Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. ‘It Was Worth It’: A Personal Tribute to Sir Roger Scruton

 
Sir Roger Scruton

At a certain age on the path to adulthood, we begin to realize not just that our heroes are human, but that they are mortal. In the last five years, we have said goodbye to Harry Jaffa, Kenneth Minogue, Rene Girard, Bernard Lewis, Gertrude Himmelfarb, and Forrest McDonald, among brilliant others, and I have watched each go with an increasing sense that I was seeing my pantheon of intellectual greats fade rapidly.

Roger Scruton always held a special place in my heart, much as he might despise the trite cliche, because he was with me almost from the very beginning (I first read one of his books when I was 14) and because he spanned such a wide variety of mediums and topics with stunning skill. He showed me that a conservative could claim a place in academia, could show true genius and originality of expression in their field, and also claim a place outside of it, in the culture. On an even more personal level, his love of Britain, so beautifully expressed in much of his work, and the way that he had simply represented British academia for me was one of the things that inspired me to push aside myriad fears and take up a place at a British university.

I know that the many forthcoming obituaries of Sir Roger will praise his excellence as a writer of both fiction and nonfiction, his achievements as a scholar, his ability to bring beauty and the aesthetic sensibility to more popular attention without compromising their essence, and the impact that he has had on various political leaders. These are important aspects of his life and work, to be sure, but I would like to focus on two aspects that made the most impact on me; The Salisbury Review (and its ancillary The Conservative Philosophy Group) and his work in Czechoslovakia.

The Conservative Philosophy Group (CPG) was founded in 1974 by Sir Hugh Fraser, an MP, to provide an intellectual backbone for the Conservative Party at a time of crisis and Scruton was one of the first members of the original four-man board. During the leadership, and the premiership of Margaret Thatcher, the CPG did much to introduce conservative scholarship and free-market ideals to the rank-and-file members of the parliamentary delegation, in large part thanks to the remarkable thinkers Scruton was able to call upon for talks, discussion panels, and papers.

Eight years later, he founded The Salisbury Review, a quarterly magazine founded to defend the ideals of traditional conservatism, and to show that conservatism was a worthy intellectual project with a rightful place within the western philosophical pantheon. While the ideas of some contributors, and even Scruton himself, clashed with the Thatcher administration’s policies, he enticed the Iron Lady, along with such bright lights of the last 40 years as Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn, Enoch Powell, Theodore Dalrymple (Anthony Daniels), and P.D. James, to contribute. Both organizations showed the best of conservative thought, and how it could thrive even without academic receivable (as well as the absurdity that it lacked such a thing).

While he showed courage as a thinker and a writer in standing up to the British academic establishment, Sir Roger also showed profound personal courage. He was an active participant in the Jan Hus Educational Foundation, crossing the Iron Curtain to distribute banned books and run underground philosophy seminars all over Czechoslovakia. He even arranged for Czech students to have the opportunity to study for Cambridge degrees by coordinating an underground course with the theology faculty. Although Scruton was imprisoned, expelled, and placed on the Index of Undesirable Persons in 1985, he continued his activities in Hungary and Poland, as well as soliciting volunteers and financial support in Britain. At great physical risk to himself, Roger Scruton crossed into a world of almost unimaginable censorship and political terror and brought not only a breath of intellectual freedom, but hope to the countless people, young and old, that faced similar danger to listen to his message.

Sir Roger’s courage, both intellectual and personal, has been of such importance to my formative years and to the image of who I wish to be when all has been said and done. It convinced me to make a go at an academic career, to learn Russian and Arabic (so that I might help the advocates of personal freedom struggling under repressive regimes as he did), and to take time out of the relentless busyness of my modern life to enjoy art, music, poetry, and literature with true gratitude.

I had hoped, especially since coming to England, to meet him, as I had not had the opportunity with so many others of my heroes, but even though death has denied me the honor, I will carry the lessons he had taught me, and the ones I have yet to learn as I grow with his work still beside me, for a lifetime. In your honor, Sir Roger, I will listen to a Corelli concerto on my way to a traditional Latin prayer service, and raise a glass of port under the stars when I return home. May the beauty of the world beyond that you reach today exceed even the beauty, in word and deed, that you brought to our ugly times.

