Roger Scruton: Conservative thinker dies at 75 | BBC News

Sir Roger Scruton

The philosopher, who died from cancer, is hailed as “the greatest conservative of our age.”

Source: Roger Scruton: Conservative thinker dies at 75 | BBC News

This is a tragic loss! One of the towering intellects of our time, and a passionate defender of Western civilization. Yesterday, Sunday the 13th of January, Sir Roger Scruton lost a six month fight with an aggressive form of cancer.

The BBC, of course, cannot resist sniping, but he was a great man, a terrific thinker, and his loss will be keenly felt by many: myself not least.

“The author of more than 50 books on aesthetics, morality and politics, he was also a government advisor. Supporters hailed him as ‘the greatest conservative of our age.’

“A statement on his website said he had been fighting cancer for six months and ‘died peacefully’ on Sunday.

“Historian Timothy Garton Ash said he was ‘a man of extraordinary intellect, learning and humour, a great supporter of central European dissidents, and the kind of provocative – sometimes outrageous – conservative thinker that a truly liberal society should be glad to have challenging it’.”

A Cambridge graduate and the author – as noted above – of some fifty books on morals, politics, architecture and aesthetics, Sir Roger was knighted in 2016 for his services to philosophy, teaching and public education. It was an honour richly deserved!

I have published here on The Anglophilic Anglican several examples of his thought, but here are two I particularly recommend, if you’ve not already seen them:

“Why Beauty Matters” (BBC documentary).

“The End of the University” (First Things article).

Requiescat in pacem, Sir Roger. You will be deeply missed.

 

Glories of the West: Dresden, Germany

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Source: deutschlandLiebe (Facebook group)

Almost entirely destroyed by Allied firebombing in World War Two that killed tens of thousands (estimates range from a low of 25,000 to a high of 135,000), Dresden has risen, Phoenix-like, literally from the ashes!

Encyclopedia Britannica article on the City of Dresden

Short drone video of Dresden, focusing on the restored historic heart of the city:

Click the link for a longer video!

 

H.V. Morton on the Decline of Civilization

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5058/5478051928_a878078802_b.jpg
Ruins of the Temple of Artemis at Sardis, in Asia Minor (Turkey).
color view of reconstructed model of Temple of Artemis, at Miniatürk Park, Istanbul, Turkey
A modern re-creation of what the Temple might have looked like, in its glory.

“Politicians of Western nations ought not to be eligible for election until they have travelled the ancient world. All the cities of the Graeco-Roman world have become slums. That pride which made Asia-Minor, in the words of Theodore Mommsen, “the promised land of municipal vanity” vanished with the Muslim conquest. Politicians should be made to see how easy it is for the constant sea of savagery, which flows forever around the small island of civilisation, to break in and destroy.

“Asia Minor was once as highly organised as Europe is today: a land of large cities whose libraries and public monuments were so splendid that when we today retrieve fragments of this lost world we think it worth while to build museums to house them. Yet a few centuries of occupation by a static race have seen the highest pillars fall to earth, have witnessed the destruction of aqueducts that carried life-giving water from afar, and have seen the silting up of harbours that once sheltered the proudest navies of the ancient world. I cannot understand how any traveller can stand unmoved at the graveside of the civilisation from which our own world springs, or can see Corinthian capitals lying in the mud, without feeling that such things hold a lesson and a warning and, perhaps, a prophesy.

— H.V. Morton: In the Steps of St. Paul (1936), p.56-7.

Let us say the situation has not improved dramatically since 1936. Sadly, rather the reverse…

 

The Tyranny of Artistic Modernism: Ugly Buildings, Ugly Paintings, Ugly Words, Ugly Life

Image result for modernist art and architecture

We who live in the Western world at the present time continue to suffer under the reign of a great tyranny — the tyranny of artistic modernism.

