- Part 1: On the Need for Morality to Safeguard Freedom
- Part 2: The Clash of Civilizations
- Part 3: On Europe's Lost Desire for Freedom
- Theology of the Corporation: A Conversation with Michael Novak InsideCatholic.com - Originally published in Crisis November 1997.
- Who Are the Neoconservatives? An Interview with Michael Novak Crisis April 12, 2007.
- A Novel Side of Michael Novak; St. Nicola's Many Faces. Zenit. June 9, 2005.
- Bush Bids for Greatness, an interview with the Slovakian Tyzden. January 21, 2005.
- The Universal Hunger for Liberty: Why the Clash of Civilizations Is Not Inevitable. Online discussion with Joanne Myers, Director of Merrill House Programs, and Q&A with readers. Sponsored by the Carnegie Council.
- On "The Amerian Experiment" with Peter and Helen Evans. August 4, 2003.
- Michael Novak's Recipe for a Civilization of Love. Zenit.org. July 17, 2003.
- Interview with Kathryn Jean Lopez. March 17, 2000.
- Is Business a Calling?. Interview with Ben Wattenberg. PBS Thinktank. May 30, 1999.
- The Free Market & Public Morality. Religion & Liberty. The Acton Institute. May-June 1994.
- Will It Liberate?. Religion & Liberty. The Acton Institute. January-February 1991.
- List of Major Works by Michael Novak [.pdf format]
- Extended Summaries of Novak's Writing [.pdf format]
No One Sees God: The Dark Night of Atheists and Unbelievers
Surveying the contemporary religious landscape, the division between atheist and believer seems stark. However, having long struggled to understand the purpose of life and the meaning of suffering, Michael Novak finds the reality of spiritual life far different from the rhetorical war presented by bestselling atheists and the defenders of the faith who oppose them.
In No One Sees God, Novak brilliantly recasts the tired debate pitting faith against reason. Both the atheist and the believer experience the same “dark night” in which God’s presence seems absent, he argues, and the conflict between faith and doubt stems not from objective differences, but from divergent attitudes toward the unknown. Drawing from his lifelong passion for philosophy and his personal struggles with belief, he shows that, far from being irrational, the spiritual perspective actually provides the most satisfying answers to the eternal questions of meaning. Faith is a challenge at times, but it nonetheless offers the only fully coherent response to the human experience.
Ultimately, No One Sees God offers believers and unbelievers the opportunity to find common ground by acknowledging the complicated reality of the human struggle with doubt. Novak provides a stirring defense of the Christian worldview, while sidestepping the shrill tone that so often characterizes the discussion of faith, and given the challenges faced in the present age, all who value liberty will find hope in his new way of conversing.
Though historians have frequently identified George Washington as a deist rather than a Christian, the Novaks vigorously dispute this characterization. Through careful scrutiny of Washington's religious pronouncements, they establish that the master of Mount Vernon worshipped the God of scripture, not the absentee clockmaker of deism. Like other Christians of his time, Washington recognized the Deity as a living--albeit often inscrutable--influence in his personal life and in the fortunes of his country. Readers even revisit specific events (such as the improbable retreat from New York under cover of a life-saving fog) in which Washington detected the hand of the Almighty. To be sure, the Novaks acknowledge that Washington generally kept his Christian convictions private, but the language and conduct of this Anglican vestryman reflect marks of real devotion, not the mere shell of social conformity. Perhaps more important, we recognize the substance of religious faith informing a military career during which Washington insisted that soldiers attend the sermons of their Christian chaplains and a political career during which he repeatedly summoned the nation to prayers of reverent thanksgiving. Much-needed light on an enigmatic icon. Bryce Christensen (American Library Association)
The Universal Hunger For Liberty: Why the Clash of Civilizations Is Not Inevitable
Starting with 9/11 and continuing with the struggle for peace in Iraq, the West has been forced to interact more fully with the civilization of Islam. In The Universal Hunger for Liberty, statesman and award-winning author Michael Novak sets forth a new model for facing this challenge-and for healing a still violently fractured world. In place of ongoing conflict, he offers a surprisingly optimistic vision of how the concept of fundamental human liberty-shared by the Islamic and Judeo-Christian traditions-can heal our cultural, economic, and political differences.
