]

Stanford years

Novak's friendship with the Presbyterian theologian Robert McAfee Brown during the Second Vatican Council led to a teaching post at Stanford University, where he became the first Roman Catholic to teach in the Humanities program. Novak taught at Stanford University from 1965 to 1968, during the key years of student revolt throughout California. During this period, he wrote A Time to Build (1967), discussing problems of belief and unbelief, ecumenism, sexuality, and war. In A Theology for Radical Politics (1969), Novak makes theological arguments in support of the New Left student movement, which he states advanced the renewal of the human spirit rather than just reforming social institutions. His book Politics: Realism and Imagination includes accounts of visiting American Vietnam War deserters in France ("Desertion"), the birth and development of the student movement at Stanford ("Green Shoots of Counter-Culture") and philosophical essays on nihilism and Marxism.

SUNY Old Westbury

Novak left Stanford for a post as dean of a new "experimental" school at the newly-founded State University of New York at Old Westbury, Long Island.

Novak's writings during this period included the philosophical essay The Experience of Nothingness (1970, republished in 1998), in which he cautioned the New Left that utopianism could lead to alienation and rootlessness. Novak's novel Naked I Leave (1970) chronicles his experiences in California and in the Second Vatican Council and his journal from seminarian to reporter.

His later teaching and writing career

After serving at Old Westbury/SUNY from 1968 to 1973, Novak launched the humanities program at the Rockefeller Foundation in 1973-1974. In 1976, he accepted a tenured position at Syracuse University as University Professor and Ledden-Watson Distinguished Professor of Religion. In the fall semesters of 1987 and 1988, Novak held the W. Harold and Martha Welch chair as Professor of American Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

In the spring of 1978, Novak joined the American Enterprise Institute for Social Policy Research as a Resident Scholar, a position he still holds at the present time.

Novak is a frequent contributor to magazines and journals including First Things and National Review. He is a member of the Catholic Advisory Board for the Ave Maria Mutual Funds. Novak is also a board member of the Capital Research Center and the Center of the American Experiment.


* Novak believes that Utopian beliefs can lead to the weakening of social bonds. He wrote that "the family is the human race's natural defense against utopianism." (The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism)

* He states that religion can 'thrive only in a personal universe' and not universities or companies, and that Western Humanism, which he states is the leading belief system of most of academia, does not ask "the fundamental questions about the meaning and limits of personal experience" and that "they leave aside the mysteries of contingency and transitoriness, for the certainties of research, production, consumption." ("God in the Colleges," A New Generation: American and Catholic (1964))

* Novak states that the Holy Trinity and God are often thought of in abstract and impersonal terms in philosophy, and that they 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." (From “The Love That Moves the Sun,” in A Free Society Reader)


Pope with Tertio Millennio Institute alumni


honorary doctorate, St. Louis University [Jesuit]


Michael Novak with Cardinal Caccai Villan and Pope John Paul II.


In a crop of corporate dramas, Knights of Malta are everywhere
Well-known columnists Michael Novak and William F. Buckley Jr. are knights.


Michael Novak

http://www.smom.org/files/annual-report-2005.pdf (Listed under 'patrons', page 18) (Proof Positive)
Social Network Diagram:

Nicaragua 1985

* American Enterprise Institute. Scholar Directory. 1991-06
* Blumenthal,S. Rise of the Counter-Establishment. 1988 (10, 194)
* Brownstein,R. Easton,N. Reagan's Ruling Class. 1983 (533)
* Council on Foreign Relations. Membership Roster. 1995
* Covert Action Information Bulletin 1982-#16 (28)
* Covert Action Information Bulletin 1985-#24 (35)
* Diamond,S. Spiritual Warfare. 1989 (150)
* Executive Intelligence Review 1999-04-23 (49)
* Furgurson,E. Hard Right: The Rise of Jesse Helms. 1986 (220)
* Herman,E. Brodhead,F. Rise and Fall of Bulgarian Connection. 1986 (176)
* Lernoux,P. People of God. 1989 (176-7, 200-1)
* Lind,M. Up From Conservatism. 1997 (56, 69, 72-3, 140-2, 251-2)
* National Reporter 1986-SU (25)
* New Federalist 1994-04-11 (12)
* New York Times 2004-05-22 (A12)
* PRODEMCA. National Council Member. 1986
* Resource Center. AIFLD in Central America. 1986 (57, 59, 61, 72)
* Resource Center. Bulletin 1989-F (5)
* Resource Center. GroupWatch 1989-IRD (1-3)
* Resource Center. GroupWatch 1989-LID (1, 4)
* Resource Center. GroupWatch 1991-AEI (1, 3-4)
* Robinson,W. A Faustian Bargain. 1992 (118)
* Saloma,J. Ominous Politics. 1984 (11)
* Sanders,J. Peddlers of Crisis. 1983 (287)
* Sklar,H. Washington's War on Nicaragua. 1988 (241)
* Smith,J. The Idea Brokers. 1993 (180, 272)
* Snyder,A. Warriors of Disinformation. 1995 (7)
* Washington Post 1983-03-19 (B6)
* Washington Times 1986-04-14 (1B, 3)
* Washington Times 1986-06-27 (2A)
* Wilcox,D.A... The Right Guide. 1993 (45)

pages cited this search: 53


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