Sir Roger Scruton: Conservatism Means Conservation | The Imaginative Conservative

“The cause of the environment is not, in itself, a left-wing cause. It is about about safeguarding resources. It is about conservation and equilibrium…”

Source: Conservatism Means Conservation ~ The Imaginative Conservative

Or, as he writes elsewhere, in an essay I will probably also post / link to here,

“There is no political cause more amenable to the conservative vision than that of the environment. For it touches on the three foundational ideas of our movement: trans-generational loyalty, the priority of the local and the search for home.”

There are many reasons I love the late Sir Roger Scruton, but this is certainly a big one: he was not only one of the greatest conservative thinkers of our time – arguably the greatest – but he was also a dedicated conservationist.

In this essay, as its title suggests, he is saying something I have been saying, myself, for many years now (at least as far back as the late-1980s, early-1990s, while I was still in undergraduate college): that conservatives and conservationists should be natural allies, as the root of both – not only linguistically but philosophically – is to conserve. And I have continued in that belief ever since.

But of course, being Sir Roger, he says it much better than I ever have, or could! As he wisely notes,

“the cause of the environment is not, in itself, a left-wing cause at all. It is not about ‘liberating’ or empowering the victim, but about safeguarding resources. It is not about ‘progress’ or ‘equality’ but about conservation and equilibrium. Its following may be young and dishevelled; but that is largely because people in suits have failed to realize where their real interests, and their real values, lie… Indeed, environmentalism is the quintessential conservative cause, the most vivid instance in the world as we know it of that partnership between the dead, the living and the unborn, which Burke defended as the conservative archetype.”

Thank you, Sir Roger! And to those who see this post, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest. Especially any who may incorrectly believe that being conservative means rejecting our ethical and theological imperative to care for this good earth God has given us. Sir Roger shows that this is neither necessary, nor is it wise.

It is time – indeed, it is more than past time – for conservatives to re-take conservation and care for the natural environment from its captivity by the Left.

 

Sir Roger Scruton: A Thing Called Civilization | Intercollegiate Studies Institute

https://anglophilicanglican.files.wordpress.com/2020/02/scruton_video.jpg

Source: A Thing Called Civilization – Intercollegiate Studies Institute: Think. Live Free.

The Intercollegiate Studies institute named the late Sir Roger Scruton its “Defender of Western Civilization” for 2019 – a richly deserved honor! – on September 19th, not long before he lost his battle with an aggressive form of cancer.

In his acceptance speech, Sir Roger gave what I think is perhaps the finest short description of Western civilization ever crafted – certainly that I have ever seen:

“Western civilization has come in for a lot of attack because it’s Western. The word Western has been taken to be a standard term of abuse by so many people in the world today, and in particular by people who don’t have the faintest idea what it means, historically, metaphysically, or poetically. Our Western civilization is not some peculiar, narrow little obsession of people who happen to live in a certain geographical part of the world. It is an inheritance, constantly expanding, constantly including new things. It is something which has given us the knowledge of the human heart, which has enabled us to produce not just wonderful economies and the wonderful ways of living in the world that are ours, but also the great works of art, the religions, the systems of law and government, all the other things which make it actually possible for us to recognize that we live in this world, insofar as possible, successfully.”

But please – read the whole essay. It’s splendid. Writings by Sir Roger generally are. May God rest his soul!

 

Roger Scruton – The Tyranny of Pop Music | YouTube

Source: Roger Scruton – The Tyranny of Pop Music | YouTube

Don’t get me wrong, there is a fair bit of “pop” music which I enjoy… in small-to-moderate doses. As Scruton himself notes, “there are distinctions of quality, even in the realm of pop” – and let’s face it, there are times when everyone wants a doughnut, or an ice cream cone, or maybe even cotton candy. Few of us can consume only healthy food, all the time, and the same is true of music. On the other hand, if one’s diet is made up primarily of junk food, one’s health will suffer; and that is true also in the musical realm.

What the late Sir Roger is objecting to, here, is the ubiquitous, all-pervasive nature of pop music in today’s society – much of it vapid, banal, and musically uninteresting, and some of it lyrically offensive – and the way in which (much as salt- and sugar-loaded junk food numbs the taste-buds of those who regularly consume it, until they can’t even enjoy more healthy fare) it numbs the listeners’ appreciation for higher-quality musical “cuisine.”

This matters for more than merely aesthetic reasons. It is remarkable the degree to which the music one listens to not only reflects, but helps to shape, the listener’s outlook on life, one’s worldview. I can speak to this from my own experience, as I made the conscious decision, in my 20s, to stop listening to most rock and pop music, because I did not like the headspace it was putting me into.