On Two Wings: Humble Faith and Common Sense at the American Founding
The U.S. isn't officially Christian, but Novak demonstrates that the men who created it rooted the country conceptually in the Bible. The characterizations of God in the Declaration of Independence derive from the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament), probably deliberately, because all Christian denominations accepted them. Faith in God was ubiquitous among the founders, who regarded religion as necessary to maintain a just and equitable society. Only a moral (because religious) society would foster responsible citizens; pursuing freedom without religion, individuals would create a chaos of competing self-interests. Finally, the founders' conception of rights derived more from Acquinas than from Enlightenment philosophers. Quoting so often from the founders and their influences that this is practically a documentary history, Novak is compelling on those major propositions and others. He concludes by answering 10 common questions about religion and the founders, and he appends comments on some lesser-known important founders and the Revolution's great fellow traveler, Thomas Paine, who believed in God despite disapproving all the religions he knew. Hard but invaluably informative reading. Ray Olson (American Library Association)
Three in One: Essays on Democratic Capitalism
Throughout his many writings, Michael Novak, one of the leading Catholic social theorists of our times, has urged us to adopt a tripartite system of democratic capitalism including a market economy, a democratic polity, and a moral-cultural system that would nourish the values and virtues on which free societies depend. "Three in One" introduces the reader to Novak's portrait of democratic capitalism.
On Cultivating Liberty: Reflections on Moral Ecology
On Cultivating Liberty brings together Novak's essays on "moral ecology": the ethos that must be cultivated and preserved if liberal democratic societies are to survive. Novak argues in defense of a free and virtuous society by examing the family, welfare reform, free markets, self-government, and the American Founding, and includes a series of remarkable intellectual studies on figures ranging from Jacques Maritain to St. Thomas Aquinas. Along with a biographical essay and an introduction by Brian C. Anderson, On Cultivating Liberty is indispensable for anyone concerned about the future of democracy.
Tell Me Why: A Father Answers His Daughter's Questions about God
This book all started with a fax. As the prolific author of numerous titles (The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism; Business as a Moral Calling; etc.), former politician and theologian Michael Novak is no stranger to answering challenges regarding his faith in relation to the world of politics and philosophy. However, when he receives a lengthy fax from his recent college graduate daughter, Jana, this father's skill in communication is put to the test. Jana Novak, a writer and poet, ponders the deep issues of faith in modern society. She relates questions and concerns to her father through candid, sincere requests for evidence in helping determine what part God and religion will play in her life. The book, written in a Q&A format, allows both Novaks to bring forth fresh insights and beg the reader to consider the difficulties of living out one's faith in a cynical, amoral society. Jana poses her faxed questions by focusing first on the foundations of religion in general. Why, she asks, "Does religion matter?" "Why so many different religions?" "What is God like?" Michael Novak's second series of responses stresses the particulars of religious experience. Jana wonders, "Why is our family Catholic?" "Must I take the Bible literally?" Finally, Jana considers the practicalities of faith. "What is Christian sexual love?" "What about abortion?" and "Do I need to be a Mother Theresa?" Interspersed throughout this dialogue between father and daughter are the writings of C.S. Lewis and other Christian writers who address the struggle between faith and doubt. Although Jana's questions about life, faith and God are often difficult to answer in simple statements, Michael Novak does an excellent job of creating a "learning atmosphere" for his daughter by providing her with a solid foundation of biblical principles and Catholic traditions to contemplate.
Business As a Calling: Work and the Examined Life
In straightforward language, Novak (Belief and Unbelief) sets out to refute the popular conception that business leaders are materialistic and rapacious, asserting that "business not only creates social connections, lifts its participants out of poverty, and builds the foundation of democracy, but also can and must be morally uplifting." His central conceit is that, like the work of priests and ministers, the labors of businessmen and -women are often animated by a sense of calling. Novak cites a 1990 poll that found that after military officers, "more people in business attended church every week than any other elite." While it remains to be proven that the morals espoused in church or temple can and do hold sway on the battlefields of market competition, Novak's meditations should cause those who believe "enlightened capitalism" to be an oxymoron to think twice. (Publisher's Weekly)
The Fire of Invention: Civil Society and the Future of the Corporation
Unmeltable Ethnics: Politics and Culture in American Life
December 1995 (2nd edition; originally published 1972)
The Catholic Ethic & The Spirit of Capitalism
Novak declares that Max Weber's 1904 classic The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism missed the mark. In place of Weber's ethos of discipline, hard work and acquisition of wealth, the neoconservative thinker, himself a Roman Catholic, outlines "a Catholic (and catholic) ethic" that stresses the creativity, liberty and responsibility of the individual. Arguing that democratic, pluralistic, capitalist societies are the best hope for ending world poverty and ethnic violence, Novak draws on papal social thought from 1891 to the present in reinterpreting social justice as a personal virtue realized by citizens working cooperatively. He faults U.S. government programs for fostering welfare dependency among the poor urban blacks, and he sets forth an arsenal of reforms, from job training and self-governing public housing projects to measures designed to help the poor build assets. This challenging manifesto will stimulate thinkers at all points on the political spectrum.
