Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Sir Roger Scruton 1944-2020

 
Sir Roger Scruton

Philosopher, scholar, academic, and perhaps the most articulate conservative of our time, Sir Roger Scruton died this morning, a victim of cancer.

Conservatism, he held, means, above all, protecting what we hold dear—it means conserving. This view made Scruton a champion of freedom (during the Cold War, he smuggled books into Eastern Europe, assisting the Czech freedom movement in particular). It also made him a champion of beauty (read his work on the glories of European architecture), tradition (although never a believer, he admired the Church of England’s music and liturgy), and a patriot of a the most impressive kind (a proponent of Brexit, he devoted much of his final years to explaining, calmly, that centuries of development had given Britain a distinctive character, including a distinctive form of self-government, that was well worth withdrawing from the European Union to preserve).

Herewith my interview with Sir Roger of not quite three years ago.

Farewell to a sane, amusing, brave, and humane man—he represented a living definition of “valor.” Sir Roger Scruton, requiescat in pace.

 

 

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  1. Man With the Axe Member

    Also the victim of a progressive smear campaign that probably took a lot out of him. 

    • #1
    • January 12, 2020, at 10:46 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  2. Brian Watt Member
    Brian WattJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    So very sad. An amazing, good and courageous man and a voice of reason amidst all the insanity especially the insanity in the UK. May he rest in peace and may others continue his work.

    • #2
    • January 12, 2020, at 10:49 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  3. Architectus Coolidge

    Sir Roger Scruton was a worldwide treasure, and will be greatly missed… 

    • #3
    • January 12, 2020, at 10:49 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  4. Adriana Harris Member

    Deepest condolences to his family and friends, including you Peter. I understand you and he had a warm friendship. A great intellect and splendid person is gone.

    • #4
    • January 12, 2020, at 10:53 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  5. Brian Watt Member
    Brian WattJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Here’s a long discussion with Sir Roger and Jordan Peterson at Cambridge University on “Apprehending the Transcendent”. Refreshing to hear two brilliant minds discuss what’s beautiful and good about western civilization.

    • #5
    • January 12, 2020, at 10:54 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  6. Henry Racette Contributor

    RIP

    Very sad news.

    • #6
    • January 12, 2020, at 11:01 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  7. Kephalithos Member

    Today, the world is a little darker.

    For me, and for young conservatives of a certain stripe, Roger Scruton is an indispensable figure — a lone voice of wisdom amid the crazed cacophony of postmodernity; a rare defender of life’s permanent things; and a man of uncommon learning, grace, and wit. He was a friend to the dissidents of Czechoslovakia and Poland . . . and an inspiration to us dissidents trapped in the academy. And now, he’s gone.

    • #7
    • January 12, 2020, at 11:32 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  8. James Gawron Thatcher
    James GawronJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Peter,

    A great loss to us all.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #8
    • January 12, 2020, at 11:38 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  9. Kevin Schulte Member

    Tragic news. I loved this man from afar.

    There is now another void in the force of freedom loving people.

    • #9
    • January 12, 2020, at 11:45 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  10. Annegeles Reagan
    AnnegelesJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    A fine man. May his words continue to inspire many generations to come. RIP

    • #10
    • January 12, 2020, at 11:53 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  11. drlorentz Member
    drlorentzJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Several years ago, I attended a chamber music concert at the studio of a local artist. The program notes sounded very Scrutonesque to me so I asked the artist if he was familiar with Scruton’s writings. He replied that not only was he familiar with Roger Scruton but that Scruton had sat for a portrait on a recent visit to the area.

    Sir Roger’s influence is to be found in the most unlikely of places. He will be missed. 

    • #11
    • January 12, 2020, at 11:57 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  12. Samuel Block Support

    What unfortunate news! To lose such a courageous man in such cowardly times. He managed to do this with dignity and grace. True gentlemen are a dying breed, it’s always so sad to see one go.

    • #12
    • January 12, 2020, at 12:34 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  13. Mike Rapkoch Moderator

    I discovered Scruton about ten years ago and have read many of his books. He was a truly learned man with a great sense of irony and humor. He will be missed in our insane era.

    • #13
    • January 12, 2020, at 1:15 PM PST
    • 1 like
  14. Snirtler Inactive

    Man With the Axe (View Comment):

    Also the victim of a progressive smear campaign that probably took a lot out of him.