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  1. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Excellent tribute, KW.

    • #1
    • January 12, 2020, at 1:49 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  2. Mike Rapkoch Moderator

    My feelings exactly. Thanks and RIP Sir Roger.

    • #2
    • January 12, 2020, at 2:04 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  3. Rodin Member

    Beautifully written. I might have passed over your post as I had no acquaintance with Scruton’s work but for reading Steven Hayward’s post on Scruton this morning at Powerline blog. Having read both of these posts it is obvious that I need to remedy my ignorance of Scruton’s world. And I suspect that is the greatest value of a post such as this.

    • #3
    • January 12, 2020, at 2:07 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  4. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSul Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Memory Eternal, Sir Roger.

    • #4
    • January 12, 2020, at 2:29 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  5. Caryn Thatcher
    Caryn Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Oh, no! Roger Scruton. What a huge loss.

    Blessed be the True Judge. 

    • #5
    • January 12, 2020, at 2:46 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  6. Mark Camp Member

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Beautifully written.

    Having read both

    one

    of these posts it is obvious that I need to remedy my ignorance of Scruton’s world.

    ” (other than that one word.)

    And I suspect that is the greatest value of a post such as this.

     

    • #6
    • January 12, 2020, at 2:54 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  7. John H. Member
    John H. Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I’ve read much about Yugoslavia and little about Czechoslovakia, and the more I hear about the latter, the more I think these countries were vastly different. I think a great way to start learning about Czechoslovakia would be to read what Sir Roger Scruton wrote about it. 

    • #7
    • January 12, 2020, at 3:24 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  8. Manny Member

    Beautiful tribute. My thought as I was reading was that Scruton was the William F. Buckley of Britain. 

    • #8
    • January 12, 2020, at 3:43 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  9. KirkianWanderer Coolidge
    KirkianWanderer

    Manny (View Comment):

    Beautiful tribute. My thought as I was reading was that Scruton was the William F. Buckley of Britain.

    Thanks. What an apt comparison! Scruton came from a much more plebeian background, but I think they shared fundamental values and a philosophical love for the finer things in life (as well as a similar delivery of their views). On a side note, I think Scruton’s views on Catholicism, while he could never bring himself to be a believer, would have suited WFB down to the ground. 

    https://catholicherald.co.uk/issues/october-9th-2015-2/roger-scruton-my-tribal-religion/

    • #9
    • January 12, 2020, at 4:09 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  10. Manny Member

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Beautiful tribute. My thought as I was reading was that Scruton was the William F. Buckley of Britain.

    Thanks. What an apt comparison! Scruton came from a much more plebeian background, but I think they shared fundamental values and a philosophical love for the finer things in life (as well as a similar delivery of their views). On a side note, I think Scruton’s views on Catholicism, while he could never bring himself to be a believer, would have suited WFB down to the ground.

    https://catholicherald.co.uk/issues/october-9th-2015-2/roger-scruton-my-tribal-religion/

    Thank you for the link Kirk, if you don’t mind me calling you that. I was wondering what his religious affiliations were. I knew he was Anglican but didn’t know how religious he was or what his attitude toward Catholicism was. 

    • #10
    • January 12, 2020, at 4:33 PM PST
    • 1 like
  11. The Reticulator Member

    John H. (View Comment):

    I’ve read much about Yugoslavia and little about Czechoslovakia, and the more I hear about the latter, the more I think these countries were vastly different. I think a great way to start learning about Czechoslovakia would be to read what Sir Roger Scruton wrote about it.

    Do you have a reading list that you can share with us?

    • #11
    • January 12, 2020, at 4:42 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  12. KirkianWanderer Coolidge
    KirkianWanderer

    Manny (View Comment):

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Beautiful tribute. My thought as I was reading was that Scruton was the William F. Buckley of Britain.

