The Universal Hunger for Liberty: Why the Clash of Civilizations Is Not Inevitable

By McCoy, Bowen H. "Buzz" | Real Estate Issues, Winter 2004 | Go to article overview

The Universal Hunger for Liberty: Why the Clash of Civilizations Is Not Inevitable


McCoy, Bowen H. "Buzz", Real Estate Issues


RECOMMENDED READING The Universal Hunger for Liberty: Why the Clash of Civilizations Is Not Inevitable by Michael Novak (2004, 281 pages)

This is an essentially hopeful book, from both an intellectual and a spiritual point of view, at a time when we need one. It counter-balances such works as Samuel Huntington's The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order and Francis Fukuyama's The End of History and the Last Man. It should be particularly useful to those CREs who are planning to attend the High Level conference in 2006, "Clash of Cultures: Understanding Life in the Global Village."

Michael Novak currently holds the George Frederick Jewett Chair in Religion, Philosophy and Public Policy at the American Enterprise Institute. He won the prestigious Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion in 1994, and he has received 23 honorary degrees in the U.S. or abroad. He has written 25 books, including The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism. He has served as Ambassador to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and as head of the U.S. Delegation to the Conference on security Cooperation in Europe, under both Democrat and Republican leaders. Political leaders from Margaret Thatcher to Vaclav Havel have recognized him for contributions to our further understanding of current religious, economic and political thought.

His thesis in the current volume is that the racial and religious differences that divide our world into clashing cultures are less important than the primary hunger for personal dignity, and for the personal liberty from which that dignity springs. He applies this cultural inclusiveness in particular to the Islam world.

He states that secularization no longer works and that a truly universal civilization will have to respect the world's great religions. According to the secularization thesis, advanced societies become ever less religious, ever more this-worldly, ever less in need of God. Yet religious fervor and ethnicity seem to be enjoying a vigorous revival. Secularism offers no answer to moral relativism. Novak goes on to state that, seeming to be non-judgmental, secularism applies no break to cultural and moral decline and offers little potential for cultural reawakening, conversion and renewal. Further, secularization has pitifully little to say about the most important things, such as death, suffering, weakness, and moral failure. It says even less about nobility of soul, the love of God, the nothingness and darkness in which God is found, the universal phenomenon of prayer, or any widespread sense of an inner human unity.

The Islamic question is at the center of the book. Can Islam come to terms with democracy? Novak answers with guarded optimism, rejecting the secularist models of Turkey and Egypt. He states that in not a few Islamic lands, during the past century, in the name of secularization, religion has also been brutally suppressed. This enforced secularism did much to turn devout Muslims away from the secular Arab state and to inspire political radicals to cling to religious Islam, which they then twisted to their own political purposes.

There are intellectual resources contained within Islam that may lead to a Muslim defense of several ideas crucial to democracy. These include the dignity of the individual, consultative government attuned to the common good, religious liberty and the fundamental equality of all human beings before God.

Bernard Lewis, the noted Islamic scholar whom Novak quotes, points to several elements in Islamic law and tradition that could assist the development of a form of democracy. Among these are five in particular: Islamic tradition strongly disapproves of arbitrary rule. There is need for continuing consent. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Universal Hunger for Liberty: Why the Clash of Civilizations Is Not Inevitable
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.