Sir Roger Vernon
Scruton FBA FRSL (/ˈskruːtən/; born 27 February
1944) is an English philosopher and writer who specialises in
aesthetics and political philosophy, particularly in the furtherance
of traditionalist conservative views.
Editor from 1982 to 2001 of The Salisbury Review, a conservative
Scruton has written over 50 books on philosophy,
art, music, politics, literature, culture, sexuality, and religion; he
has also written novels and two operas. His most notable publications
include The Meaning of
Conservatism (1980), Sexual Desire (1986), The
Aesthetics of Music (1997), and
How to Be a Conservative
How to Be a Conservative (2014). He
has been a regular contributor to the popular media, including The
Times, The Spectator, and the New Statesman.
Scruton embraced conservatism after witnessing the May 1968 student
protests in France. From 1971 to 1992 he was a lecturer and professor
of aesthetics at Birkbeck College, London, after which he holds
several part-time academic positions at the University of Oxford, the
University of St Andrews, as well as holding the position of Senior
Fellow at the
Ethics and Public Policy Center in the United States.
He became known in the 1980s for helping to establish underground
academic networks in Soviet-controlled Eastern Europe, for which he
was awarded the Czech Republic's Medal of Merit (First Class) by
Václav Havel in 1998.
Scruton was knighted in the
2016 Birthday Honours for "services to
philosophy, teaching and public education".
1 Early life
1.1 Family background
2.1 Birkbeck, first marriage
2.2 The Salisbury Review
2.4 Activism in Eastern Europe
3.1 Farm purchase, second marriage
3.2 Tobacco company funding
3.3 Move to the United States
3.4 Wine, opera
4 2010s: Academic posts, knighthood
5 Philosophical and political views
5.2 Arguments for conservatism
5.3 Religion and totalitarianism
5.5 English independence
6 Selected works
9 Further reading
Scruton was born in Buslingthorpe, Lincolnshire to John "Jack"
Scruton, a teacher from Manchester, and his wife, Beryl Claris Scruton
(née Haynes), and was raised with his two sisters in Marlow and High
Scruton surname had been acquired relatively recently.
Jack's father's birth certificate showed him as Matthew Lowe, after
Matthew's mother, Margaret Lowe (Scruton's great grandmother); the
document made no mention of a father. But Margaret had decided, for
reasons unknown, to raise her son as Matthew
Scruton instead. Scruton
wondered whether she had been employed at the former
Scruton Hall in
Scruton, Yorkshire, and whether that was where her child had been
Jack was raised in a back-to-back on Upper Cyrus Street, Ancoats, an
inner-city area of Manchester, and won a scholarship to Manchester
High School, a grammar school.
Scruton told The Guardian that Jack
hated the upper classes and loved the countryside, while Beryl was
fond of romantic fiction and entertaining "blue-rinsed friends". He
described his mother as "cherishing an ideal of gentlemanly conduct
and social distinction that ... [his] father set out with
considerable relish to destroy".
Scruton studied at
Jesus College, Cambridge
Jesus College, Cambridge (1962–1965 and
He became a research fellow at
Peterhouse, Cambridge (1969–1971).
Scruton lived with his parents, two sisters, and Sam the dog, in a
pebbledashed semi-detached house in Hammersley Lane, High
Wycombe. Although his parents had been brought up as
Christians, they regarded themselves as humanists, so home was a
"religion-free zone". Scruton's, indeed the whole family's,
relationship with his father was difficult. He wrote in Gentle
Regrets: "Friends come and go, hobbies and holidays dabble the
soulscape like fleeting sunlight in a summer wind, and the hunger for
affection is cut off at every point by the fear of judgement."
After passing his 11-plus, he attended the Royal Grammar School High
Wycombe from 1954 to 1962. He left school with three A-levels,
in pure and applied mathematics, physics and chemistry, which he
passed with distinction. The results won him an open scholarship in
natural sciences to Jesus College, Cambridge, as well as a state
Scruton writes that he was expelled from the school
shortly afterwards, when the headmaster found the school stage on
fire, and a half-naked girl putting out the flames, during one of
Scruton's plays. When he told his family he had won a place at
Cambridge, his father stopped speaking to him.
Having intended to study natural sciences at Cambridge—where he felt
"although socially estranged (like virtually every grammar-school
boy), spiritually at home"—
Scruton switched on the first day to
moral sciences (philosophy). He graduated in 1965, then
spent time overseas, some of it teaching at the University of Pau and
Pays de l'Adour in Pau, France, where he met his first wife, Danielle
In 1967 he began studying for his PhD at Jesus, then became a research
Peterhouse, Cambridge (1969–1971), where he lived with
Laffitte when she was not in France. It was while visiting her
during the May 1968 student protests in France that
embraced conservatism. He was in the Latin Quarter in Paris, watching
students overturn cars, smash windows and tear up cobblestones, and
for the first time in his life "felt a surge of political anger":
I suddenly realised I was on the other side. What I saw was an unruly
mob of self-indulgent middle-class hooligans. When I asked my friends
what they wanted, what were they trying to achieve, all I got back was
Marxist gobbledegook. I was disgusted by it, and
thought there must be a way back to the defence of western
civilization against these things. That's when I became a
conservative. I knew I wanted to conserve things rather than pull them
Birkbeck, first marriage
Scruton taught at Birkbeck for 21 years.
