Michael Novak
Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
01:18

Michael Novak on the Millennial Generation

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Professor Novak discusses what may be the most community-minded generation since the Greatest Generation.

Michael Novak

Theologian, author, and former U.S. ambassador, Michael Novak currently holds the George Frederick Jewett Chair in religion and public policy at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., where he is director of social and political studies. Novak received the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion in 1994, and delivered the Templeton address in Westminster Abbey. He has also received the Boyer Award in 1999; with Milton Friedman and Vaclav Klaus, the International Prize by the Institution for World Capitalism; the Anthony Fisher Prize for The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, presented by Margaret Thatcher; the Weber Award for contributions to Catholic social thought in Essen, Germany; the Cézanne Medal from the city of Provence, and the Catholic Culture Medal of Bassano del Grappa in Italy; the highest civilian award from the Slovak Republic in 1996; and in 2000 the Masaryk Medal, presented by Vaclav Havel of the Czech Republic.

Novak was appointed and served as Ambassador of the U.S. Delegation to the U.N. Human Rights Commission in Geneva from 1981–1982; head of the U.S. Delegation to the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (the monitor of the Helsinki Accords) in 1986; with Senate approval, member of the Board for International Broadcasting in 1984; member of the Presidential Task Force on Project Economic Justice in 1985. He has also served the United States during both Democratic and Republican administrations.

Transcript
Novak: You know, I see a greater return to self discipline, a greater return to foresight and a much greater willingness to serve others, to look for opportunities out of American affluence and the affluence they have enjoyed to try to serve the poor and needy elsewhere, and also a recognition that you serve the poor and needy best if you, to use the old cliché “teach them how to fish rather than just giving them a fish.” The great inner energy of capitalism is to make things work and to invent and create new things that didn’t exist before, new businesses that didn’t exist before. And that requires a certain vision and the willingness to take a chance, and I see lots of goodness. Our new technologies encouraged that, don’t they? I mean, all the things, the possibility with communications these days are just amazing. I see in my grandchildren, they’re just fascinated by all the new technologies, all the different media, and they seem to live, surrounded by them. I can’t hardly understand how to make some of them work and they do it just like that.

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