By Prof. John Haldane, First Things, 18 January 2020
The death of Sir Roger Scruton has deprived academic aesthetics of one of its most creative, insightful, and wide-ranging practitioners. Roger was one of a kind: poetic, courageous, and funny. We have lost a truly great figure, but his writings remain to nourish, encourage, and educate those who value the humane conversation of mankind and the wisdom philosophy can bring to it.
I first got to know Roger forty years ago at London University’s Birkbeck College, where he was lecturing in philosophy and I was studying it. He was not one of my teachers, but I learned a good deal from listening to him in various settings—including reading parties at Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park.
Eventually Roger left the academy to give himself wholly to writing, public lecturing, broadcasting, and afflicting the comfortable in the prevailing liberal-socialist establishment. Michael Dummett and Bernard Williams were leading members of the tribe that Roger taunted (sometimes needlessly), and this led to a long delay in his merited election to the Fellowship of the British Academy. In fact, however, he and Williams had much in common as philosophers.
Roger Scruton, perhaps the greatest philosopher of the 20th century, has died. He has left a vast trove of philosophical writing that will require inexhaustible study. It is significant that the left did all it could to destroy him. His FOOLS, FRAUDS AND FIREBRANDS: THINKERS OF THE NEW LEFT (2005) is among his most powerful books. The Edmund Burke Society strongly recommends this book to gain an understanding of left’s motivations over the last 60 years.
EPPC Mourns Death of Sir Roger Scruton
January 13, 2020, Ethics and Public Policy Center
The Ethics and Public Policy Center mourns the death of EPPC Senior Fellow Sir Roger Scruton, who died on Sunday, January 12, at age 75.
“We grieve the loss of our brilliant colleague Roger Scruton. We are deeply grateful that Roger made EPPC his American think-tank home for the past seven years. He has left a remarkably robust intellectual legacy,” said EPPC President Ed Whelan.
The author of more than 50 books on topics such as art, music, architecture, conservation, philosophy, and religion, Sir Roger was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2016 for his “services to philosophy, teaching and public education.” In 2019, he earned recognition from the governments of Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic for his courageous anti-communist efforts and his legacy of moral and intellectual leadership.
Roger Scruton, the world’s preeminent conservative philosopher, gave an analysis on BBC radio of what Donald Trump’s victory in the US elections means – for America and the world. Many conservatives would agree with him on most points of his analysis but would differ on his estimation of Trump’s political understanding and his ability to lead, which is low.
Some of us do not think his character so much worse than many people we meet in our daily lives. Trump’s fault is that he is more open and vulgar about it. To repeat the reply of many men and women to the charge of misogyny based on the ‘locker room talk’, Bill Clinton went one up on Trump by doing far more than verbally abusing women.
On the question of leadership and political understanding, there is no necessary logical connection between bad character and bad policy – something Scruton would readily admit. In fact, Trump has extensive experience in leadership and negotiation, all in the rough and tumble of business. Not a bad grounding.
Trump may not succeed as president of America, but nothing in his experience and character would seem to make him less fit than many who pursue a career in politics. Indeed, he would seem to have an advantage over most, for no other reason than that he understands his constituency and is not afraid to defend them.