Scruton was awarded his PhD in January 1973 for a thesis entitled "Art
and imagination, a study in the philosophy of mind", supervised by
Michael Tanner and the analytic philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe.
The thesis was the basis of his first book,
Art and Imagination
(1974), which was followed by The
From 1971 he taught philosophy at Birkbeck College, London, a college
that specializes in adult education and holds its classes in the
evening. Laffitte taught French at Putney High School, and they
lived together in a
Harley Street apartment previously occupied by
Delia Smith. The couple married in 1972 but divorced in 1979.
Working at Birkbeck left Scruton's days free, so he used the time to
study law at the
Inns of Court School of Law
Inns of Court School of Law (1974–1976) and was
called to the Bar in 1978; he never practised because he was unable to
take a year off work to complete a pupillage.
Birkbeck was known for its embrace of left-wing politics.
said he was the only conservative there, except for the woman who
served meals in the Senior Common Room. In 1974, along with Hugh
Jonathan Aitken and John Casey, he became a founding member of
Conservative Philosophy Group dining club, which aimed to develop
an intellectual basis for conservatism. The historian Hugh Thomas
and the philosopher
Anthony Quinton attended meetings, as did Margaret
Thatcher before she became prime minister. She reportedly said during
one meeting in 1975: "The other side have got an ideology they can
test their policies against. We must have one as well."
Scruton's academic career at Birkbeck was blighted by his
conservatism, particularly by his third book, The Meaning of
Conservatism (1980), and later by his editorship of the
conservative Salisbury Review. He told The Guardian that his
colleagues at Birkbeck vilified him over the book. The Marxist
philosopher Jerry Cohen of
University College London
University College London reportedly
refused to teach a seminar with Scruton, although they later became
friends. He continued teaching at Birkbeck until 1992, first as a
lecturer, by 1980 as reader, and then as professor of aesthetics.
The Salisbury Review
Scruton in Prague, 2015
Scruton became founding editor of The Salisbury Review, a
journal championing traditional conservatism in opposition to
Thatcherism, which he edited until 2001. The Review was set up
by a group of Tories known as the Salisbury Group—founded in 1978 by
Diana Spearman and Robert Gascoyne-Cecil—with the involvement of
the Peterhouse Right. The latter were conservatives associated with
the Cambridge college, including Maurice Cowling, David Watkin and the
mathematician Adrian Mathias.
Scruton wrote that editing
The Salisbury Review effectively ended his
academic career in the United Kingdom. The magazine sought to provide
an intellectual basis for conservatism, and was highly critical of key
issues of the period, including the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament,
egalitarianism, feminism, foreign aid, multiculturalism and modernism.
To begin with,
Scruton had to write most of the articles himself,
using pseudonyms: "I had to make it look as though there was something
there in order that there should be something there!" He believes
that the Review "helped a new generation of conservative intellectuals
to emerge. At last it was possible to be a conservative and also to
the left of something, to say 'Of course, the Salisbury Review is
beyond the pale; but ...'"
In 1984 the Review published a controversial article by Ray Honeyford,
a headmaster in Bradford, questioning the benefits of multicultural
education. Honeyford was forced to retire because of the
article and had to live for a time under police protection. The
British Association for the Advancement of Science
British Association for the Advancement of Science accused the Review
of scientific racism, and the
University of Glasgow
University of Glasgow philosophy
department boycotted a talk
Scruton had been invited to deliver to its
Scruton believed that the incidents made his
position as a university professor untenable, although he also
maintained that "it was worth sacrificing your chances of becoming a
fellow of the British Academy, a vice-chancellor or an emeritus
professor for the sheer relief of uttering the truth".
Scruton was in fact elected a fellow of the
British Academy in
2008). In 2002 he described the effect of the editorship on his
It cost me many thousand hours of unpaid labour, a hideous character
assassination in Private Eye, three lawsuits, two interrogations, one
expulsion, the loss of a university career in Britain, unendingly
Tory suspicion, and the hatred of decent
liberals everywhere. And it was worth it.
The 1980s established
Scruton as a prolific writer. Thirteen of his
non-fiction works appeared between 1980 and 1989, as did first novel,
Fortnight's Anger (1981). The most contentious publication was
Thinkers of the New Left (1985), a collection of his essays from The
Salisbury Review, which criticized 14 prominent intellectuals,
including E. P. Thompson,
Michel Foucault and Jean-Paul Sartre.[b]
According to The Guardian, the book was remaindered after being
greeted with "derision and outrage".
Scruton said he became very
depressed by the criticism. In 1987 he founded his own publisher,
The Claridge Press, which he sold to the Continuum International
Publishing Group in 2002.
From 1983 to 1986 he wrote a weekly column for The Times. Topics
included music, wine and motorbike repair, but others were
contentious. The features editor, Peter Stothard, said that no one he
had ever commissioned had "provoked more rage".
Scruton made fun of
anti-racism and the peace movement, and his support for Margaret
Thatcher while she was prime minister was regarded, he wrote, as an
"act of betrayal for a university teacher". His first column, "The
Virtue of Irrelevance", argued that universities were destroying
education "by making it relevant": "Replace pure by applied
mathematics, logic by computer programming, architecture by
engineering, history by sociology: the result will be a new generation
of well-informed philistines, whose charmlessness will undo every
advantage which their learning might otherwise have
Scruton was also one of the rare individuals to
call for a resumption of covert CIA funding of intellectual and
cultural activities, deploring in 1985 the fact that "the CIA is now
utterly intimidated, refusing to engage even in its most honorable
occupation--the support of those publications which tell the truth
about the modern world."
