Our project honors Michael Novak and the enduring principles/themes drawn from The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, released 40 years ago:
1.Intellectual humility: willingness to learn from others and other disciplines
2.Realism: analyzing institutions by their effects rather than their intentions
3.Integrated approach to human flourishing: making room for the needs of the human spirit, not only the material dimension
4.Respect and support for mediating institutions where life is lived and communitarian virtues developed
5.Rules-based democracy in politics and the marketplace
At the center of his work is the big question: What conditions and institutions are necessary for a community that promotes human flourishing in all its dimensions, including for the marginalized poor who may currently be excluded? We believe this is the core question confronting society. It is fundamental because when we have included the weakest and marginalized, we will have helped everyone. It is essential because beyond material needs, there are needs of the human spirit required for a person to thrive. This question is at the heart of fundamental debates today and helps frame these debates so that civil discussion and a common search for the good are possible.
We have planned a series of activities that will lead to four outputs:
• 40th Anniversary Celebration of The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism Conference
• Röpke-Wojtyla Fellowship & Novak Reading Group
• Novak High School Entrepreneurs in Leadership Program
• Business Owner Lunch & Learns
By re-engaging his thought through these activities—targeting leaders in society and business, small business owners and entrepreneurs, college students and academics, and high school students who will run our future society—we aim to point the way to more just and peaceful communities, and help calm the debates roiling society in favor of a more realistic, less ideological, more humane approach to solving current problems.