Michael Novak: Socialists Need a Culprit

[04.09.2007, Ján Záborský and Martin Jaroš, NEWS]

Read an extract from an interview with Michael Novak, American philosopher, who was a guest speaker at the CEQLS Summer lecture held by the Conservative Institute in Bratislava on June 28, 2007.

Q: If an individual becomes attracted to socialist ideas or a foster state is this a sign of immaturity or moral decline?

A: For strong healthy individuals it certainly is. But there are handicapped people. Children that have no chance to grow up as independent beings. Old people who have no-one to look after them. And such people, no doubt, need help. And it is natural that all capitalist countries tend to help these people.

Q: As it seems socialists tend to build a kind of ecclesiastical state. The state knows, the state sees, the state will help…

A: I fully agree. Especially in the case of national socialism and communism that show strong pseudo-religious features. But we can perceive the same features even in a social democracy that is not based on either Nazism or communism. The state is perceived as a kind of a mother that will take care of everybody. And if there is poverty, a villain that is responsible has to be found. A victim needs a culprit. And that is when corporations and managers are blamed. And that is sick. Who is creating new jobs? Who is developing new technologies that could make our lives better in the future?

Extract from an interview published in the Slovakia`s leading economic weekly TREND.

Michael NovakMichael Novak is a George Frederick Jewett Scholar in Religion, Philosophy, and Public Policy at the American Enterprise Institute. Novak researches the three systems of the free society - the free polity, the free economy, and the culture of liberty - and their springs in religion and philosophy. Twice the U.S. ambassador to the UN Human Rights Commission, and once to the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. He directs AEI's social and political studies and is the author of twenty-five influential books, translated into all major languages.

CEQLS Lecture: Michael Novak: Economics, Ethics and the Crisis of the Welfare State is available here.