Activism in Eastern Europe
Scruton on "Europe and the Conservative Cause", Budapest, September
From 1979 to 1989,
Scruton was an active supporter of dissidents in
Czechoslovakia under Communist Party rule, forging links between the
country's dissident academics and their counterparts in Western
universities. As part of the Jan Hus Educational Foundation, he and
other academics visited
Prague and Brno, now in the Czech Republic, in
support of an underground education network started by the Czech
dissident Julius Tomin, smuggling in books, organizing lectures, and
eventually arranging for students to study for a Cambridge external
degree in theology (the only faculty that responded to the request for
help). There were structured courses, samizdat translations, books
were printed, and people sat exams in a cellar with papers smuggled
out through the diplomatic bag.
Scruton was detained in 1985 in
Brno before being expelled from the
country. The Czech dissident Bronislava Müllerová watched him walk
across the border with Austria: "There was this broad empty space
between the two border posts, absolutely empty, not a single human
being in sight except for one soldier, and across that broad empty
space trudged an English philosopher, Roger Scruton, with his little
bag into Austria." On 17 June that year, he was placed on the
Index of Undesirable Persons. He writes that he was also followed
during visits to Poland and Hungary.
For his work in supporting dissidents,
Scruton was awarded the First
of June Prize in 1993 by the Czech city of Plzeň, and in 1998 he was
awarded the Czech Republic's Medal of Merit (First Class) by President
Scruton has been strongly critical of figures in
the West—in particular Eric Hobsbawm—who "chose to exonerate"
former communist regimes' crimes and atrocities. His experience of
dissident intellectual life in 1980s Communist
Prague is recorded in
fictional form in his novel Notes from Underground (2014).[citation
Farm purchase, second marriage
Scruton rented an apartment in the Albany; the rooms had previously
been Alan Clark's servants' quarters.
Scruton took a year's sabbatical from Birkbeck in 1990 and spent it
Brno in the Czech Republic. That year he registered
Central European Consulting, established to offer business advice in
post-communist Central Europe. He had been living in an apartment
in Notting Hill Gate, which he sold, and when he returned to England
rented a cottage in Stanton Fitzwarren, Swindon, from the Moonies and
an apartment in the Albany building on Piccadilly, London, from Alan
Clark (it had been Clark's servants' quarters).
From 1992 to 1995 he lived in Boston, Massachusetts, teaching an
elementary philosophy course and a graduate course on the philosophy
of music for one semester a year, as professor of philosophy at Boston
University. Two of his books grew out of these courses: Modern
Philosophy: An Introduction and Survey (1994) and The
Music (1997). In 1993 he bought Sunday Hill Farm in Brinkworth,
Wiltshire—35 acres, later increased to 100, and a 250-year-old
farmhouse—where he lived after returning from the United
While in Boston,
Scruton had flown back to
England every weekend to
indulge his passion for fox hunting, and it was during a meet of
the Beaufort Hunt that he met Sophie Jeffreys, an architectural
historian. They married in 1996 and set up home on Sunday Hill
Farm. Their two children were born in 1998 and 2000. Scruton
set up Horsells Farm Enterprises Ltd in 1999, a PR firm that included
Japan Tobacco International
Japan Tobacco International and
Somerfield Stores as clients.
He and his publisher were successfully sued for libel that year by the
Pet Shop Boys
Pet Shop Boys for suggesting that their songs were in large part the
work of sound engineers; the group settled for undisclosed
Tobacco company funding
Scruton was criticized in 2002 for having written articles about
smoking without disclosing that he was receiving a regular fee from
Japan Tobacco International
Japan Tobacco International (JTI) (formerly R. J. Reynolds). In
1999 he and his wife—as part of their consultancy work for Horshells
Farm Enterprises—began producing a quarterly briefing paper,
The Risk of Freedom Briefing (1999–2007), about the state's control
of risk. Distributed to journalists, the paper included
discussions about drugs, alcohol and tobacco, and was sponsored by
Scruton wrote several articles in defence of smoking
around this time, including one for The Times, three for The Wall
Street Journal, one for City Journal, and a 65-page pamphlet
for the Institute of Economic Affairs, WHO, What, and Why:
Trans-national Government, Legitimacy and the World Health
Organisation (2000). The latter criticized the World Health
Organization's campaign against smoking, arguing that transnational
bodies should not seek to influence domestic legislation because they
are not answerable to the electorate.
