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on 4 January 2015
This is not, of course, a political manifesto more a series of brilliant fragments of commentary on the state we are in.
The country has been moronized and degraded in virtually every sense since 1945.
Very tight controls over the content of what can be said has gone fist-in-glove with an obsession with everything global and international as a panacea. The rise of television is emblematic. The pain people feel with their lives and the world is soothed by TV as by some opiate. No government can now do without TV as a means of propaganda, social control and uniformity. People are in key senses now servile - servile to (Left) opinion, tastes, outlook, prejudices, ideology, vacuity. Never have people been so effectively disenfranchised. Never have people begged more to be enslaved - even Rome's enemies expressed a desire for freedom.
Scruton is really the first important Right intellectual figure in Britain, in recent years, to gain traction and a following by engaging with these issues.
The project might be called the counter-revolution to re-establish our borders, language and culture.
Scruton makes a fascinating reference to the Ummah and ijima of the Muslims (the search for unity and consensus) which I think explains much of the elites bahaviour in recent years. The Left has become obsessed with the violence, fanaticism and ideology of radical Islam which they see as a useful tool to hammer what remains of the Christianity and independence they hate so much. They stress that 'we all agree' as the modus operandi which reflects the Muslim view that we are all part of the one society of believers. Let's all hold hands and sing 'we are the world.'
Make no mistake - those at the top are radicals in every respect, for others that is, not themselves.
An outstanding collection of essays.
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on 12 August 2006
Scruton covers numerous themes to outline the conservative view, areas covered are interesting and varied, it is fortunately not merely a tick box outline of oft repeated conservative platitudes. Following on from this it must be recognised that Scruton seeks to emphasise broad conservative themes and principles, as opposed to offering policy solutions to current problems. However undoubtedly this was not his intention, and lack of specific recommendations does little to lesson the impact of the vast majority of chapters (however regarding the environment it is not completely clear how he plans to reconcile his understandable environmental concerns with his equally understandable antipathy of transnational institutions).

There are elements within this book which both appeal and question the right and left of British politics. Scruton's conservative philosophy would question the faith many conservatives now have in globalisation and in the unfettered operation of the free market, reminding them of the loss of sovereignty and socio-cultural cohesion that this would inevitably entail. Scruton also covers the issue of animal rights, marriage, abortion and euthanasia and postmodernism his comments in these areas raise important questions as to the future of politics in this country.
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on 20 February 2007
Former Dutch prime minister Abraham Kuyper said that the difference between liberals and conservatives was ten years. If Scruton was read and adopted by Conservatives today we would see some clear blue water. He is a philosopher so do not expect an easy read but you will find a most rewarding one. Scruton starts with citizenship in a nation state as fundamental. He is no admirer of any sovereignty above the nation for that is where loyalty stops. Conservatism should mean the conserving of nature. Environmental concerns are not limited to the left. Animals are friends we can eat. Humans are not merely higher animals. Their lives must be protected from predatory apostles of euthanasia. Marriage is fundamental to the stability of society. It is more than a mere contract but I do not accept his high Anglican assertion that it is a sacrament. Scruton does not seem conversant with the Protestant covenantal view of marriage. He gives us a good critique of the cultural negativity of post-modernism. He enlightens one with his analysis of religion before and after the Enlightenment and rightly contends that religion must be studied not merely for its utility but for its claims to truth. His analysis of totalitarianism, particularly the power plan that is Marxism is masterful. "It is not the truth of Marxism that explains the willingness of intellectuals to believe it, but the power that it confers on intellectuals, in their attempts to control the world. And since, as Swift says, it is futile to reason someone out of a thing that he was not reasoned into, we can conclude that Marxism owes its remarkable power to survive every criticism to the fact that it is not a truth-directed but a power-directed system of thought.". Eurospeak is exposed as the current Newspeak though he omits the most fundamental of all Eurospeak, to hijack the Euro preface for the E.U. alone and to remove it from Europe as a whole. So I am labelled a Europhobe when what I fear is not Europe but the E.U. Evil is seen as more than humans being bad. Sexual evil is brilliantly analysed.Finally Eliot is critiqued as the literary apostle of Scruton's conservatism. This is a good book to encourage political thought beyond the realm of present day pragmatism.
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on 4 October 2006
As I write this review, the 2006 Conservative Party conference is drawing to a close. Some of our political pundits (in The Daily Telegraph and The Daily Mail) are bewailing the lack of substance, by which they mean detailed Conservative policies. Others (Daniel Finkelstein in The Times and Simon Jenkins in The Guardian) are arguing that substance is no longer necessary in a 21st century political party, only style. Substance? Style? Philosophy -- what the Conservatives need to do is to articulate their philosophy and Professor Scruton's book provides them admirably with the wherewithal to do so. He has succeeded in this not once, but twice. See The Meaning of Conservatism (1980). The Conservative Party should read him this time and take advantage of the gift he is offering them.
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on 12 September 2007
As a social democrat I approached this book in order to get a better idea of the kernel of conservative thought. It would be wrong for me to criticise this book on the basis that I do not agree with Roger Scruton's outlook. By the same token, in saying that I rather liked his presentation of conservative values I do not mean to endorse his views.

