The Public Interest

Defending Democratic Capitalism

William Kristol

Summer 1982

IN good faith,” asks Michael Novak, “who can be, by conviction and by a willingness to commit ones life to its defense, a democratic capitalist?” Given the comparative success of democratic capitalist regimes and the evident bankruptcy of the major alternatives, our difficulty in believing wholeheartedly in the worth of our own way of life is striking. Somehow, as Novak comments, “democratic capitalism seems to have lost its spirit”-or perhaps it never found it in the first place, since “the Achilles heel of democratic capitalism is that for two centuries now it has appealed so little to the human spirit.” In this ambitious book, Michael Novak seeks to supply what: has been lacking, and to defend democratic capitalism by showing it can (and does) justly appeal to the human spirit.

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