The Guardian reported in 2002 that
Scruton had been writing about
these issues while failing to disclose that he was receiving £54,000
a year from JTI. The payments came to light when a September 2001
email from the Scrutons to JTI was leaked to The Guardian. Signed by
Scruton's wife, it asked the company to increase their £4,500 monthly
fee to £5,500, in exchange for which
Scruton would "aim to place an
article every two months" in The Wall Street Journal, Times,
Telegraph, Spectator, Financial Times, Economist, Independent or New
Statesman. Scruton, who said the email had been stolen,
replied that he had never concealed his connection with JTI. In
response to The Guardian article, The Financial Times ended his
contract as a columnist, The Wall Street Journal suspended his
contributions, and the Institute for Economic Affairs said it
would introduce an author-declaration policy. Chatto & Windus
withdrew from negotiations for a book, and Birkbeck removed his
Move to the United States
The Scrutons owned Montpelier, near Sperryville, Virginia, from 2004
The tobacco controversy damaged Scruton's consultancy business in
England. In part because of that, and because the
Hunting Act 2004
Hunting Act 2004 had
banned fox hunting in
England and Wales, the Scrutons considered
moving to the United States permanently, and in 2004 they purchased
Montpelier, an 18th-century plantation house near Sperryville,
Scruton set up a company, Montpelier Strategy LLC, to
promote the house as a venue for weddings and similar. The couple
lived there while retaining Sunday Hill Farm, but decided in 2009
against a permanent move to the United States and sold the house.
Scruton held several part-time academic positions during this period.
From 2005 to 2009 he was research professor at the Institute for the
Psychological Sciences in Arlington, Virginia, a graduate school of
Divine Mercy University, and in 2009 he worked at the American
Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., where he wrote his book
Green Philosophy (2011).
From 2001 to 2009
Scruton wrote a wine column for the New Statesman,
and made contributions to
The World of Fine Wine
The World of Fine Wine and Questions of
Taste: The Philosophy of Wine (2007), with his essay "The Philosophy
of Wine". His book I Drink Therefore I am: A Philosopher's Guide to
Wine (2009) in part comprises material from his New Statesman
Scruton has also written three libretti, two set to music. The first
is a one-act chamber, The Minister, and the second a two-act
opera, Violet. The latter, based on the life of the British
harpsichordist Violet Gordon-Woodhouse, was performed twice at the
Guildhall School of Music
Guildhall School of Music in London in 2005.
2010s: Academic posts, knighthood
The Scrutons returned from the United States to make their home again
at Sunday Hill Farm in Wiltshire.
Scruton took an unpaid research
professorship at Buckingham University, and in 2010 was awarded an
unpaid visiting professorship at the
University of Oxford
University of Oxford to teach
graduate classes on aesthetics. He is a senior research fellow at
Blackfriars Hall, Oxford. In 2010 he delivered the Scottish
Gifford Lectures at the
University of St Andrews
University of St Andrews on "The Face of
God", and the following year he took up a quarter-time
professorial fellowship at St Andrews in moral philosophy.
Two novels appeared during this period: Notes from Underground (2014)
is based on his experiences in
Czechoslovakia and The Disappeared
(2015) deals with child trafficking in a Yorkshire town. Scruton
was knighted in the
2016 Birthday Honours for "services to philosophy,
teaching and public education". He sits on the editorial board of
the British Journal of Aesthetics, and is a senior fellow of the
Ethics and Public Policy Center.
Philosophical and political views
Scruton has specialised in aesthetics throughout his career. From 1971
to 1992 he taught aesthetics at Birkbeck College. His PhD thesis
formed the basis of his first book,
Art and Imagination (1974), in
which he argued that "what demarcates aesthetic interest from other
sorts is that it involves the appreciation of something for its own
Scruton has published The
Aesthetics of Architecture
(1979), The Aesthetic Understanding (1983 and 1997), The
Music (1997), and
Beauty (2010). In 2008 a two-day conference was held
Durham University to assess his impact in the field, and in 2012 a
collection of essays, Scruton's Aesthetics, was published by Palgrave
Intelligence Squared debate in March 2009,
historian David Starkey) proposed the motion: "Britain has become
indifferent to beauty" by holding an image of Botticelli's The Birth
of Venus next to one of the supermodel Kate Moss. Later that year
Scruton wrote and presented a
BBC Two documentary, Why
in which he argued that beauty should be restored to its traditional
position in art, architecture and music. He wrote that he had
received "more than 500 e-mails from viewers, all but one saying,
'Thank Heavens someone is saying what needs to be said'".
Arguments for conservatism
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Scruton is best known for his writing in support of conservatism.
His second book, The Meaning of
Conservatism (1980)—which he called
"a somewhat Hegelian defence of
Tory values in the face of their
betrayal by the free marketeers"—was responsible, he said, for
blighting his academic career.
He wrote in Gentle Regrets (2005) that he found several of Edmund
Burke's arguments in
Reflections on the Revolution in France
Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790)
persuasive. Although Burke was writing about revolution, not
Scruton was persuaded that, as he put it, the utopian
promises of socialism are accompanied by an abstract vision of the
mind that bears little relation to the way most people think. Burke
also convinced him that there is no direction to history, no moral or
spiritual progress; that people think collectively toward a common
goal only during crises such as war, and that trying to organize
society this way requires a real or imagined enemy; hence, Scruton
wrote, the strident tone of socialist literature.
