What does it mean to be a conservative in an age so sceptical of conservatism? How can we live in the presence of our 'canonized forefathers' at a time when their cultural, religious and political bequest is so routinely rejected? With soft left-liberalism as the dominant force in Western politics, what can conservatives now contribute to public debate that will not be dismissed as pure nostalgia? In this highly personal and witty book, renowned philosopher Roger Scruton explains how to live as a conservative in spite of the pressures to exist otherwise. Drawing on his own experience as a counter-cultural presence in public life, Scruton argues that while humanity might survive in the absence of the conservative outlook, it certainly wont flourish. How to be a Conservative is not only a blueprint for modern conservatism. It is a heartfelt appeal on behalf of old fashioned decencies and values, which are the bedrock of our weakened, but still enduring civilization.
Roger Scruton is a voice of reason with rare insight and wisdom in an age of fuddled thinking and cliché. He examines this subject with dispassionate enquiry that is no rabid right wing manifesto. His writing is like a detox to cleanse our rear view mirror by examining the evidence throughout the 20th century of the failures of the left’s social and economic programme.
Professor Scruton points to the evidence around the world which highlights its failures as a benign social and economic programme. However he does point to socialism’s truths as well as its falsehoods just as he cites the value and failures of capitalism.
You feel he’s not engaged in scoring but trying to discover some philosophical foundation of conservatism; that we destroy things at our peril; that incremental non ideological reform is preferable to wholesale destruction by the revolutionary theories propounded by the far left.
A man of prodigious learning and genuine humility who is both willing and able to confront the most cherished assumptions of the left with evidence based argument. He quietly destroys their major premises with historical reference and rational evaluation.
The book should be mandatory reading for all open minds to re-evaluate our perspective on the broad political canvas that informs our thinking. He makes the case for philosophical conservatism which is difficult to counter.
It’s the antidote to the stream of views put forward by the Guardianista chattering classes. He does not proclaim a crude right wing free market philosophy, his thinking is far more nuanced and informed. Conservatism has had bad press in the 20th century …
Roger Scruton presents it in a far more dynamic and progressive light, one that accords with most peoples views on society and its values. Open minds will gain some insight from this book, only the ideologues on the left will not look to recalibrate and think these broad perspectives afresh.
–Amazon Review by Philip