Will it Liberate?
Questions about Liberation Theology
Автор(и) : Michael Novak
Издател : Madison Books
Място на издаване : Maryland, USA
Година на издаване : 1991
ISBN : 0-8191-8060-2
Брой страници : 311
Език : английски
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Michael Novak’s Will It Liberate? is a volume all men and women committed to liberty should purchase and read. The work’s subtitle—Liberation Theology and The Liberal Society—might deter potential readers for whom theology holds little appeal, but such a reaction would be sadly shortsighted, it would deprive them of an invaluable resource in the ongoing struggle for a free market economy in a free society. Novak in this work addresses what, in both secular and religious circles, is perhaps the most strident contemporary criticism of economic and individual liberty.
The phrase “trickle-down economics” refers to a caricature of free market economics. The phrase “trickle-down mythology,” however, accurately describes a familiar and important phenomenon. Ideas conceived in academic heights “trickle-down” to more earthy levels, taking simplified form in slogans scrawled upon walls and in allegedly self-evident troths assumed by journalists, television and radio commentators, and indeed by “ordinary” people.
Will It Liberate? is not without its flaws. While Novak displays in this volume a greater appreciation of classical liberalism and Austrian economics than was the case in either The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism or Freedom With Justice, he quotes with approval PopeJohn Paul II’s condemnation of “unfettered capitalism.” He advocates sufficient intervention to establish a modest, welfarist “safety net” yet, although drawing on the insights of Ludwig von Mises and Israel Kirzner, does not consider the economic case against such intervention. More significantly, he does not note the moral considerations which lead many classical liberals to oppose any form of coerced wealth or income transfers.
Similarly, Novak carefully and correctly distinguishes a free market economy—in his terminology, a “democratic capitalist economy”—from many states popularly described as “capitalist,” such as Mexico. Yet he later seemingly ignores that distinction when discussing a case of impropriety by a major company, and justifying governmental regulation of the market by reference to that case (pages 61-62). If the facts are as Novak describes them, the company in question conspired with the means of coercion to get what it wanted the easy way—by short- circuiting the market process.
It would be singularly unfortunate, however, if what many of us would regard as lapses from a principled classical liberalism led us to ignore Novak’s volume. Novak has become a leading critic of socialist thought, meeting with and challenging quasi-Marxian theologians in Latin America and soft-socialist bishops in North America. He is imaginatively forging links between traditional Catholic social ethics and the classical liberal vision. He has provided students of liberty with valuable data which falsities significant claims of both the secular and religious Left, and brings to his exploration of the classical liberal tradition an enthusiasm which proves infectious.
Michael Novak (born 9 September, 1933) 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 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 led the U.S. delegation to the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe in 1986.