The Meaning of Conservatism (Pelican) Paperback – 28 Aug 1980
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'...a marvellously lucid writer.' - Seamus Perry, Politics
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
ROGER SCRUTON is an academic philosopher who has been Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck College London and at Boston University, Massachusetts. He is a writer and journalist and has published over twenty books, including philosophy, political theory, criticism and novels. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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This is both a thoughtfully written and thought provoking book which should be compulsory reading for anyone interested in modern politics. Every subject that Scruton touches upon has obviously been deeply considered by him, and for this reason I have found this work not only interesting, but also a stimulus to deeper reflection on the nature of society and its institutions, even though I don't always agree with the views that he expresses. Although it is only two hundred pages long, this book covers a wide variety of topics, with chapters entitled The Conservative Attitude, Authority and Allegiance, Constitution and the State, Law and Liberty, Property, Alienated Labour, The Autonomous Institution, Establishment, and The Public World. There is also a philosophical appendix dealing with the subject of Liberalism versus Conservatism. These are issues central to politics today, and Roger Scruton's intelligent treatment of them makes this a worthy addition to the bookshelf of anyone who has a serious interest in public affairs.
With the Sixties, all these assumptions were turned on their head; everything was challenged, and much that was good and noble was like the proverbial baby thrown out with the bath water. For conservatives, it is sufficient to demonstrate that these instutions, tradtions, and histories worked; the fact that they worked is dogmatic, not theoretical or possible, but true and sure. Naturally, some of the assumptions and instutitions at the time of the Sixties were in need of reform, but for the most part, these reforms have begotten us worst institutions than preceded them.
Some of the subjects of which Scruton addresses are authority and allegiance, constitution and state, law and liberty, property, alienated labor, autonomous institutions, and the Establishment. He addresses all the familiar gripes by the Far Left in an intelligent and able manner. By the book's end, I couldn't tell whether Scruton was a "conservative" or what these days goes by "communitarian." In many ways, the notions overlap, and those wanting a thorough-going understanding of either "concept" will enjoy reading this short, but fulsome, book.
This book sets out to presents a coherent, modern view of conservatism as an ideology. The book is thoughtful and has made me realise a certain amount of complexity that doesn't existing if your frame all issues on the classical liberalism-socialism continuum. I am not sure the author is 100% successful in describing the conservative ideology, but he certainly made me think.
If you are interested in political ideologies this is a must read. You do not need to agree with the author, but in fairness you should expose yourself to the ideas.