How To Be A Conservative


How To Be A Conservative
By Roger Scruton
Bloomsbury – £20.00

So here it is, another election riddled with foregone conclusion.

So what on earth happened to social justice? Any semblance of the truth? Not to mention that small but highly significant item known as the NHS?
Oh I see, greed and a nation of gullibility got in the way – well that’s fair enough then.

It does indeed seem, that nigh all of the people can be fooled nigh all of the time; of which this quizzical, entertaining, exceedingly well written yet at times, preposterous book, is a pristine example.

With regards the election of 2015, one could, if actually sound of mind, holler the words: ”Forgive them lord, for the electorate know not what they do.” Although such ought absolutely not be the case when it comes to the transparently super intelligent, academic writer and philosopher, Roger Scruton.

A mere few pages into the highly readable How To Be A Conservative, it becomes immediately apparent as to why gullibility, and to a certain extent, greed, currently reigns supreme throughout the United Kingdom. Reason being, Scruton writes from that of an overtly defensive premise, wherein every single path of decency and humanity is surely of a conservative persuasion.

If one is deluded, this would be fine.
If one is, dare I actually mention it, sensible, this is clearly complete bollocks.

The very opening gambit of this book’s first chapter (‘My Journey’) reads as follows: ”It is not unusual to be a conservative. But it is unusual to be an intellectual conservative. In both Britain and America some 70 per cent of academics identify themselves as ‘on the left,’ while the surrounding culture is increasingly hostile to traditional values, or to any claim that might be made for the high achievements of Western civilization. Ordinary conservatives – and many, possibly most, people fall into this category – are constantly told that their ideas and sentiments are reactionary, prejudiced, sexist or racist. Just by being the thing they are they offend against the norms of inclusiveness and non-discrimination. Their honest attempts to live by their lights, raising families, enjoying communities, worshipping their gods, and adopting a settled and affirmative culture – these attempts are scorned and ridiculed by the Guardian class. In intellectual circles conservatives therefore move quietly and discreetly, catching each other’s eyes across the room like the homosexuals in Proust, whom that great writer compared to Homer’s gods, known only to each other as they move in disguise around the world of mortals.

Is it that unusual to be ”an intellectual conservative”?
Traditional values: what are traditional values? Or more pertinently: what does Roger Scruton deem ”as traditional values”?
Do most ordinary people really fall into the category of being ”ordinary conservatives”?
By ”being the thing they are,” may well account for some people being ”reactionary, prejudiced, sexist or racist.” Just as ”being the thing they are,” may also account for others being complacent or callous, funny or frigid, sexy or stupid. The list is endless… And?
If someone is ”racist or sexist,” or an all round unpleasant maggot, then yes, they will naturally offend ”by being the thing are they.” This is blatantly obvious. This is human nature.
”Honest attempts to live by their lights.” Is David Cameron honest? Is Rome old? Is anyone in the conservative party (or any party come to that) actually honest?
”Scorned by the Guardian class.” Really? Or is Scruton being just a little too defensive for his own good here?
”Quietly and discreetly”? Boris Johnson?
”Homosexuals in Proust”? Oh please. I did say this book was entertaining.
”[…] in disguise around the world of mortals.” Hmmm; is William Hague mortal? Is Roger Scruton an all round good egg (who means well)?
Is How To Be A Conservative a brilliant template for that what actually transpired last night?

Forgive him lord, for he quintessentially know not…

David Marx


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