Quote of the Day: Roger Scruton on Government


State solutions are imposed from above; they are often without corrective devices, and cannot easily be reversed on the proof of failure. Their inflexibility goes hand in hand with their planned and goal-directed nature, and when they fail, the efforts of the state are directed not to changing them but to changing people’s belief that they have failed. – Roger Scruton

Like Thomas Sowell, Milton Friedman and others, Roger Scruton quotes seem obvious, but they also show great wisdom. Even after his death on January 12, 2020, the quote above rings true with the present nonsense from all governments – villages, cities, states, countries, and especially the pan-national World Health Organization. Ricochet includes many conversations about Scruton, including those on Conservatism and Good Things in the Quote of the Day series.

As a conservative who enjoys art, architecture, and music, I was introduced to Roger Scruton about 3 years ago in this Beauty video. What impressed me was his approach to beauty, which could include rough items, while dismissing modern art that only exists to shock.

Scruton’s first book was Art and Imagination (1974), followed by The Aesthetics of Architecture (1979). Here he explains the dilemma of removing buildings willy-nilly:

I’m not against tearing down buildings that are unsafe, but cost-effective renovations should be strongly considered.

Scruton is also well known for writing The Aesthetics of Music (1997). Finally, a short (12 minute) video discussing Roger’s thoughts on Why Intellectuals are Mostly Left:

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There are 5 comments.

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  1. Vectorman Inactive

    Do you enjoy participating in Ricochet’s Quote of the Day? There are only 3 days left before May, so please become the QOTD Manager to have it continue.

    • #1
  2. RightAngles Member

    Truer words were never spoken.

    • #2
  3. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine

    I love that idea in the last video of thinking harder and eventually getting back to where you were before you started thinking. It’s like that thing I say about philosophy:

    Philosophy is about seeing things clearly. A lot of good philosophy is just explaining the obvious.

    • #3
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    What a brilliant quote, Vectorman! And he was just that. Thanks.

    • #4
  5. Percival Thatcher

    The city fathers of Joliet Illinois replaced this:


    with this:

    which has been replaced with this:

    and I’m already sick of it.

    It is “better” than its predecessor only in the sense that a poke in the eye is “better” than a poke in the eye and a kick in the shins.

    • #5
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