Scruton further argued, following Burke, that society is held together
by authority and the rule of law, in the sense of the right to
obedience, not by the imagined rights of citizens. Obedience, he
wrote, is "the prime virtue of political beings, the disposition that
makes it possible to govern them, and without which societies crumble
into 'the dust and powder of individuality'". Real freedom, Scruton
wrote, does not stand in conflict with obedience, but is its other
side. He was also persuaded by Burke's arguments about the social
contract, including that most parties to the contract are either dead
or not yet born. To forget this, he wrote—to throw away customs and
institutions—is to "place the present members of society in a
dictatorial dominance over those who went before, and those who came
Scruton argued that beliefs that appear to be examples of prejudice
may be useful and important: "our most necessary beliefs may be both
unjustified and unjustifiable, from our own perspective, and the
attempt to justify them will merely lead to their loss." A prejudice
in favour of modesty in women and chivalry in men, for example, may
aid the stability of sexual relationships and the raising of children,
although these are not offered as reasons in support of the prejudice.
It may therefore be easy to show the prejudice as irrational, but
there will be a loss nonetheless if it is discarded.
been critical of the contemporary feminist movement, while reserving
praise for suffragists such as Mary Wollstonecraft.
Scruton discussing the
European Union and the nation state, November
In Arguments for
Conservatism (2006), he marked out the areas in which
philosophical thinking is required if conservatism is to be
intellectually persuasive. He argued that human beings are creatures
of limited and local affections. Territorial loyalty is at the root of
all forms of government where law and liberty reign supreme; every
expansion of jurisdiction beyond the frontiers of the nation state
leads to a decline in accountability.
He opposed elevating the "nation" above its people, which would
threaten rather than facilitate citizenship and peace. "Conservatism
and conservation" are two aspects of a single policy, that of
husbanding resources, including the social capital embodied in laws,
customs and institutions, and the material capital contained in the
environment. He argued further that the law should not be used as a
weapon to advance special interests. People impatient for reform—for
example in the areas of euthanasia or abortion—are reluctant to
accept what may be "glaringly obvious to others—that the law exists
precisely to impede their ambitions".
He defined post-modernism as the claim that there are no grounds for
truth, objectivity, and meaning, and therefore conflicts between views
are nothing more than contests of power, and argued that, while the
West is required to judge other cultures in their own terms, Western
culture is adversely judged as ethnocentric and racist. He wrote: "The
very reasoning which sets out to destroy the ideas of objective truth
and absolute value imposes political correctness as absolutely
binding, and cultural relativism as objectively true."
Religion and totalitarianism
Scruton contends, following Immanuel Kant, that human beings have a
transcendental dimension, a sacred core exhibited in their capacity
for self-reflection. He argues that we are in an era of
secularization without precedent in the history of the world; writers
and artists such as Rainer Maria Rilke, T. S. Eliot,
Edward Hopper and
Arnold Schoenberg "devoted much energy to recuperating the experience
of the sacred—but as a private rather than a public form of
consciousness." Because these thinkers directed their art at the few,
he writes, it has never appealed to the many.
He defines totalitarianism as the absence of any constraint on central
authority, with every aspect of life the concern of government.
Advocates of totalitarianism feed on resentment,
Scruton argues, and
having seized power they proceed to abolish institutions—such as the
law, property, and religion—that create authorities.
"To the resentful it is these institutions that are the cause of
inequality, and therefore the cause of their humiliations and
failures." He argues that revolutions are not conducted from below by
the people, but from above, in the name of the people, by an aspiring
Scruton suggests that the importance of
Newspeak in totalitarian
societies is that the power of language to describe reality is
replaced by language whose purpose is to avoid encounters with
realities. He agrees with
Alain Besançon that the totalitarian
society envisaged by
George Orwell in
Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) can
be only understood in theological terms, as a society founded on a
transcendental negation. In accordance with T. S. Eliot, Scruton
believes that true originality is only possible within a tradition,
and that it is precisely in modern conditions—conditions of
fragmentation, heresy, and unbelief—that the conservative project
acquires its sense.
Scruton considers that religion plays a basic function in
"endarkening" human minds. "Endarkenment" is Scruton's way of
describing the process of socialization through which certain
behaviours and choices are closed off and forbidden to the subject,
which he considers necessary to curb socially damaging impulses and
Scruton's Sexual Desire (1986) has been described as "the most
interesting and insightful philosophical account of sexual desire"
produced within analytic philosophy, and a challenge to the
conventional boundaries of that discipline. The philosopher
Martha Nussbaum credited
Scruton with providing "the most interesting
philosophical attempt as yet to work through the moral issues involved
in our treatment of persons as sex partners. The social theorist
Jonathan Dollimore writes that
Scruton bases a conservative sexual
ethic on the Hegelian proposition that "the final end of every
rational being is the building of the self", which involves
recognizing the other as an end in itself. According to Dollimore,
Scruton argues that the major feature of perversion is "sexual release
that avoids or abolishes the other", which he considers narcissistic
In the essay, "Sexual morality and the liberal consensus" (1989),
Scruton argues that homosexuality is a perversion because the body of
the homosexual's lover belongs to the same category as his own.
Scruton argued further that gays have no children and consequently no
interest in creating a socially stable future. He therefore considered
it justified to "instil in our children feelings of revulsion" towards
homosexuality, and in 2007 he challenged the idea that gays
should have the right to adopt.
Scruton told The Guardian in 2010
that he would no longer defend the view that revulsion against
homosexuality can be justified.