    Thanks. What an apt comparison! Scruton came from a much more plebeian background, but I think they shared fundamental values and a philosophical love for the finer things in life (as well as a similar delivery of their views). On a side note, I think Scruton’s views on Catholicism, while he could never bring himself to be a believer, would have suited WFB down to the ground.

    https://catholicherald.co.uk/issues/october-9th-2015-2/roger-scruton-my-tribal-religion/

    Thank you for the link Kirk, if you don’t mind me calling you that. I was wondering what his religious affiliations were. I knew he was Anglican but didn’t know how religious he was or what his attitude toward Catholicism was.

    Not at all. He was an Anglican of a sort, but didn’t believe in an after life and was skeptical, but appreciative, of traditional Anglican theological belief. I think he probably bears good comparison to George Santayana, who thought the Catholic Church had made enormous strides in advancing civilization and still continued to do good, but believed in few, if any, of its theological assertions. 

    • #12
    • January 12, 2020, at 4:44 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  13. John H. Member
    John H. Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    John H. (View Comment):

    I’ve read much about Yugoslavia and little about Czechoslovakia, and the more I hear about the latter, the more I think these countries were vastly different. I think a great way to start learning about Czechoslovakia would be to read what Sir Roger Scruton wrote about it.

    Do you have a reading list that you can share with us?

    Uhh…I don’t, but I bet the original poster does! And I would be very happy to see it! Oh, about Yugoslavia? Nothing handy. I still think Brian Hall’s book is the one-if-you-just-read-one. Although it has little about Slovenia.

    Another thing I like about @kirkianwanderer is that he never splutters. I see posts with titles like “Which Demand of 16-Year-Old You Should the World Have Listened To?” and I think: that’s just spluttering. 

    • #13
    • January 12, 2020, at 5:36 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  14. The Reticulator Member

    John H. (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    John H. (View Comment):

    I’ve read much about Yugoslavia and little about Czechoslovakia, and the more I hear about the latter, the more I think these countries were vastly different. I think a great way to start learning about Czechoslovakia would be to read what Sir Roger Scruton wrote about it.

    Do you have a reading list that you can share with us?

    Uhh…I don’t, but I bet the original poster does! And I would be very happy to see it! Oh, about Yugoslavia? Nothing handy. I still think Brian Hall’s book is the one-if-you-just-read-one. Although it has little about Slovenia.

    Another thing I like about @kirkianwanderer is that he never splutters. I see posts with titles like “Which Demand of 16-Year-Old You Should the World Have Listened To?” and I think: that’s just spluttering.

    I think @kirkianwander is female. When she first started posting I thought she was a guy, based on the way she wrote. I would like to get her reading recommendations, too.

    Thanks for the reference to the Brian Hall book. I’ll check it out. 

    This time I am interested in Czechoslovakia, as I might get to visit a small bit of it this year.

    • #14
    • January 12, 2020, at 6:06 PM PST
    • 1 like
  15. Manny Member

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Beautiful tribute. My thought as I was reading was that Scruton was the William F. Buckley of Britain.

    Thanks. What an apt comparison! Scruton came from a much more plebeian background, but I think they shared fundamental values and a philosophical love for the finer things in life (as well as a similar delivery of their views). On a side note, I think Scruton’s views on Catholicism, while he could never bring himself to be a believer, would have suited WFB down to the ground.

    https://catholicherald.co.uk/issues/october-9th-2015-2/roger-scruton-my-tribal-religion/

    Thank you for the link Kirk, if you don’t mind me calling you that. I was wondering what his religious affiliations were. I knew he was Anglican but didn’t know how religious he was or what his attitude toward Catholicism was.

    Not at all. He was an Anglican of a sort, but didn’t believe in an after life and was skeptical, but appreciative, of traditional Anglican theological belief. I think he probably bears good comparison to George Santayana, who thought the Catholic Church had made enormous strides in advancing civilization and still continued to do good, but believed in few, if any, of its theological assertions.

    Let me add or qualify to what I said Kirk. My comparison to Buckley was in the sense of a person standing against the tide of Liberal dominance in the culture. The Buckley adage, that “A conservative is someone who stands athwart history, yelling Stop.” applies to Scruton as well. But there are some striking differences. Over on Peter Robinson’s post where he interviewed Scruton I said, 

    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.

