How to Be a Conservative by Sir Roger Scruton—Goodreads Book Review

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In How to be a Conservative, English philosopher Sir Roger Scruton articulates both the cultural foundation for and reasons to subscribe to conservatism. Differentiating between conservatism, the demeanor, and conservatism, the English philosophical tradition, Scruton describes his own experiences which led him to be a conservative before laying out the universal principles that fall under the philosophy—many of which are held by people, explicitly or implicitly.

Identifying the conservative tradition as a defense of revealed and discovered truth, Scruton structures the book through topical chapters entitled “The Truth in…”. Several of his conclusions about what consistent conservatism might say about the topics may surprise readers; for example, Scruton argues that because of conservatism’s regard for and protection of “home,” it is conservatism, not ascendant progressivism, that can and should provide the best motivations and approaches to mitigate global climate change. In other sections regarding the rise of modern political correctness, he goes through the history of classical liberalism and conservatism to show how both are the source of the multicultural regard for other countries and people groups, and both (especially the latter) are necessary for authentic multiculturalism to exist.

Eminently positive in his arguments (both in the “optimistic” and the “substantial” sense), Scruton’s How to be a Conservative shows that the conservative worldview is anything but a simple reactionary perspective; rather, he shows that it has both a rich history and a logical coherence that make it relevant for readers today and in the future.

Author: dustinllovell

Writing professor, literature and US history tutor, previous ESL instructor, and would-be novelist who enjoys/specializes in Shakespeare, 19th century lit, and philosophy (whether in print or via audiobook). Author of the novel Sacred Shadows and Latent Light (Wipf and Stock, Resources Imprint). Member of Heterodox Academy. Columnist for The Mallard.

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