Sir Roger Scruton

About Sir Roger Scruton

Sir Roger Scruton (1944-2020) was one of the world’s leading conservative thinkers. In his nearly fifty books, he explored the philosophical depths of human nature, politics, and culture. He was Visiting Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oxford, Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, and Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Future Symphony Institute. He was also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a Fellow of the British Academy. In 2016 Queen Elizabeth II knighted Sir Roger for his services to “philosophy, teaching, and public education.” Sir Roger's books include Conservatism: An Invitation to the Great Tradition (2018), Green Philosophy: How to Think Seriously About the Planet (2012), Political Philosophy: Arguments for Conservatism (2007) and Culture Counts: Faith and Feeling in a World Besieged (2007).

Liberty and Democracy in Western Civilization

By |2020-09-23T23:53:33-05:00April 8th, 2020|Categories: Audio/Video, Christianity, Conservatism, Liberty, Roger Scruton, Timeless Essays, Western Civilization|

The late, great conservative philosopher, Sir Roger Scruton, delivers the keynote address at the Institute of Public Affairs' 2014 Foundations of Western Civilization Symposium. He discusses the topics of freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the pursuit of truth. —Editor This essay was first published here in August 2014. The Imaginative Conservative applies the principle of [...]

The Journey Home: Wilhelm Röpke & the Humane Economy

By |2020-10-27T03:22:41-05:00March 29th, 2020|Categories: American Republic, Economics, Political Economy, Roger Scruton, Timeless Essays, Uncategorized, Wilhelm Roepke|

Wilhelm Röpke asked how to address the problems of social fragmentation and the loss of community feeling, in a world where the market is left to itself. Röpke’s own idea was that society is nurtured and perpetuated at the local level, through motives that are quite distinct from the pursuit of rational self interest. [...]

T.S. Eliot as Conservative Mentor

By |2020-07-23T17:50:03-05:00March 15th, 2020|Categories: Conservatism, Roger Scruton, T.S. Eliot, Timeless Essays|

Should modern man devote himself like Sartre to undermining bourgeois society and scoffing at manners and morals? Should he play the part of Socrates, questioning everything and affirming nothing? To answer yes to any of those questions is to grant nothing to human life beyond the mockery of it. T.S. Eliot’s solution was to embrace [...]

In Defense of Elitism

By |2020-09-24T00:28:29-05:00March 4th, 2020|Categories: Culture, Humanities, Roger Scruton, Timeless Essays|

People don’t like hierarchies and privileges, and there is a natural disposition to say that they’re not deserved. When anybody claims some kind of hierarchical position, the question is raised, “Who is he? Who does he think he is? And by what right does he claim this superiority over me?” There is a very [...]

The Threat of Free Speech in the University

By |2020-03-04T16:33:59-06:00February 26th, 2020|Categories: Culture, Education, Featured, Free Speech, Modernity, Roger Scruton, Timeless Essays|

Now I, too, would like the university to be a safe space, but a safe space for rational argument about the pressing issues of our time. If a university stands for anything, surely it stands for that idea of truth, as a guiding light in our darkness and the source of real knowledge. Today’s [...]

Sacred Truths in a Profane World

By |2020-10-13T12:53:34-05:00February 2nd, 2020|Categories: Christianity, Culture, Homosexual Unions, Islam, Marriage, Religion, Roger Scruton, Timeless Essays, Truth|

By and large the educated elites in the Western world today are without religious belief and often animated by what I call a “culture of repudiation,” keen to banish old ideas of the sacred from public life and to remake the institutions and structures of civil society so as to reflect their own liberated lifestyle. [...]

How Bad Philosophy Destroyed Good Music

By |2020-08-11T13:52:24-05:00January 19th, 2020|Categories: Culture, Music, Roger Scruton, Timeless Essays|

True artists are not the antagonists of tradition but its latest advocates. They belong to the future because they are guardians of the past. In the past, our musical culture had secure foundations in the church, in the concert hall, and in the home. The common practice of tonal harmony united composers, performers, and listeners [...]

Why Beauty Matters

By |2020-09-24T00:35:14-05:00January 13th, 2020|Categories: Audio/Video, Beauty, Roger Scruton, Timeless Essays|

"The sacred and the beautiful stand side by side. Two doors that open onto a single space. In that space we find our home."—Sir Roger Scruton (1944-2020). Please watch this brilliant, classic documentary by the late Sir Roger Scruton on "Why Beauty Matters." —The editors This essay was first published here in December 2011. [...]

The Last Speech: “A Thing Called Civilization”

By |2020-01-12T15:54:16-06:00January 12th, 2020|Categories: Roger Scruton, Timeless Essays, Western Civilization|

On September 19, 2019, at the fourteenth annual Gala for Western Civilization, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute presented Sir Roger Scruton with the Defender of Western Civilization award. Sir Roger gave these remarks on accepting the award. He had recently been diagnosed with cancer, the disease that would bring about his death on January 12, 2020. [...]

Counterpoint and Why It Matters

By |2020-02-26T14:10:20-06:00January 9th, 2019|Categories: Beauty, Culture, Modernity, Music, Roger Scruton, Western Tradition|

In music, there has arisen in recent times the illusion that knowledge is not necessary, that the old forms of discipline are merely obstacles to the true creative process, and that real originality means doing your own thing, free from traditional constraints… I recently acquired a CD of music for piano duo by Jeremy [...]

Conservatism Means Conservation

By |2020-01-14T10:25:40-06:00July 17th, 2016|Categories: Beauty, Conservation, Conservatism, Environmentalism, Featured, Roger Scruton, Timeless Essays|

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 [...]

Postmodern Music: Groans Wrapped in Mathematics

By |2020-04-06T15:49:26-05:00June 16th, 2016|Categories: Culture, Jazz, Modernity, Music, Opera, Roger Scruton|

The atonal music produced in the twentieth century consists largely of random outbursts that could be described as groans wrapped in mathematics. The result makes little or no sense to the ear, and these works remain more items of curiosity than objects of love, and audiences have begun to turn their backs on them. [...]

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