    Yes, I think the best American comparison to Scruton would be Russell Kirk. Perhaps Buckley didn’t start as a Libertarian, but more and more as he aged he became one.

    • #15
    • January 12, 2020, at 6:29 PM PST
    • 1 like
  16. KirkianWanderer Coolidge
    KirkianWanderer

    Manny (View Comment):

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Beautiful tribute. My thought as I was reading was that Scruton was the William F. Buckley of Britain.

    Thanks. What an apt comparison! Scruton came from a much more plebeian background, but I think they shared fundamental values and a philosophical love for the finer things in life (as well as a similar delivery of their views). On a side note, I think Scruton’s views on Catholicism, while he could never bring himself to be a believer, would have suited WFB down to the ground.

    https://catholicherald.co.uk/issues/october-9th-2015-2/roger-scruton-my-tribal-religion/

    Thank you for the link Kirk, if you don’t mind me calling you that. I was wondering what his religious affiliations were. I knew he was Anglican but didn’t know how religious he was or what his attitude toward Catholicism was.

    Not at all. He was an Anglican of a sort, but didn’t believe in an after life and was skeptical, but appreciative, of traditional Anglican theological belief. I think he probably bears good comparison to George Santayana, who thought the Catholic Church had made enormous strides in advancing civilization and still continued to do good, but believed in few, if any, of its theological assertions.

    Let me add or qualify to what I said Kirk. My comparison to Buckley was in the sense of a person standing against the tide of Liberal dominance in the culture. The Buckley adage, that “A conservative is someone who stands athwart history, yelling Stop.” applies to Scruton as well. But there are some striking differences. Over on Peter Robinson’s post where he interviewed Scruton I said,

    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.

    Yes, I think the best American comparison to Scruton would be Russell Kirk. Perhaps Buckley didn’t start as a Libertarian, but more and more as he aged he became one.

    That’s an even more fitting comparison, most likely. Scruton started out quite Thatcher skeptical and, as he saw the drift of the Tory Party over time, came to embrace the more libertarian elements, but his instinct was social cohesion and tradition above free markets. He was a bit closer to Peregrine Worsthorne than Keith Joseph to begin with and I think that his instincts changed for the better over time on that. 

    • #16
    • January 12, 2020, at 7:08 PM PST
    • 1 like
  17. KirkianWanderer Coolidge
    KirkianWanderer

    John H. (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    John H. (View Comment):

    I’ve read much about Yugoslavia and little about Czechoslovakia, and the more I hear about the latter, the more I think these countries were vastly different. I think a great way to start learning about Czechoslovakia would be to read what Sir Roger Scruton wrote about it.

    Do you have a reading list that you can share with us?

    Uhh…I don’t, but I bet the original poster does! And I would be very happy to see it! Oh, about Yugoslavia? Nothing handy. I still think Brian Hall’s book is the one-if-you-just-read-one. Although it has little about Slovenia.

    Another thing I like about @kirkianwanderer is that he never splutters. I see posts with titles like “Which Demand of 16-Year-Old You Should the World Have Listened To?” and I think: that’s just spluttering.

    Thanks very much! The Reticulator is right, I am a 20 year old female, although I have a friend that perplexes native Spanish speakers by referring to me with male pronouns and adjectives, because I only had two female friends in high school. 

    • #17
    • January 12, 2020, at 7:10 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  18. KirkianWanderer Coolidge
    KirkianWanderer

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    John H. (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    John H. (View Comment):

    I think @kirkianwander is female. When she first started posting I thought she was a guy, based on the way she wrote. I would like to get her reading recommendations, too.

    Thanks for the reference to the Brian Hall book. I’ll check it out.

    This time I am interested in Czechoslovakia, as I might get to visit a small bit of it this.