Will it Liberate?: Questions About Liberation Theology
The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism
This Hemisphere of Liberty
The Guns of Lattimer
Freedom with Justice: Catholic Social Thought and Liberal Institutions
Free Persons and the Common Good
- Michael Novak, Founding Father, by George Weigel. Crisis Magazine July 20, 2011.
- A Tribute to Michael Novak, by Christopher DeMuth (First Things) Remarks given at a dinner in Michael Novak's honor on July 20, 2010.
- "Michael Novak's Portrait of Democratic Capitalism", by Edward W. Younkins. Markets & Morality. Vol. 2, No. 9 Spring 1999.
- The Novak Achievement, by Fr. Richard J. Neuhaus. First Things 36 (October 1993): 60-70.
- Morality, Capitalism and Democracy, by Roger Kerr. New Zealand Business Roundtable. Dec. 7, 1992.
- What "Dark Ages"?. Review of The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success, by Rodney Stark. The New Criterion February 1, 2006.
- In Defense of Globalization. Review of the book by agdish Bhagwati (Oxford University Press, 2004).
- The Last Liberal. Review of Sarge: The Life and Times of Sargent Shriver, by Scott Stossel. Weekly Standard May 24, 2004.
- Is It Bad Culture or Bad Laws That Keep Some Countries Poor?, by Michael Novak. Review of Culture Matters: How Values Shape Human Progress, edited by Lawrence E. Harrison and Samuel P. Huntington. The Weekly Standard. January 15, 2001.
- An Authentic Modernity. Review of The Ethics of Authenticity, by Charles Taylor. (Harvard University Press). First Things 33 (May 1993): 40-42.
- A Smith For All Seasons. Review of Adam Smith in His Time and Ours: Designing the Decent Society, by Jerry Z. Muller. (Free Press). First Things 35 (August/September 1993): 52-55.
- The Secularist Faith. Review of The Wealth & Poverty of Nations, by David S. Landes (Norton). First Things 85 (August/September 1998): 58-61.
- A Good Life. Review of The Life of Thomas More, by Peter Ackroyd. The Weekly Standard. Dec. 28, 1998.
Washington's God shows Washington not only as a man of resource, strength, and virtue, but also as a man with deeply held religious values. This new presentation of Washington-as a man whose religion guided his governance-will bring him into today's debates about the role of faith in government and will challenge everything we thought we knew about the inner life of the father of our country.
- A True Believer, by Diana Furchtgott-Roth. New York Post March 12, 2006.
- Was George Washington a Christian? - "A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma". Review by Al Zambone. Christianity Today: "Books & Culture" April 3, 2006.
- The Founding Believer, by Mark Tooley. The American Spectator May 2, 2006.
- Washington's God: Review & Commentary by Joseph Bottum (First Things "On The Square" February 14, 2006).
- Washington's Faith and the Birth of America, by Michael Novak, Jana Novak. The American Enterprise May 2006.
- The Founding Fathers: Solving modern problems, building wealth and finding God, by David Liss. Washington Post June 11, 2006.
- "The Framers and the Faithful: How modern evangelicals are ignoring their own history", by Steven Waldman. Washington Monthly April 2006.
- Founder's faith, by Shelley Widhalm. Washington Times March 26, 2006.
- The Framers and the Faithful, discussion at Amy Welborn's Open Book March 18, 2006.
- Washington's Sun God: Reviewing a Review, by Michael Novak. Response to The New York Sun March 7, 2006).
- Tom Ashbrook's (WBUR, Boston) interview of Washington's God author Michael Novak and Gordon Wood, professor of history at Brown University Radio interview. Monday, Feb. 20, 2006. Windows or RealAudio format (or Mp3, via Peter ("The American Moderate").
