“…one of the most eloquent and even moving evocations of the conservative tradition in Western politics, philosophy and culture I have ever read…the ideal primer for those who are new to conservative ideas…” —Richard Aldous, Wall Street Journal
A brief magisterial introduction to the conservative tradition by one of Britain’s leading intellectuals.
In Conservatism, Roger Scruton offers the reader an invitation into the world of political philosophy by explaining the history and evolution of the conservative movement over the centuries. With the clarity and authority of a gifted teacher, he discusses the ideology's perspective on civil society, the rule of law, freedom, morality, property, rights, and the role of the state. In a time when many claim that conservatives lack a unified intellectual belief system, this book makes a very strong case to the contrary, one that politically-minded readers will find compelling and refreshing.
Scruton analyzes the origins and development of conservatism through the philosophies and thoughts of John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Adam Smith and Milton Friedman, among others. He shows how conservative ideas have influenced the political sector through the careers of a diverse cast of politicians, such as Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Disraeli, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. He also takes a close look at the changing relationship between conservative politics, capitalism, and free markets in both the UK and the US. This clear, incisive guide is essential reading for anyone wishing to understand Western politics and policies, now and over the last three centuries.
Sir Roger Scruton is widely seen as one of the greatest conservative thinkers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and a polymath who wrote a wide array of fiction, non-fiction and reviews. He was the author of over fifty books.
A graduate of Jesus College, Cambridge, Scruton was Professor of Aesthetics at Birkbeck College, London; University Professor at Boston University, and a visiting professor at Oxford University. He was one of the founders of the Salisbury Review, contributed regularly to The Spectator, The Times and the Daily Telegraph and was for many years wine critic of the New Statesman. Sir Roger Scruton died in January 2020.
"Conservatism, as Roger Scruton reminds us, was founded during the 18th-century Enlightenment…Society is best seen as a social contract, these Enlightenment thinkers said. Free individuals get together and contract with one another to create order. Conservatives said we agree with the general effort but think you’ve got human nature wrong.” —David Brooks, New York Times
"[Conservatism] buoyed my spirits, and helped me regain my bearings. Reading it, for me, was like feeling an unexpectedly cool, dry breeze on a stiflingly humid day." —Andrew Sullivan, New York Magazine