    And yet he was able to express gratitude.

    How fitting that he should have written a diary of his final year. It’s here in the The Spectator UK.

    • #14
    • January 12, 2020, at 1:58 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  15. Manny Member

    Oh no! That is a loss for conservatism. Grant eternal rest onto him, Lord, and may perpetual light shine on his soul. I’m sorry to hear of this.

    • #15
    • January 12, 2020, at 2:33 PM PST
    • 1 like
  16. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul StinchfieldJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Peter Robinson: Herewith my interview with Sir Roger of not quite three years ago.

    Thank you. Your long form interviews are an invaluable service, as exemplified by this one.

    • #16
    • January 12, 2020, at 4:53 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  17. Henry Castaigne Member

    He was a great guy and a great speaker. 

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uu5T3sWAg0w

    • #17
    • January 12, 2020, at 5:45 PM PST
    • 1 like
  18. drlorentz Member
    drlorentzJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Snirtler (View Comment):
    How fitting that he should have written a diary of his final year. It’s here in the The Spectator UK.

    At once a heartbreaking and uplifting read.

    • #18
    • January 12, 2020, at 6:10 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  19. Manny Member

    OK, I watched the entire interview, and it was thoroughly enjoyable. I must commend you Peter. Great interview. Let me say that what struck me was how un-Libertarian Scruton’s conservatism was, how un-conservative Libertarianism actually is, and how much sense it all makes for the conservative movement to filter out the Libertarian appendages that have affixed itself to the body of Conservatism over the years. Roger Scruton is the British version of Russell Kirk.

    • #19
    • January 12, 2020, at 6:18 PM PST
    • 1 like
  20. Bill Nelson Member

    Having read at least 3 different but similar salutes at National Review, I am left with this question:

    Who would be the similar people on the left? Is there anyone in the socialist camp who might be considered a “great thinker”?

     

     

    • #20
    • January 13, 2020, at 8:56 AM PST
    • 1 like
  21. Samuel Block Support

    Camille Paglia is probably the best I can think of. Christopher Hitchens was, but he’s been gone for almost a decade. 

    I think the others are people who became Republicans in the 70s. They are currently outraged by the turn of events they call “Trumpism,” but have yet to go back to the camp where they might be able to make a positive difference. 

    • #21
    • January 13, 2020, at 9:09 AM PST
    • 1 like
  22. tabula rasa Member
    tabula rasaJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Roger Scruton was one of two modern philosophers who most influenced how I look at the world. The other is Thomas Sowell.

    I could recommend several great books by him, but the one that most impressed was his memoir: Gentle Regrets: Thoughts from a Life, published in the mid-2000s.

    Here are three examples of his beautiful, deep, and gentle prose:

    “A religion without orthodoxy is destined to be swept away by the first breath of doubt.”

    “[T]here is the truth that we are self-conscious beings, and that this distinguishes us from the rest of the animal kingdom. There is the truth that we are free, accountable and object of judgement in our own eyes and in the eyes of others. There is the truth that we are motivated not only by desire and appetite, but by a conception of the good. There is the truth that we are not just objects in a world of objects, but also subjects who relate to each other reciprocally.”

    “Those who confess to their Christianity are ‘Christian fundamentalists’ or even part of the ‘Christian fundamentalist right’, and therefore a recognized threat to free opinion; those who express concern over national identity are ‘far-right extremists’. . .; those who question whether it is right to advocate homosexuality to schoolchildren are ‘homophobic’; defenders of the family are ‘right-wing authoritarians’, while a teacher who defends chastity rather than free contraception as the best response to teen-age pregnancy, is not just ‘out of touch’ but ‘offensive’ to his pupils. To criticize popular culture, television, or contemporary rock music, even to press for the teaching of grammatical English in English schools—all these are proofs of ‘elitism’, whereby a person disqualifies himself from the right to speak. It is as though our society is seeking to define itself as a religious community, whose very lack of faith has become a kind of orthodoxy.”

    What a good and wise man.

    • #22
    • January 13, 2020, at 9:50 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  23. Jim Beck Member

    Afternoon Brian @brianwatt,

    Thanks for the link, first half was very good about transcendence.

