on 18 February 2010
"The Roger Scruton Reader" affords a rare insight into what conservatism can look like as philosophy rather than as practical politics. For this reason alone it is worth reading, but its great value lies in Scruton's comprehensive and clear reading of political philosophy with even a word of small praise for Marx. Like most modern conservatives he holds to tradition as a received wisdom of common sense and argues that the broken tradition leads to the broken society - and it is quite clear that he also believes that Western civilization and especially England has gone over the cliff. It is hard not to disagree with much of his vision of a very superficial and ephemeral society, based in a consumer society of questionable or no values. His essays on music and aesthetics are very good. However, on subjects like hunting and opposition to immigration Scruton is somehow too convinced to be convincing.There is more than a suspicion that he would like the England of his boyhood restored unchanged.