'Classical music is a unifying tonic in a world awash with trivial noise and identity politics' The Telegraph - Aug 18

Do concert halls offer something people used to get out of church?

All over the British Isles, during the summer months, there are festivals devoted to classical music. Some have become integral parts of the national culture, like the Cheltenham Festival. Others remain small and experimental, like the festivals of Presteigne and Chipping Camden. If I had time and energy I would explore them all, since nothing delights me more than a provincial town dressed up for music. But there are books to read, articles to write, meadows to mow and animals to care for. Summer is a time when I cannot travel.

Thanks to the radio, however, I can attend the greatest summer music festival of all, that of the...

Please sign in to The Telegraph to read the full article. 

 

"The art of taking offence" The Spectator - Aug 18

The emerging witch-hunt culture would be an object of half-amused contempt, were we still protected, as we were until recently, by the robust law of libel. It is still possible to laugh at the absurdity of it all, if you sit at home, avoiding contact with ignorant and malicious people, and getting on with real life – the life beyond social media. Unfortunately, however, ignorant and malicious people have discovered a new weapon in their unremitting assault on the rest of us, which is the art of taking offence. Click to continue reading. 

National Review Interview - What it means to be a Conservative. July 18

Sir Roger Scruton speaks to Madeleine Kearns for The National Review. The full interview can be found online HERE.

The celebrated philosopher talks to National Review about what conservatism is, isn’t, and ought to be.

Madeleine Kearns: In your most recent book, Conservatism: An Invitation to the Great Tradition, you provide a distilled synthesis of modern conservative thought. First, I’d like to begin with your book’s last chapter, “Conservatism Now,” in which you reference William F. Buckley Jr.’s first book, God and Man at Yale (1951). In that book, which arguably launched the conservative movement in America, a 24-year-old Buckley wrote: “I believe that if and when the menace of Communism is gone, other vital battles, at present subordinated, will emerge to the foreground. And the winner must have help from the classroom.”

Do you think Buckley was correct? If so, what are these “other vital battles”?

Sir Roger Scruton: Yes, Buckley was right. There is the vital battle to defend fundamental institutions, such as marriage and the family, and to counter the censorship of all opinions that express an attachment to our cultural and political inheritance.

MK: The second half of God and Man at Yale’s title is “The Superstitions of Academic Freedom.” Is academic freedom a superstition?

SRS: No, but professors praise it without really believing in it. They do not grant freedom to those who threaten them intellectually or ideologically. This has been documented by people like Roger Kimball, and it has certainly been my experience.

'What Trump Doesn't Get About Conservatism' The New York Times, July 18

I have devoted a substantial part of my intellectual life to defining and defending conservatism, as a social philosophy and a political program. Each time I think I have hit the nail on the head, the nail slips to one side and the hammer blow falls on my fingers.

Like many others, both conservative and liberal, I did not foresee the political career of Donald Trump, nor did I imagine that such a man could occupy the highest office of state, in the name of a party that specifically makes appeal to conservative voters. Is this simply an aberration, or are there some deep links that tie the president to the great tradition of thought that I describe in my recent book, “Conservatism: An Invitation to the Great Tradition”?

'Kant vs cant: How liberals lost their way' - Spectator Life, June 18

I recently attended an academic seminar, along with some of the most thoughtful and distinguished members of what is sometimes called the ‘liberal establishment’. The topic was ‘the crisis of liberalism’. Many of those present believed that there is such a crisis, and that it is caused by the inability of liberal ideas to prevail over the growing threat of ‘populism’. The thing called populism is amorphous and eludes every attempt to define it. However it is out there and ready to pounce, as it did with the election of Donald Trump, with the vote for Brexit, and with the recent emergence of the Italian Five Star Movement, the German AfD and the National Rally in France, formerly the Front National.

Whether or not there is such a thing as populism, there is certainly such a thing as liberalism. It is associated with the great names of Enlightenment thinking, including Locke, Montesquieu, Hume, Kant and Smith, according to whom the business of government is not to gratify autocratic power, but to maintain individual liberty. Liberalism is the philosophy of limited government. It seeks to reconcile the liberty of citizens with the equal liberty of their neighbours. It has an ideal of civic patriotism, which unites us in a shared commitment to defending the government that protects us all. It leads of its own accord to democratic institutions, since it aims to make government accountable to the people.