    This will not be another praise of Scruton, even though Mike Rapkoch @mikerapkoch advised me to read Sir Roger, which I did to my benefit. At about the 32 minute mark of Peter’s interview, Peter ask how would Roger like to grapple with Donal Trump, Roger replied, “I’d rather not. His defects of character are so manifest that one can recognize that he has put you in a new position.” That response was illustrative of the lostness of our modern world. In what history is Trump’s character leagues different from FDR, Nixon, JFK, HWB, Clinton, or Obama. Scruton thinks that Trump has put him in a different place, well, what odd place has he been to think that these other presidents has vastly different characters? Then to weaselly say in a blame shifting way that Trump has put him in a different place, if Trump weren’t so icky he’d feel better. Is this thinking?

    Fundamentally, this may be about the definitions of the words character and neighbor. What is a neighbor, I’ll use VDH’s today description:

    “I grew up with an entire local network of clubs and get-togethers, and ferried my grandparents to periodic meetings of the Walnut Improvement Club, Eastern Star, the Odd Fellows, Masons, the Grange, and Sun-Maid growers. They exchanged gossip, of course, but also vital folk and empirical information on irrigation, fertilizers, and machines.

    The point was to remind us that “we” (i.e., the vanishing rural classes) needed to stick together—especially given glimpses of what the country would be like in the 21st century. When one of us died or got sick, people showed up with flowers, food, and offered help—whether the use of a tractor, or truck or hired man to “get you through this.”

    Now? Zilch.”

    So the neighbors in the farming community VDH grew up in were not some abstraction, as in I treat everyone as my neighbor (a deceitful statement), they were people with names to whom one had obligations, to help and comfort, and counsel, and who one could rely on to do the same for you without ever asking or ever expecting repayment. That is a neighbor. So a demonstration of love for a neighbor is not some abstract hot air, it is as a leader saying, I will look out for my countrymen, not all men, I will look out for America’s workers, and I will use all the tools, including blunt and harsh tools, I have to do so. In a recent series of comments Percival @percival said “in a fight to the death, fight dirty, you can regret your underhanded tactics if you survive.” Close, I think. So Trump, as Scruton says is willing to say the unsayable, but Scruton doesn’t seen to know that the willingness to fight with all you have for your neighbor including dirty is a type of character that in our spoiled modern times we think is unseemly. Character is not seen in how one comports oneself or the crease in one’s pants, it is the willingness to fight for your neighbors even at a great cost to yourself. The leaders in the West have not fought for their cultures or their countries because they lack character, they live a life where their passivity has cost them nothing and they do not like those neighbors that have the Walmart smell. I know Roger has had a life that includes a love of the rural world, but it will take some one like Trump to defend it.

    • #23
    • January 13, 2020, at 10:45 AM PST
    • 1 like
  24. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor

    tabula rasa (View Comment):

    I could recommend several great books by him, but the one that most impressed was his memoir: Gentle Regrets: Thoughts from a Life, published in the mid-2000s.

    Here [is the first of] three examples of his beautiful, deep, and gentle prose:

    “A religion without orthodoxy is destined to be swept away by the first breath of doubt.”

    I first found this quote on religion in a piece about his marriages Scruton published in City Journal, a piece which influenced how I went about my own marriage. What that City Journal piece does not mention, though, was the love affair between his marriages, one he wrote about elsewhere and I summarize here. Framed in typical vulgar style, the affair between Scruton and his Basia was “thwarted”, in that it avoided sexual union. In reality, it accomplished its purpose, and is the kind of love story vulgar affairs cannot hope to compete with.

    • #24
    • January 14, 2020, at 4:22 PM PST
    • 1 like
  25. MISTER BITCOIN Member

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):

    tabula rasa (View Comment):

    I could recommend several great books by him, but the one that most impressed was his memoir: Gentle Regrets: Thoughts from a Life, published in the mid-2000s.

    Here [is the first of] three examples of his beautiful, deep, and gentle prose:

    “A religion without orthodoxy is destined to be swept away by the first breath of doubt.”

    I first found this quote on religion in a piece about his marriages Scruton published in City Journal, a piece which influenced how I went about my own marriage. What that City Journal piece does not mention, though, was the love affair between his marriages, one he wrote about elsewhere and I summarize here. Framed in typical vulgar style, the affair between Scruton and his Basia was “thwarted”, in that it avoided sexual union. In reality, it accomplished its purpose, and is the kind of love story vulgar affairs cannot hope to compete with.

    It is Sir Roger Scruton not Pope Roger

     

    • #25
    • February 2, 2020, at 12:09 PM PST
    • Like

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