    I’m curious, though not offended, that my writing seems to come off as masculine. As for books: 

    Czechoslovakia: 

    The Velvet Philosophers by Barbara Day (A great account of the activities of the Jan Hus Educational Foundation, and western academic in general, in bringing free thought to the country) 

    Letters to Olga by Vaclav Havel (Havel was probably the foremost leader of the Czech resistance to communist rule, and his complied letters to his wife deserve attention both for their beauty and for the day to day view of life under tyranny) 

    -The Joke by Milan Kundera (A fiction book, but one of the greatest products of dissent in the communist world and very good at showing both the absurdity and tragedy of Czech history as it developed; anything by Kundera is really worth your attention)

    Yugoslavia: 

    Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union in the Early Cold War by Svetozar Rajak (While I don’t agree with all of Rajak’s conclusions, he does a masterful job of intertwining Yugoslav history at large with the particular period, and bringing both a native’s and a historian’s perspective; I’ve also heard him speak and it is well worth your time to do is if you can) 

    Towards the Flame by Dominic Lieven (Although Lieven’s book is about Russia in WWI, he gives what I think is one of the best explanations of pan-slavisim in English language history, and covers the creation of Yugoslavia, as well as the history of the territory before 1918, briefly but memorably) 

    Roger Scruton:

    Thinkers of the New Left (The first book that brought Scruton to widespread non-academic attention, it is a wonderful counterpoint to many of the hagiographies of leftist thinkers and the nail in his career as a professor, at least for a few decades) 

    The Soul of the World (His case for both a transcendent dimension and the use of religion in society, triumphantly well argued on both fronts)

    Sexual Desire (An exploration of the moral dimension of the erotic, all the more timely after the invention of the internet) 

    Gentle Regrets (‘Autobiographical thoughts’, they present both a charming portrait of an earlier England and the man in question, as well as the rigors and joys of intellectual maturation and age) 

    Notes from Underground (His greatest novel, the compelling tale of love under a communist regime and a very adult, in the best way, story about duty and passion) 

    Hope that helps! You can never really go wrong with Scruton. 

     

     

    • #18
    • January 12, 2020, at 7:43 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  19. Manny Member

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):

    John H. (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    John H. (View Comment):

    I’ve read much about Yugoslavia and little about Czechoslovakia, and the more I hear about the latter, the more I think these countries were vastly different. I think a great way to start learning about Czechoslovakia would be to read what Sir Roger Scruton wrote about it.

    Do you have a reading list that you can share with us?

    Uhh…I don’t, but I bet the original poster does! And I would be very happy to see it! Oh, about Yugoslavia? Nothing handy. I still think Brian Hall’s book is the one-if-you-just-read-one. Although it has little about Slovenia.

    Another thing I like about @kirkianwanderer is that he never splutters. I see posts with titles like “Which Demand of 16-Year-Old You Should the World Have Listened To?” and I think: that’s just spluttering.

    Thanks very much! The Reticulator is right, I am a 20 year old female, although I have a friend that perplexes native Spanish speakers by referring to me with male pronouns and adjectives, because I only had two female friends in high school.

    I knew you were a young lady, but would never have guessed only 20 years old. You have smarts beyond your age.

    • #19
    • January 12, 2020, at 8:13 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  20. The Reticulator Member

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):
    Letters to Olga by Vaclav Havel (Havel was probably the foremost leader of the Czech resistance to communist rule, and his complied letters to his wife deserve attention both for their beauty and for the day to day view of life under tyranny) 

    Thanks for the list. I’m going to try to read a bunch of those, especially the histories. But I definitely want to read Letters to Olga, too. I need to finish Havel’s little book, The Power of the Powerless, though. I recently bought a paperback edition that has an introduction by Timothy Snyder. I very much value Snyder’s historical work, and his intro starts off OK, but then he spends the last few pages going off on an increasingly unhinged anti-Trump rant, portraying him as the anti-Havel and calling him a Putin client. I’m tempted to say, someplace where Snyder can see it, that Trump is the closest thing we have to a Havel. But beyond their messy personal lives and their both being freedom fighters of a sort, maybe there aren’t many similarities between the two. Maybe reading Havel’s work will cure me of the temptation to make the comparison. 

    • #20
    • January 12, 2020, at 8:39 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  21. The Reticulator Member

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):
    I’m curious, though not offended, that my writing seems to come off as masculine.