The modern dog's life: two families, two homes and a commute - The Times, April 18

There’s nothing like a second home in the country to ease the stress and strain of urban life. After a few weeks marching up and down the Kings Road and listening to the latest Hurlingham Club gossip at home in Fulham, Paddy Paterson is running up the steps to Paddington station and steaming towards the train that will take him into the green heart of Wiltshire. Here his lungs will be filled not with dusty city life, but with air so fresh it will make him sneeze. He is lulled into dribbly dreams by the motion of the train and the thought of the 100 acres that he’ll roll across at the end of this regular journey.

Luckily there are fewer rules outside London society,…Click HERE to read the full article. 

 

'How to Build a Skyline at Human Scale' - The American Conservative, May 18

Buildings touch the ground, and the business of resting on the ground, rather than crushing, mutilating, or annihilating it, is one fundamental part of the architectural task. But buildings also touch the sky, and in doing so they create one of the most significant boundaries in our world—the skyline, which is the boundary between the city and the heavens.

'Loyalty as a Virtue' - Legatum Institute 10 May 18

Loyalty is a fundamental virtue on which we all depend for survival because it ties families, communities and nations together. In defining, loyalty Sir Roger distinguished between personal loyalty, which is a vow such a marriage vow or families ties and national loyalty, which is a contractual commitment. The motivation for loyalty may be practical where the commitment is rational and deliberate or sentimental where the commitment may remain despite a cost or disadvantage. Above all, loyalty is a commitment to one's duty which may include family, friendship, career, religion or country.

In order to uphold to the personal and national loyalties which our country will always depend, Sir Roger said we must embrace virtues such as courage, collaboration, wisdom, commitment and honesty. 

Click here to read the full transcript. 

'Bottled inspiration' Spectator Life - April 18

Wine was revered in ancient times as the work of a god. Its subsequent place at the heart of our civilisation justifies that attitude. Wine has been, for us, a glowing threshold through which we pass from work to play, from business to friendship, and from means to ends. In due course wine became an essential part of the sacrament that defines the Christian religion, singled out by Christ himself as the right way to honour him, to be taken at communion in remembrance of his sacrificial death. Through all our art and literature wine displays its distinctive light, offering shared moments of joy, and shining a light of forgiveness on our everyday misconduct.

Kathy Wilkes Memorial Conference

Exploring Identity: Political and Philosophical
Dr Kathy Wilkes was a Fellow of St Hilda's from 1973 until her death in 2003. She was one of the College's most distinguished female academics, who worked in an interdisciplinary way before this became fashionable. In particular, Dr Wilkes was a philosopher who was informed by experimental work in psychology. As well as a distinguished philosopher, she was a well-known supporter of academics struggling under communism in Eastern Europe. She played an important part in the so-called Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia. President Vaclav Havel awarded her the Commemorative Medal of the President of the Czech Republic in October 1998. Later, she lived in Dubrovnik and supported the Croatians in their war for independence. For her efforts she was made an honorary citizen of Dubrovnik (and a plaque in her honour can be found just outside the city walls). For all her achievements - philosophical and political - St Hilda's College has much to be proud of in Kathy Wilkes. This conference is to honour her achievements

If you would like to watch the conference, please follow this LINK 

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Latest Articles

'Classical music is a unifying tonic in a world awash with trivial noise and identity politics' The Telegraph - Aug 18

Do concert halls offer something people used to get out of church? All over the British Isles, during the summer months, there are festivals devoted to classical music. Some have...

"The art of taking offence" The Spectator - Aug 18

The emerging witch-hunt culture would be an object of half-amused contempt, were we still protected, as we were until recently, by the robust law of libel. It is still possible...

National Review Interview - What it means to be a Conservative. July 18

Sir Roger Scruton speaks to Madeleine Kearns for The National Review. The full interview can be found online HERE. The celebrated philosopher talks to National Review about what conservatism is, isn’t, and...

'What Trump Doesn't Get About Conservatism' The New York Times, July 18

I have devoted a substantial part of my intellectual life to defining and defending conservatism, as a social philosophy and a political program. Each time I think I have hit...

Recent Books

Souls in the Twilight

Beaufort Books  (October 2018) As the lights that have guided us go out, people begin to wander in the twilight, seeking their place of belonging. In these stories, set in...

Music as an Art

Bloomsbury  (August 2018) Music as an Art begins by examining music through a philosophical lens, engaging in discussions about tonality, music and the moral life, music and cognitive science and German...

Where We Are: The State of Britain Now

Where We Are: The State of Britain Now

Bloomsbury (November 2017) Addressing one of the most politically turbulent periods in modern British history, philosopher Roger Scruton asks how, in these circumstances, we can come to define our identity,...

2018 Events

20 Sept - Prayer Book Society Conference, Cirencester

4-12 Oct - America

17-19 October - Germany