Scruton also supports
English independence because he believes
that it would uphold friendship between England, Scotland, Wales;
Northern Ireland and because the English would have a say in all
Art And Imagination: A Study in the Philosophy of Mind (1974)
The Meaning of
The Politics of Culture and Other Essays (1981)
A Short History of Modern Philosophy (1982)
A Dictionary of Political Thought (1982)
The Aesthetic Understanding: Essays in the Philosophy of
Untimely Tracts (1985)
Thinkers of the New Left (1985)
Sexual Desire: A Moral Philosophy of the Erotic (1986)
A Land Held Hostage: Lebanon and the West (1987)
Conservative Thinkers: Essays from
The Salisbury Review (1988)
Conservative Thoughts: Essays from
The Salisbury Review (1988)
Philosopher on Dover Beach: Essays (1990)
Conservative Texts: An Anthology (ed.) (1992)
Modern Philosophy: An Introduction and Survey (1994)
The Classical Vernacular: Architectural Principles in an Age of
An Intelligent Person's Guide to Philosophy (1996); republished as
Philosophy: Principles and Problems (2005)
Aesthetics of Music (1997)
On Hunting (1998)
An Intelligent Person's Guide to Modern Culture (1998); republished as
Modern Culture (2005)
England: An Elegy (2001)
The West and the Rest: Globalisation and the Terrorist Threat (2002)
Death-Devoted Heart: Sex and the Sacred in Wagner's Tristan und Isolde
(Oxford University Press, 2004)
News From Somewhere: On Settling (2004)
The Need for Nations (2004)
Gentle Regrets: Thoughts from a Life (Continuum, 2005)
Animal Rights and Wrongs (2006)
A Political Philosophy: Arguments for
Immigration, Multiculturalism and the Need to Defend the Nation State
Culture Counts: Faith and Feeling in a World Besieged (Encounter
I Drink Therefore I Am: A Philosopher's Guide to Wine (2009)
Understanding Music (2009)
The Uses of Pessimism: And the Danger of False Hope (2010)
Green Philosophy: How to Think Seriously About the Planet (2011);
revised and republished as How to Think Seriously About the Planet:
The Case for an Environmental
The Face of God: The
Gifford Lectures (2012)
Our Church: A Personal History of the Church of
The Soul of the World
The Soul of the World (2014)
How to Be a Conservative
How to Be a Conservative (2014)
Fools, Frauds and Firebrands:
Thinkers of the New Left (2015)
The Ring of Truth: The Wisdom of Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung (2016)
Confessions of a Heretic: Selected Essays (2017)
Fortnight's Anger: a novel (1981)
Francesca: a novel (1991)
A Dove Descending and Other Stories (1991)
Xanthippic Dialogues (1993)
Perictione in Colophon: Reflections of the Aesthetic Way of Life
Notes from Underground (2014)
The Disappeared (2015)
The Minister (1994).
Why Beauty Matters (BBC Two, 2009)
^ His BA was incepted as an MA in 1967.
^ The subjects of
Thinkers of the New Left are E. P. Thompson, Ronald
Dworkin, Michel Foucault, R. D. Laing, Raymond Williams, Rudolf Bahro,
Antonio Gramsci, Louis Althusser, Immanuel Wallerstein, Jürgen
Habermas, Perry Anderson, György Lukács,
John Kenneth Galbraith
John Kenneth Galbraith and
^ "Roger Scruton". A Point of View. 11 August 2013. BBC Radio 4.
Retrieved 27 February 2014.
^ Cowling, Maurice. Mill and Liberalism, Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1990, xxix.
^ Garnett, Mark; Hickson, Kevin. Conservative thinkers: The key
contributors to the political thought of the modern Conservative
Party, Oxford University Press, 2013, 113–115.
^ See Roger
^ a b c d e f g "About", roger-scruton.com, archived 31 August 2010.
^ Day, Barbara. The Velvet Philosophers, London: The Claridge Press,
^ a b "No. 61608".
The London Gazette
The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 June 2016.
p. B2. .
"The 2016 Queen's Bithday Honours List" (PDF). www.gov.uk. 10 June
^ Cumming, Naomi. "Scruton, Roger", Grove Music Online, January 2001.
^ a b c d e f g h i j Wroe, Nicholas. "Thinking for England", The
Guardian, 28 October 2000.
^ Scruton, Roger. England: An Elegy, A&C Black, 2001, 139–140.
^ England: An Elegy, 141.
^ Scruton, Roger. Gentle Regrets: Thoughts From a Life. Continuum,
^ Gentle Regrets, 89.
^ Scruton, Roger. "The New Humanism", American Spectator, March 2009.
^ Gentle Regrets, 94.
^ England: An Elegy, 25.
^ "Examination successes, 1961–62", Wycombiensian, 13(6), September
^ Gentle Regrets, 34.
^ a b c d e Edemariam, Aida. "Roger Scruton: A pessimist's guide to
life", The Guardian, 5 June 2010.
^ For the quote, Gentle Regrets, 34.
^ Scruton, Roger; Dooley, Mark. Conversations with Roger Scruton.
London & New York: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2016, 18, 35.
Scruton and Dooley 2016, 18, 35.
^ Gentle Regrets, 37.
Art and imagination, a study in the philosophy of mind", Apollo,
University of Cambridge
University of Cambridge repository.
^ a b Gentle Regrets, 39.
Scruton and Dooley 2016, 41.
^ Gentle Regrets, 57;
Scruton and Dooley 2016, 39.
^ Gentle Regrets, 45;
Scruton and Dooley 2016, 46–47.
^ Young, Hugo. One of Us, London: Pan Macmillan, 2013, 221.