Now, one can argue the precise chicken-vs-egg connection between music reflecting and shaping a person’s subjective reality: suffice it to say that it serves both roles. And the fact remains that those who were rioting in Ferguson and Baltimore – to cite just two examples among many – were likely not listening to Bach and Beethoven, Handel and Vivaldi, Ralph Vaughan Williams or John Rutter, through their ear-buds as they trashed cars, burned refuse cans, broke windows, and beat up random bystanders.

These are extreme examples; but nonetheless, music matters. “Music has charms to soothe a savage breast,” as William Congreve noted in The Mourning Bride (1697), but it also has the ability to trouble a serene one. The kind of music with which we fill our ears, heads, and souls matters. And in this talk, Sir Roger explains the problem we are facing, as music of quality and distinction is supplanted by “pop.”

(He deals with the matter from an aesthetic perspective, as one would expect; but since this blog is concerned in large measure with the defense of the West – Western civilization, Western Christendom – against several breeds of savagery, I have pointed out its application to the challenges we are facing.)

Best of all, he doesn’t just complain: he sketches out a road-map for how one can re-program the neural pathways of the young, when it comes to music, making this discussion especially helpful for parents, teachers, and others who may be in a position to help shape the musical education of young people.

Well worth a listen!

 

Tributes paid to ‘unusually rich legacy’ of philosopher Sir Roger Scruton | Ludlow Advertiser

Investitures at Buckingham Palace

Tributes have been paid to the “unusually rich legacy” of philosopher Sir Roger Scruton, lauded as “the greatest conservative of our age,” who died at age 75 after a six-month battle with cancer.

Source: Tributes paid to ‘unusually rich legacy’ of philosopher Sir Roger Scruton | Ludlow Advertiser

A small selection, from among many:

The journalist and author Peter Hitchens wrote on social media,

“RIP Sir Roger Scruton, a man of immense courage, intellect and fortitude, whose loss we can ill afford in these narrow, conformist times.”

Tory MEP Daniel Hannan said on Twitter,

“Professor Sir Roger Scruton, the greatest conservative of our age, has died. The country has lost a towering intellect. I have lost a wonderful friend.

“There was no subject he could not light up with his effulgent prose: architecture, theology, music, fox-hunting, painting, wine, philosophy. I honestly can’t think of a wiser or more complete contemporary writer.”

And this – from author and historian Anne Applebaum,

“In the 1980s, Roger Scruton organised money and books for dissidents in Eastern Europe.

“I was one of the student couriers who helped smuggle them ‘across the iron curtain.’ I am still grateful for what Roger did for them, and for me.”

I encourage you to read this compilation of heartfelt and heart-warming tributes, memories, and reflections on the life and legacy of a truly great man!

 

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.

 

Sir Roger Scruton: on being an intellectual conservative | YouTube (with reflections by me, on politics, economics, and society)

Image result for sir roger scruton

Source: Sir Roger Scruton: How to Be a Conservative | YouTube

“It is not unusual to be a conservative. But it is unusual to be an intellectual conservative. In both Britain and America some 70% of academics identify themselves as being ‘on the Left,’ while the surrounding culture is increasingly hostile to traditional values, or to any claim that might be made for the high achievements of Western Civilization.”

— Sir Roger Scruton

And like it or not, the academic world does have a major impact – directly, through the pronouncements of academics, and even more significant, indirectly, through its graduates (who end up in business, media, and politics) – on the wider culture.

The “Benedict Option” (or what Sir Roger here calls “catacomb culture”) is valid and likely essential as a short-term strategy for survival of traditional values, ideas, and ideals (and perhaps, for traditional people who wish to bear and raise children in those values, ideas, and ideals), but it is not an end in itself.

Remember that the monks of medieval Europe did not merely remain in their monasteries, but in some cases actively evangelized (think the Celtic monks, Franciscan friars, and the preaching orders), or in the case of the Benedictines themselves, served as “leaven in the loaf” of the wider culture.

It’s not enough merely to “opt out” of secular culture – although, as I say, that can be an important first step, and survival strategy, just as the monks made the decision to leave their secular lives and enter the monastery. We have to keep the longer-term goal in mind: taking it back. Continue reading “Sir Roger Scruton: on being an intellectual conservative | YouTube (with reflections by me, on politics, economics, and society)”

“We have entered a spiritual limbo…”

Sir Roger Scruton - Spiritual Limbo

Indeed.

And let us pray that it does not take a thousand years to come out of the Dark Age into which we seem to be descending!