- In Honor of the Father of Our Country - His Excellency, George Washington, Jay Andersen (Pro Ecclesia, Pro Familia, Pro Civitate).
- Divining W.: Inside Washington’s God - National Review interviews Michael and Jana Novak. February 20, 2006.
- On Providence: The Education of George Washington MichaelNovak.Net (1/17/2006)
Encounter Books (August 2001).
The U.S. isn't officially Christian, but Novak demonstrates that the men who created it rooted the country conceptually in the Bible. The characterizations of God in the Declaration of Independence derive from the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament), probably deliberately, because all Christian denominations accepted them. Faith in God was ubiquitous among the founders, who regarded religion as necessary to maintain a just and equitable society. Only a moral (because religious) society would foster responsible citizens; pursuing freedom without religion, individuals would create a chaos of competing self-interests. Finally, the founders' conception of rights derived more from Acquinas than from Enlightenment philosophers. Quoting so often from the founders and their influences that this is practically a documentary history, Novak is compelling on those major propositions and others. He concludes by answering 10 common questions about religion and the founders, and he appends comments on some lesser-known important founders and the Revolution's great fellow traveler, Thomas Paine, who believed in God despite disapproving all the religions he knew. Hard but invaluably informative reading. [Source: Ray Olson, Booklist]
- Meacham Nods, Odd lapses National Review Online. Dec. 14, 2007. [On Newsweek's John Meacham's misreading of John Adams and George Washington on church and state].
- The Faith of the Founding. First Things 132 (April 2003): 27-32.
- A Nation That Believes: America without religion is not America. National Review. Dec. 31, 2001.
- Who Needs God?. American Enterprise Jan, 2001. Adapted from his chapter in the new collection The Collapse of Communism (Hoover Press).
- The Founders and the Torah. The New York Times. Sept. 4, 2000.
- With Liberty & Prayer for All. The New York Times. June 18, 1999.
- Culture in Crisis: Cardinal Ratzinger has diagnosed relativism's evils, and offers an alternative. National Review Online. April 19, 2005.
- Farewell to a Great. National Review Online. April 12, 2005.
- John Paul the Great. National Review April 8, 2005. [Cover story in the April 25, 2005 issue].
- The Embodied Self, First Things 130 (February 2003): 18-21. On Pope John Paul II's meditations on human sexuality presented during his general audiences.
- A Pope and His Critics: What the young people are responding to and the elites don't get, by Michael Novak. National Review Online. July 26, 2002.
- The Pope's Critics, by Michael Novak. National Post July 26, 2002.
- The Two Wings on Which the Human Spirit Rises: The Pope's Defense of Reason. The New York Times. Oct. 16, 1998.
- Capitalism Rightly Understood: The View of Christian Humanism. Faith & Reason, April 1991. On John Paul II's papal encyclical Centesimus Annus.
- The Beginning of Economic Wisdom. National Interest. March 11, 2003.
- Defining Social Justice. First Things 108 (December 2000): 11-13.
- Capitalism and the Human Spirit. The Public Interest April 15, 2000.
- The International Vocation of American Business. Religion & Liberty. The Acton Institute. July-August, 1999.
- God, Man & Money. Catholic Dossier May-June 1999.
- Economics as Humanism. First Things 76 (October 1997): 18-19.
- Capitalism Rightly Understood: The View of Christian Humanism. Faith & Reason, April 1991.
Centesimus Annus: Maintaining the Continuity of Catholic Social Teaching. Response by Stephen M. Krason. Faith & Reason Winter 1991.
- The Closet Socialists. The Christian Century February 16, 1977, p. 171.
- The Truth About Religious Freedom First Things 161 (March 2006): 17-20.
- Human Dignity, Personal Liberty: Themes from Abraham Kuyper and Leo XIII. Journal of Markets & Morality Volume 5, Number 1. Spring 2002.
- How Christianity Created Capitalism. The Wall Street Journal. Dec. 23, 1999.
- Human Dignity, Human Rights. First Things 97 (November 1999): 39-42.
- The Judeo-Christian Foundation of Human Dignity, Personal Liberty, and the Concept of the Person Markets & Morality Vol. 1, No. 2. Fall 1998.
- Aquinas & The Heretics. First Things 58 (December 1995): 33-38.
- The Future of Civil Society. CRISIS Magazine, 14 no. 8. September 1996.