Remembering Sir Roger Scruton

Roger Scruton, Wiltshire, England, November 2011
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A great thinker does not need the endorsement of others. Before the content of his thoughts, which, if they happen to point to truths, his ability stands itself as the gift exemplified. Sir Roger Scruton (27 February 1944 -12 January 2020) shall be remembered as one such thinker.

My own interest in his thinking started rather recently. It was through coming across some of his quotes on Twitter, further investigating through some videos on YouTube, and then, reading some of his work. The recent times made his thinking especially of appeal because they stand stable, clear, and reminiscent of matters so easily taken for granted or entirely forgotten. His thoughts on art, aesthetics, and conservatism are obviously notable. These will remain worthy of attention. He speaks in ways and of matters that are timeless. And this timelessness is the appeal and memory of Sir Roger Scruton.

Remembering Sir Roger Scruton through some of his interviews, discussions, and lectures

Remembering Sir Roger Scruton through some of his memorable quotes

“A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is ‘merely relative,’ is asking you not to believe him. So don’t.”

— Roger Scruton (Modern Philosophy: An Introduction and Survey)

“Beauty is vanishing from our world because we live as though it did not matter.”

— Roger Scruton (Beauty)

“Take away religion, take away philosophy, take away the higher aims of art, and you deprive ordinary people of the ways in which they can represent their apartness. Human nature, once something to live up to, becomes something to live down to instead. Biological reductionism nurtures this ‘living down’, which is why people so readily fall for it. It makes cynicism respectable and degeneracy chic. It abolishes our kind, and with it our kindness.”

— Roger Scruton (Face of God: The Gifford Lectures)

“Richard Dawkins and his followers have recycled the theory of evolution not as a biological theory but as a theory of everything – of what the human being is, what human communities are, what our problems are and how they’re not really our problems, but the problems of our genes: we’re simply answers that our genes have come up with, and it’s rather awful to be the answer to someone else’s question, especially when that thing is not a person at all. Nevertheless people swallow that.”

— Roger Scruton (The Soul of the World)

“Conservatism starts from a sentiment that all mature people can readily share: the sentiment that good things are easily destroyed, but not easily created.”

— Roger Scruton (How to Be a Conservative)

“How to Be a Conservative” is the book I was reading last night. Roger speaks of his father, Jack Scruton, at the very beginning. He speaks of his father’s love of the old England that was being lost, and how Margaret Thatcher came as revivifying, fresh energy for the conservative thinkers. He speaks of how he became interested in politics after philosophy. I think, if you wish to really honor and remember the man, Sir Roger Scruton, then it is well to read his works. Then, make those works, his thoughts the subject of examination, thinking, and mature discussions. This would honor the man, Roger, who needs no endorsement, for he was a great thinker.

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