Source: The Tyranny of Artistic Modernism | New English Review

The four “uglies” in the title above are the assessment – all too accurate – of William Briggs, in his post on the subject. I cannot disagree! Here, at any rate, are some quotes from Mark Anthony Signorelli and Nikos A. Salingaros’s piece at New English Review, linked above, with my reflections thereon:

“We who live in the Western world at the present time continue to suffer under the reign of a great tyranny — the tyranny of artistic modernism. The modernist aesthetic, which dominates our age, takes a variety of forms in the respective arts — in architecture, a lack of scale and ornamentation combined with the overwhelming deployment of materials like glass, steel, and brutalist concrete; in the plastic arts, a rejection of natural forms mixed with an unmistakable tendency towards the repulsive or meretricious; in literature, non-linear narrative, esoteric [*] imagery, and an almost perfect lack of poetic form and diction.”
Continue reading “The Tyranny of Artistic Modernism: Ugly Buildings, Ugly Paintings, Ugly Words, Ugly Life”

The Glories of the West: The Beauty of French Architecture

Lovely examples of what we’re fighting for, from “the eldest daughter of the Church” – la belle France.

 

French Senate says Notre-Dame must be restored exactly how it was | The Local

French Senate says Notre-Dame must be restored exactly how it was

French Senators have stipulated that Notre-Dame cathedral must be restored exactly how it was before the devastating fire that tore through the Paris landmark.

Source: French Senate says Notre-Dame must be restored exactly how it was – The Local

The Senate of France gets it right! Now let’s hope the Assemblée Nationale follows suit:

“On Monday evening, the French Senate approved the government’s Notre-Dame restoration bill – but added a clause that it must be restored to the state it was before the blaze, striking a blow to the government which had launched an international architecture competition to debate ideas on the restoration…

“The Senate has now approved the restoration bill already passed by the French parliament to allow work on the structure to be completed in time for the Paris Olympics in 2024 – but requires that the restoration be faithful to the ‘last known visual state’ of the cathedral, in an attempt to check the government, which has launched an international architectural competition soliciting designs for renovation.”

Unfortunately,

“Because of the changes imposed, the bill cannot now pass directly in to law, so the Senate and the Assemblée nationale will now attempt to come to an agreement on a version of the bill that will become law.”

Praying that the National Assembly concurs! Dieu sauve la France! Et que Dieu sauve Notre Dame!

The Notre Dame fire: what was saved and what was lost | Aleteia

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Amidst the fire’s wreckage, much of the treasures of Notre Dame were saved.

Source: The Notre Dame fire: what was saved and what was lost | Aleteia

While the damage to le Cathédrale de Notre Dame de Paris from Monday’s fire was very severe, not only the structure of the Cathedral, but many of the priceless, irreplaceable artifacts and relics contained within were preserved. In fact, it is remarkable, gratifying, and – I would maintain – miraculous, how much has been saved!

The roof and the spire are gone, of course (and the current plans to update the spire – rather than restoring it – are very concerning, to those of us who care about tradition, heritage, and aesthetics); but the treasures that remain include:

  • The High Altar and its Cross:

“However, amidst the chaos, the cross suspended above the altar remains intact, “painful and luminous at the same time,” in the words of Fr. Grosjean, a priest of the diocese of Versailles.”

  • Many statues, including three of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • The largest and most famous of the Cathedral’s four organs, dating back to the 13th century
  • Incredibly, the Rose Windows and much of the Cathedral’s stained glass, including all or nearly all of its medieval stained glass
  • Furthermore, all of the major Christian relics appear to have been saved:

“The tunic of St. Louis and the Crown of Thorns were saved, said Bishop Patrick Chauvet, rector of the cathedral, on Monday evening. Two other relics kept at Notre Dame, a piece of the Cross and a nail from the Passion, also escaped the flames, thanks to the work of the firefighters.”

  • Even the rooster-shaped bronze reliquary that topped the Cathedral’s spiral survived both the inferno that consumed the spire, and the long fall that followed, and

“was found intact on Tuesday—damaged, but whole, according to Bishop Patrick Chauvet. The three relics that were miraculously saved within it are a piece of the Holy Crown of Thorns and relics of St. Denis and St. Genevieve, patrons of Paris.”

Follow the link for more details. But if this – both the fire itself, and what has by God’s grace survived it – is not an allegory for the times we are living in, and an inspiration to Christians concerned by the decline of Western Christendom, I do not know what is!