    I can’t explain why. Maybe I just guessed wrong. But I was definitely surprised back when you told us otherwise. 

    • #21
    • January 12, 2020, at 8:41 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  22. KirkianWanderer Coolidge
    KirkianWanderer

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):
    I’m curious, though not offended, that my writing seems to come off as masculine.

    I can’t explain why. Maybe I just guessed wrong. But I was definitely surprised back when you told us otherwise.

    Haha, you definitely weren’t the only one. I understand what you mean, though, and generally I think readers do have an instinctive sense (I’m not sure from what either) of an author’s gender. 

    • #22
    • January 12, 2020, at 8:44 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  23. KirkianWanderer Coolidge
    KirkianWanderer

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):
    I’m curious, though not offended, that my writing seems to come off as masculine.

    I can’t explain why. Maybe I just guessed wrong. But I was definitely surprised back when you told us otherwise.

    Haha, you definitely weren’t the only one. I understand what you mean, though, and generally I think readers do have an instinctive sense (I’m not sure from what either) of an author’s gender.

    For some reason, my Massachusetts accent (not Kennedy-esque, I’m from central west) also tends to obscure my nationality abroad. Almost every non-Brit I meet assumes I am a Brit, and, with one exception, every Brit thinks I’m anything but American (Dutch, Russian, etc). The funniest instance of that was when I had to meet last year, along with three other girls (with Yorkshire, RP, and Welsh accents) I was doing a project with, the department expert on our chosen topic. He didn’t have a reputation for being a creep, so I was mystified as to why he spent 90% of the meeting staring at me, even when I wasn’t talking. The Welsh girl burst out laughing the minute she left because she picked up immediately on the fact that he couldn’t tell for the life of him where I was from, and was too afraid to ask. Admittedly, though, I still feel deeply conscious of it, especially when I’m speaking to someone with an RP accent (what a joy to have internalized British class/accent structure). 

    • #23
    • January 12, 2020, at 8:57 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  24. Michael S. Malone Contributor

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    John H. (View Comment):

    I’ve read much about Yugoslavia and little about Czechoslovakia, and the more I hear about the latter, the more I think these countries were vastly different. I think a great way to start learning about Czechoslovakia would be to read what Sir Roger Scruton wrote about it.

    Do you have a reading list that you can share with us?

    I’d start with his address to the Oxford Union (it’s on YouTube) comparing conservatism and liberalism. It really displays his erudition, essential fairness, intellectual honesty and courage. Then read his books — his prose has breathtaking clarity.

    • #24
    • January 12, 2020, at 9:01 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  25. The Reticulator Member

    Michael S. Malone (View Comment):
    I’d start with his address to the Oxford Union (it’s on YouTube) comparing conservatism and liberalism. It really displays his erudition, essential fairness, intellectual honesty and courage. Then read his books — his prose has breathtaking clarity.

    I presume this is it:

     

    • #25
    • January 12, 2020, at 9:25 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  26. tabula rasa Member
    tabula rasa Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I posted the following on Peter’s post about Roger Scruton. Sorry to so presumptuous as to post it twice, but I felt that the Scruton quotes were worth it.

    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.

    • #26
    • January 13, 2020, at 11:04 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  27. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):
    I’m curious, though not offended, that my writing seems to come off as masculine.

    I can’t explain why. Maybe I just guessed wrong. But I was definitely surprised back when you told us otherwise.

    Haha, you definitely weren’t the only one. I understand what you mean, though, and generally I think readers do have an instinctive sense (I’m not sure from what either) of an author’s gender.

    For several years, it was normal for fellow Ricochetti to mistake me for a guy — which suited me fine. Much seemed to do with my having avoided, at first, writing on typically feminine topics like family, marriage, and caregiving. Eventually, I wrote enough posts recounting who I was to others (daughter, not-girlfriend, wife, and so on) that folks caught on. Abbreviating my Riconym to “Midge” (@midge) also helped.

    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.

    • #27
    • January 14, 2020, at 2:43 PM PST
    • 3 likes