The most important feature of this book is to redefine the important difference between Burkean conservatism and free-market "conservatism" which is proprerly termed liberalism. (This is not to be confused with the American usage of the term where liberal means left-of-centre.)
This important difference is worth bearing in mind because the free-market liberalism of low-taxation, the minimal state and business-friendliness is at odds with Burkean notion of the contract between generations dead, living and unborn. This is a touchstone to which Scruton comes back time and again throughout the book. Specifically, big business is unable to cope with issues of animal welfare and moral limits to consumerism. There is no market-conservative argument against pornography while Tory conservatives are so equipped to provide a critique.

My only specific criticisms of the book are twofold: one is that while Roger Scruton is entitled to his views on same-sex marriage, he really ought to lay out a much better case against than he does. If there is a conservative objection to same sex marriage his one-and-a-half page throwawy aside is not it. If social stability is a worthwhile public good, then extending this structure beyond the standard heterosexual couple would seem to be a legitimate aim. If it is not, Scruton has not fully explained why. Such a serious and urgent matter deserves a proper discussion if the humanity of those involved is to be respected (if not agreed with). The second is that Roger Scruton seems to accept the general validity of the Enlightenment but does not present a good definition of where and why he thinks the Enlightenment project should be delimited: Scruton seems endorse a picture of the world as it was about 1910. Then what?

This book will be of interest to those on both sides of the political divide.
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on 14 December 2011
This is an important resource, as it lays out a eleven essays on the basis for conservative thinking. In today's global networked world, information and links are prevalent to all the latest opinion and statistics. However, these lack a coherence and dissolved into a white noise effect. What does endures is a body of work that provides a foundation. This is not a type, to reshape the world into a Utopia where people are assigned to their roles according to the PLAN, but instead, as Mr. Scruton puts it in the chapter on "Conserving Nature", a living inter-generation trust develops to preserve social capital at a local level. Highly recommended.
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on 3 September 2009
I got this book as a parting gift from my Philosophy lecturer at college. As a keen Tory I was very interested in reading it. In the book the author looks at a series of questions and explains the conservative argument for each of them. It's a fairly short book and can be finished within a few days, making it a great introduction to conservatism if you don't know about it. Perfect to lend to people so that they can see where you're coming from.
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on 8 April 2007
This book is essential reading for those who take the content and the expression of conservative thought seriously. It adds to and reinforces earlier writings on a similar theme. The present book contains eleven essays and lectures, most of which have been published elsewhere, but are now conveniently combined in a single volume. Arguments for Conservatism expounds a political philosophy, which derives its inspiration from a wide variety of literary sources and seminal figures. Its complex arguments demand careful and unhurried exploration. Those who may be inclined to read this book quickly or superficially will be disappointed, because it expounds a conservative philosophy that is both complex and profound and, therefore, requires careful and dedicated attention. It is a book to study, to savour, and then to read again. Scruton has made an invaluable contribution to conservative thought and I trust that those in the modern Conservative Party, who are responsible for formulating current policy, will make an effort to read this book with some care, and thus derive some measure of practical inspiration from its self-evident scholarship. We are indeed most fortunate in having a philosopher of Scruton's ability to articulate conservative thought with such clarity and certainty. Stuart Hopkins
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on 11 August 2006
Another brilliant tour-de-force from Roger Scruton. The analysis of the totalitarianism in terms of the psychology and politics _resentment_ and the debunking of EU-Speak are high points but there is fine stuff from cover to cover.
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on 30 August 2007
Roger Scruton articulates a compassionate and tolerant world view rooted in an understanding of tradition and enlightenment. His style is easy to read and his articulation of complex arguments is brilliant.
Anyone of any political persuasion could read this book and gain from it. With so much 'liberal'left opinion rooted in intolerance, people of the left (of whom I was one once) could gain much from hearing the arguments in this book and reflecting again on their world view.
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