The Inaugural Colin Amery Memorial lecture, Policy Exchange - 14 Nov 18
The Fabric of the City - read the lecture HERE.
Watch the lecture HERE.
Published by PolicyExchangeUK on 1 Nov 2018 Sir Roger Scruton has been appointed as the chairman of the Government’s advisory committee on Building Better, Building Beautiful. As part of the Building Beautiful Month at Policy Exhange, Syrian architect and author Marwa Al-Sabouni spoke on “The Loss of Home”. Marwa appeared in conversation with Sir Roger and was introduced by Tom Tugendhat MP.
In the wake of recent attacks I have taken the unusual step of posting on this site some tokens of appreciation, by way of encouraging those who value my contribution to the life of the mind. Outside Britain it is quite normal for my work to be appreciated, and as an example I have included the remarks from Professor Jürgen Stolzenberg, with which he introduced my recent lecture on Parsifal at the Siemens Foundation. (Apologies for not translating.) Inside Britain, where my every deviation from political correctness is noted down and stored for the next bout of denigration, praise is somewhat more rare. However, following recent attacks in Parliament and elsewhere, several writers have been kind enough to suggest that I have been unjustly treated, and I include some instances of their support.
Douglas Murray (The Spectator) - https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2018/11/the-ignorant-hounding-of-roger-scruton/
Owen Polley (Cap X) - https://capx.co/if-roger-scruton-cant-contribute-to-public-life-who-can/
and Toby Young (The Spectator) - https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2018/11/in-defence-of-roger-scruton/
News from Scrutopia
Much has been happening, and we thought it best to send out a newsletter somewhat ahead of time. Shortly after returning from America, Roger gave a lecture at the Siemens Foundation in Munich, on the topic: ‘What is Parsifal about?’ An audience of solid burghers listened politely and questioned tenaciously, so that Roger came away more than ever convinced that he has yet to understand either Wagner’s masterpiece or the German response to it. Nevertheless, work on Parsifal continues, and has been and will be for the time being the most important thing that is happening. There followed preparations for the re-launch of Roger’s literary career, to happen next year on or around his 75th birthday, an event that will surely take the world by storm if the other storm (see below) has not swept him into the Thames.
You can now watch and listen to Sir Roger on the Roger Scruton Official YouTube channel.
This new platform will be home to discussions, interviews and talks and a welcome message can be viewed HERE.
The Law of the Land.
I joined the Inner Temple as a student forty-four years ago. Although called to the Bar I never pursued a legal career. But I look back on my legal studies with profound gratitude. For they implanted in me a vision of the English law that I have never ceased to cherish, and which has profoundly influenced my philosophical outlook. I would like to take this opportunity to share that vision with you, since it touches on matters that are vital to the condition of our country today.
The first discovery that I made when reading for the bar is that Parliament is only one source of our law, and not the most important source. Acts of Parliament become law only because they are inserted into a living legal system, and are interpreted according to the pre-existing principles of our courts. Those principles were not laid down by Parliament, but inherited from the many attempts made by the people of this country to bring their disputes to judgement. The vast body of English law remains unwritten, except in the form of reports and commentaries. And, taken as a whole, it exhibits a process of problem solving that entirely refutes, to my way of thinking, the idea that law is a set of edicts, laid down by the sovereign power. In the English understanding the sovereign enforces the law, but does not dictate it.
When I first met David Watkin I was beginning my second year as a Research Fellow at Peterhouse, and David had just been elected to the Fellowship. There was much muttering in the Senior Combination Room concerning this scandalous appointment. Dr Watkin, it was rumoured, dressed in a manner too stiff and punctilious ever to be tolerated in a liberal institution. He believed in God, possibly in Hell and damnation. He was an outspoken opponent of modern art, modern architecture, modern music and modern everything else. Worse still he had impeccable manners in a place where manners, if they existed at all, had to be decidedly peccable. His appointment was a retrograde step in the college’s on-going march towards liberty, equality and diversity, a breach in the armour of enlightenment through which the counter-reformation might at any moment gush in like a suffocating wind.
Please watch this space for the new dates for the 2019 Summer School. If you would like to know what our previous students had to say, here are a few snippets to tempt you!
"Just to reiterate what so many have said - I had such a wonderful time - stimulating and fun. What could possibly be better?"
"This event was a marvel to me and eye-opening. You are all amazing and it was absolutely lovely to meet all of you."
"I feel extremely energized and inspired after this week. I have to say it was rather surreal to step out in the real world again after spending an entire week in an intellectual paradise."
"I am back with so many books to read, so much music to hear, so many paintings to see, so much modern architecture to detest, so many leftists to refute and so many memories to savour that I think I will spend this whole year (but, alas, in a virtual way) in Scrutopia."
"Scrutopia fulfilled all my expectations and more. I felt quite nervous during the months and weeks before arriving and none of my fears were realized.
The gathering of like minded people all invested in making the most of the event made for a very stimulating environment. The international perspective with so many delegates from overseas was a big bonus for me and the ability to make friends across the world added to the experience.
The school dinners in the "College" refectory actually helped make things more informal and relaxed. The plentiful supply of wine oiled the conversation and by the end of the Gala dinner some of us were having a disco and dancing!! The ice had well and truly been broken."
"With much gratitude for a perfect week of learning with new friends."
"Thank you for an inspiring week."
"I feel like I’m in orbit! Many thanks for a great experience."
"Thank you for opening up Scrutopia both physically and mentally. Lectures, trips, a concert and dinners, all in perfect harmony."
From no angle does this ostentatious building fit in with its surroundings, nor did it occur to its architects that it should
I have the good fortune to be able to borrow a flat on the Île de la Cité in Paris from which I see from one side the towers of Notre Dame above the roof of a 19th-century seminary, and from the other side, across from the Seine, the ornate reconstruction of the 17th-century Hôtel de Ville, which burned down in 1871. To the right of the Hôtel de Ville the classical façade of the Church of Saint-Gervais-et-Saint-Protais rises above terraced streets of Lutetian limestone, and to the left of the Hôtel the same serene limestone forms a terraced background to life in a popular square.
Do concert halls offer something people used to get out of church?
All over the British Isles, during the summer months, there are festivals devoted to classical music. Some have become integral parts of the national culture, like the Cheltenham Festival. Others remain small and experimental, like the festivals of Presteigne and Chipping Camden. If I had time and energy I would explore them all, since nothing delights me more than a provincial town dressed up for music. But there are books to read, articles to write, meadows to mow and animals to care for. Summer is a time when I cannot travel.
Thanks to the radio, however, I can attend the greatest summer music festival of all, that of the...
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On Friday 15th November Sir Roger was awarded the Silver Medal by the Senate of the Czech Parliament in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, which saw...
The 1989 uprising against communism in Eastern Europe was a bid for freedom, and for many commentators it was little more than that. The oppressors happened to be the Communist...
Now running for a forth year, the Scrutopia summer school offers a ten-day immersion experience in the philosophy and outlook of Sir Roger Scruton, the British writer and philosopher who...
A building may appeal for its formal perfection, its harmony of proportion and the grammatical discipline with which it matches part to part. But it may appeal despite lacking those...
Bloomsbury (August 2018) Music as an Art begins by examining music through a philosophical lens, engaging in discussions about tonality, music and the moral life, music and cognitive science and German...
Bloomsbury (November 2017) Addressing one of the most politically turbulent periods in modern British history, philosopher Roger Scruton asks how, in these circumstances, we can come to define our identity,...