Scruton argues that the tragedies and disasters of the history of the European continent have been the consequences of a false optimism and the fallacies that derive from it. In place of these fallacies, Scruton mounts a passionate defence of both civil society and freedom. He shows that the true legacy of European civilisation is not the false idealisms that have almost destroyed it - in the shapes of Nazism, fascism and communism - but the culture of forgiveness and irony which we must now protect from those whom it offends. The Uses of Pessimism is a passionate plea for reason and responsibility, written at a time of profound change.
Roger Scruton is currently Research Professor for the Institute for the Psychological Sciences where he teaches philosophy at their graduate school in both Washington and Oxford. He is a writer, philosopher and public commentator. He has specialised in aesthetics with particular attention to music and architecture. He engages in contemporary political and cultural debates from the standpoint of a conservative thinker and is well known as a powerful polemicist. He has written widely in the press on political and cultural issues.