Religions offer membership. They fill the void in the human heart with the mystical presence of the group, and if they do not provide this benefit they will wither and die, like the religions of the ancient world during the Hellenistic period. It is therefore in the nature of a religion to protect itself from rival groups and the heresies that promote them.
When David Cameron asked the British people to vote on whether to leave the European Union, he did his utmost to persuade us that the question was a purely economic one: would we be better off in the union or out of it? And he assembled teams of experts to warn about the economic cost if we decided to leave.
For many ordinary citizens, however, the question was not about economics at all. It was about identity and sovereignty. For such people matters were at stake that the politicians had systematically marginalised, and which were more important to them than all the economic and geopolitical arguments.
Their question was not: what will make us better off, but rather: who are we, where are we, what…
The full article is available in PDF format HERE.
A crisp, autumnal morning in the Vale of Malmesbury, 80 miles west of London. Watery skies, clay soil, and gentle hills quilted with the ancient pattern of cows and sheep, hedges and coppices, stone farmhouses and industrial barns. At Sunday Hill Farm in Brinkworth, the range was fired up early, and the kitchen is busy. Half a dozen apple pies are cooling on the table, a partially carved leg of cold lamb waits on the sideboard, and a dog dances under everyone’s feet. The annual Apple Festival begins in just over an hour’s time.
Patrick Wright meets the philosopher Sir Roger Scruton, who argues that the EU has encroached on the fundamentals of Englishness: the landscape, and the common law.
And he hears from others who question the idea that the European Union has encroached in this way, including Martha Spurrier, the Director of Liberty, author Robert Winder, and Greg and Teresa Malciewicz, editor and publisher of UK-based Polish-language weekly New Time.
Producer: Phil Tinline.
Listen back HERE
According to Roger Scruton, traditions and attachments to place and home are precious as they give order and meaning to life. They fill a basic human need. Once destroyed, they cannot be brought back…
G.K. Chesterton famously wrote “The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” What he meant, of course, is that travel awards us the chance of returning home with fresh eyes for its merits and a deeper appreciation thereof. It is of little surprise that this mental twister should emanate from Chesterton’s pen just as it is not surprising that it should be written by an Englishman, pampered by the rich history and bucolic beauty of his country. Yet such “home coming” took on a new form when twenty vacationers descended on Cirencester in Gloucestershire this past August to attend Scrutopia, a summer school hosted by Sir Roger Scruton. With the exception of one Englishman attending the course, the group of twenty, consisting of one Portuguese, one Polish, and two Norwegian participants and a diverse group of Americans, including me, came to discover a veritable “home” in a foreign place, a mental twist with a poetic crescendo.
Monuments to the victims of fascism exist everywhere, but communism’s victims are hardly remembered at all.
As we approach the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, it is fitting to ask whether we have learned what it tells us about its ideological root. Do we now appreciate that the Marxist ideology destroys legal order, political opposition and human rights? Do we have some idea of the death toll that has in every case followed the triumph of the ‘vanguard party’? Do we have an inkling of the human cost of collectivisation, or of what the gulag meant in terms of the humiliation and destruction of its victims?
Are human beings fundamentally different from other animals? Roger Scruton argues that we are, and that we need to think about ourselves in non-biological terms. He explains these ideas in conversation with Nigel Warburton.
Nigel Warburton will be in conversation with Roger Scruton about Human Nature at 11am on Saturday 2nd September in the Philosophy section of Blackwell's bookshop, Oxford. Free event, all welcome.
"European society", says Sir Roger Scruton, "is rapidly jettisoning its Christian heritage and has found nothing to put in its place save the religion of human rights".
But, he argues, this new "religion" delivers one-sided solutions since rights favour the person who can claim them - whatever the moral reasons for opposing them.
He says Europe needs to rediscover its Christian roots.
Listen to the podcast HERE
You can download the transcript HERE.
Roger Scruton looks at the impact of Harry Potter on our world view.
"People are starting to live in a kind of cyber-Hogwarts", he says, "a fantasy world in which goods are simply obtained by needing them, and then asking some future Prime Minister to wave the magic wand".
Listen to the podcast HERE
- 'The Meaning of Conservative' BBC Radio 4 - 20 Aug 17
- A Beautiful Mind: Thinking Things Through with Scruton Q&A Aug 17
- The attack of the Blob - Spectator Life Jun 17
- Delingpole with James Delingpole - The Podcast
- 'Post-Truth? Its pure nonsense' - The Spectator 10 Jun 17
- The Case for Nations - WSJ, June 17
- Celebrating the Philosopher of Beauty - Epoch Times, April 17
- Fight or flight: Strategies for traditional Conservatives - The Economist Mar 17
- Populism, VII: Representation & the people. The New Criterion Mar 17
- The Russian way of lying. Spectator Life Mar 17