“Never Envy The Rich”: What Michael Novak Can Teach Thomas Piketty About Income Equality


by Jerry Bowyer

Continuing my interview with the great philosopher Michael Novak about his book, Writing From Left to Right, Novak talks about the working class commonsense he learned from his family growing up as a Democrat in Johnstown and McKeesport. He captures an attitude about coercive income equality programs which has almost completely been lost in the Democratic coalition. The transcript is below.

Jerry: “Is that maybe one of the ways in which that old union democrat base of the party inadvertently invited in the new left: the resentment against management? I remember a lot of that. That’s still around, [and]that still dominates the world that I live in of Western Pennsylvania: resentment against the wealthy, a kind of a class reverse-snobbery. I mean, it seems to me socialism could have invaded the Republican Party or the Democratic Party but those union democrats, in my opinion at least, kind of left the door open a little bit. Maybe they didn’t like when the socialist intellectuals shoved their way in, but to some degree those union democrats gave them an opportunity (in my opinion, [but]I’d like to hear yours) by having such negative views towards management, [and]such negative views towards capital in general and towards people who were wealthier than they were.”

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