^ Scruton, Roger. The Meaning of Conservatism, London: The Macmillan
Press, and Totowa, NJ: Barnes & Noble Books, 1980.
^ Goss, Maxwell. "The Joy of Conservatism: An Interview with Roger
Scruton", New Pantagruel (courtesy of orthodoxytoday.org), January
^ Gentle Regrets, 51;
Scruton and Dooley 2016, 46.
Scruton and Dooley 2016, 46.
Scruton and Dooley 2016, 39.
^ a b c Scruton, Roger. "My life beyond the pale", The Spectator, 21
^ Scruton, Roger. Conservative Thoughts: Essays from the Salisbury
Review, London: The Claridge Press, 1988.
^ Cowling 1990, xxix.
^ For the Peterhouse Right (he calls it the Peterhouse Group) and The
Salisbury Review, see Haseler, Stephen. The battle for Britain:
Thatcher and the New Liberals, London: I.B. Tauris, 1989, 138; Gentle
Scruton and Dooley 2016, 47.
^ Gentle Regrets, 59.
^ Honeyford, Ray. "Education and Race—an Alternative View", The
Daily Telegraph, 27 August 2006 (reprint of Honeyford's 1984 article).
^ Scruton, Roger. "Let's face it –
Ray Honeyford got it right on
Islam and education", The Spectator, 5 July 2014.
^ "Ray Honeyford", The Daily Telegraph, 8 February 2012.
For background on the Honeyford controversy, see Miller, Kathryn.
"Headteacher who never taught again after daring to criticise
multiculturalism", The Daily Telegraph, 27 August 2006.
Halstead, Mark. Education, Justice, and Cultural Diversity: An
Examination of the Honeyford Affair, 1984–85. Barcombe: Falmer
^ Gentle Regrets, 77.
^ "Elections to the Fellowship 2008 – British Academy".
britac.ac.uk. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
^ a b Adams, Tim. "Roger Scruton: 'Funnily enough, my father looked
very like Jeremy Corbyn'", The Guardian, 4 October 2015.
^ "The Claridge Press and Continuum", The Salisbury Review, 21–22,
2002, 56: "The
Continuum International Publishing Group is delighted
to announce the acquisition of the small, independent publishing house
Claridge Press from its proprietor, the philosopher, Professor Roger
^ "Roger Scruton",
American Enterprise Institute
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy
Research, 9 July 2009.
Scruton and Dooley 2016, 50–52.
^ Stothard, Peter. "Michael Jackson, man of 'the stagnant crowd', and
two other men",
The Times Literary Supplement, 29 June 2009.
^ Coleman, Peter (1989). The Liberal Conspiracy. New York: The Free
Press. p. 247.
^ Vaughan, David. "Roger
Scruton and a special relationship", Radio
Prague, 31 October 2010.
^ Hanley, Seán. The
New Right in the New Europe: Czech Transformation
and Right-wing politics, 1989–2006, Routledge, 2008, 47.
^ For the Jan Hus Educational Foundation, see Day 1999, 124ff.
^ Day 1999, 255.
^ a b Day 1999, 281–282; Gentle Regrets, 142.
^ Scruton, Roger (18 February 1987). "The Day of Reckoning for the
Apologists: Western collaborators with Soviet communism must be held
accountable". Los Angeles Times.
^ a b
Scruton and Dooley 2016, 109–112.
^ a b c d "Company interests", roger-scruton.com, accessed 2 September
Scruton and Dooley 2016.
^ Ross, Deborah. "Interview: Roger Scruton", The Independent, 13
^ On Hunting, 1998;
Scruton and Dooley 2016, 116.
^ Gentle Regrets, 106.
^ "About us", Horsells Farm Enterprises.
^ "Libel damages for Pet Shop Boys", BBC News, 21 December 1999.
^ a b c Gilmore, Anna and McKee, Martin. "Tobacco-control policy in
the European Union", in Eric A. Feldman and Ronald Bayer (eds.),
Unfiltered: Conflicts over Tobacco Policy and Public Health', Harvard
University Press, 2004, 254.
^ a b c Scruton, Roger. "A puff for the Scrutons", The Guardian, 28
^ The Risk of Freedom Briefing, 2000–2006, accessed 11 September
^ a b
Scruton and Dooley 2016, 140–143.
^ Scruton, Roger (16 February 2002). "Smoke Without Fire". The
^ Scruton, Roger. "A Snort of Derision at Society", The Times, 19
October 1998; Giles, Jim. "Anti-smoking academics 'funded by tobacco
firms'", New Scientist, 197(2643), 16 February 2008, 11.
^ Scruton, Roger. "A Mad World Is Assaulting Us Smokers", The Wall
Street Journal, 2 February 1998.
Scruton, Roger. "Anything Goes—Except Smoking," The Wall Street
Journal, 9 February 1998.
Scruton, Roger. "The Risks of being Risk-free", The Wall Street
Journal, 7 January 2000.
^ Scruton, Roger. "What Is Acceptable Risk?", 'City Journal, Winter
^ Scruton, Roger. WHO, What, and Why: Trans-national government,
Legitimacy and the World Health Organisation, London: Institute of
Economic Affairs, May 2000, 9–14.
^ Maguire, Kevin and Borger, Julian. "
Scruton in media plot to push
the sale of cigarettes", The Guardian, 24 January 2002.
^ Stille, Alexander. "Advocating Tobacco, On the Payroll Of Tobacco",
The New York Times, 23 March 2002.
^ Timmins, Nicholas and Williams, Frances. "Writer Failed to Declare
Tobacco Interest," Financial Times, 24 January 2002; Maguire, Kevin.
Scruton faces sack from FT over tobacco retainer", The Guardian, 25
^ Allison, Rebecca. "Wall Street Journal drops
Scruton over tobacco
cash", The Guardian, 5 February 2002; Woolf, Marie. "
Scruton sacked by
second newspaper for tobacco links", The Independent, 5 February 2002.
^ Kmietowicz, Zosia; Ferriman, Annabel. "Pro-tobacco writer admits he
should have declared an interest", British Medical Journal, 2 February
2002. doi:10.1136/bmj.324.7332.257 PMID 11823350
^ a b
Scruton and Dooley 2016, 192–193; "Welcome to Montpelier in
Rappahannock County, Virginia", web.mac.com/rogerandsophie.
Scruton and Dooley 2016, 181, 192–193.
Scruton and Dooley 2016, 183.
^ Anthony Quinn (20 December 2009). "I Drink Therefore I Am by Roger
Scruton". The Guardian.
^ "Roger Scruton". New Statesman. Retrieved 9 August 2011.
^ Scruton, Roger. "The Minister. A one-act opera in six scenes",
Boston University Libraries.
^ "Title of Visiting Professor conferred on Roger Scruton", Philosophy
Faculty, University of Oxford, accessed 27 December 2010.
^ "Academic staff", Blackfriars.
^ "The Face of God",
University of St Andrews
University of St Andrews Gifford Lectures, 25
Scruton appointed as quarter-time professorial fellow",
School of Philosophical, Anthropological and Film Studies, University
of St Andrews, accessed 27 December 2010.
^ For the latter, Murray, Douglas. "'The truth is hard': an interview
with Roger Scruton", The Spectator, 4 April 2015.
^ "Editorial board", British Journal of Aesthetics, accessed 6
^ "Roger Scruton".
Ethics and Public Policy Center. Retrieved 10
^ Samuel Todd, Cain (April 2004). "Imagination, Attitude and
Experience in Aesthetic Judgement" (PDF). Postgraduate Journal of
Aesthetics. [permanent dead link]
^ "Scruton's Aesthetics", Department of Philosophy, Durham University,
6 November 2012; Hamilton, Andy; Zangwill, Nick. Scruton's Aesthetics,
London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.
^ Bayley, Stephen. "Has Britain become indifferent to beauty?, The
Guardian, 22 March 2009.
Beauty Matters". BBC. 28 November 2009.
^ Scruton, Roger (May 2010). "On Defending Beauty". The American
Spectator. Archived from the original on 19 May 2010.
^ Freeman, Samuel. "The Enemies of Roger Scruton", New York Review of
Books, 21 April 2016.
^ Gentle Regrets, 51.
^ Norman, Jesse. "Passion, authority and the odd mini-rant:
Scruton’s conservative vision", The Spectator, 27 September 2014.
^ a b Gentle Regrets, 40–41.
^ Gentle Regrets, 43.
^ Gentle Regrets, 42.
^ Scruton, Roger. A Political Philosophy: Arguments for Conservatism,
London: Bloomsbury, 2006, 3, 19.
^ Arguments for Conservatism, 15, 34, 69.
^ Arguments for Conservatism, 106, 115, 117.
^ Dooley, Mark. Roger Scruton: The
Philosopher on Dover Beach.
Continuum, 2009, 12, 42.
^ a b Arguments for Conservatism, 142–143, 146–147, 150–153.
^ Arguments for Conservatism, 162–163, 182, 194.
^ Ireland, P. "Endarkening the mind: Roger
Scruton and the power of
law", Social & Legal Studies, 6(1), 1997, 51.
^ a b Stafford, J. Martin. "The two minds of Roger Scruton", Studies
in Philosophy and Education, 11(2), 1991, 187–193.
^ Hamilton, Christopher; Soble, Alan, Editor; Power, Nicholas P.,
Editor (2008). The Philosophy of Sex: Contemporary Readings, Fifth
Edition. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 101.
ISBN 0742547981. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
^ Janaway, Christopher; Honderich, Ted, Editor (1995). The Oxford
Companion to Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 816.
ISBN 0-19-866132-0. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list
^ Nussbaum, Martha; Soble, Alan, Editor (1997). The Philosophy of Sex,
Contemporary Readings, Third Edition. Oxford: Rowman &
Littlefield. p. 293. ISBN 0-8476-8481-4. CS1 maint:
Extra text: authors list (link)
^ Dollimore, Jonathan. Sexual Dissidence: Augustine to Wilde, Freud to
Foucault. Oxford University Press, 1991, 260–261.
^ Scruton, Roger. The
Philosopher on Dover Beach. Carcanet Press
Limited, 1990, 268.
^ Scruton, Roger. "This 'right' for gays is an injustice to children",
The Daily Telegraph, 28 January 2007.
^ "A Point of View: Should the English have a say on Scottish
independence?". BBC News. 23 February 2014. I would vote for English
independence, as a step towards strengthening the friendship between
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Roger Scruton.
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