In Thinkers of the New Left Scruton asks, what does the Left look like today and as it has evolved since 1989? He charts the transfer of grievances from the working class to women, gays and immigrants, asks what can we put in the place of radical egalitarianism, and what explains the continued dominance of antinomian attitudes in the intellectual world? Can there be any foundation for resistance to the leftist agenda without religious faith?
Scruton's exploration of these important issues is written with skill, perception and at all times with pellucid clarity. The result is a devastating critique of modern left-wing thinking.
Drawing on art, architecture, music, and literature, Scruton suggests that the highest forms of human experience and expression tell the story of our religious need, and of our quest for the being who might answer it, and that this search for the sacred endows the world with a soul. Evolution cannot explain our conception of the sacred; neuroscience is irrelevant to our interpersonal relationships, which provide a model for our posture toward God; and scientific understanding has nothing to say about the experience of beauty, which provides a God’s-eye perspective on reality.
Ultimately, a world without the sacred would be a completely different world—one in which we humans are not truly at home. Yet despite the shrinking place for the sacred in today’s world, Scruton says, the paths to transcendence remain open.
In this short book, acclaimed writer and philosopher Roger Scruton presents an original and radical defense of human uniqueness. Confronting the views of evolutionary psychologists, utilitarian moralists, and philosophical materialists such as Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett, Scruton argues that human beings cannot be understood simply as biological objects. We are not only human animals; we are also persons, in essential relation with other persons, and bound to them by obligations and rights. Our world is a shared world, exhibiting freedom, value, and accountability, and to understand it we must address other people face to face and I to I.
Scruton develops and defends his account of human nature by ranging widely across intellectual history, from Plato and Averroës to Darwin and Wittgenstein. The book begins with Kant's suggestion that we are distinguished by our ability to say "I"—by our sense of ourselves as the centers of self-conscious reflection. This fact is manifested in our emotions, interests, and relations. It is the foundation of the moral sense, as well as of the aesthetic and religious conceptions through which we shape the human world and endow it with meaning. And it lies outside the scope of modern materialist philosophy, even though it is a natural and not a supernatural fact. Ultimately, Scruton offers a new way of understanding how self-consciousness affects the question of how we should live.
The result is a rich view of human nature that challenges some of today's most fashionable ideas about our species.
This program includes an introduction read by the author.
A brief, magisterial audiobook introduction to the conservative tradition by one of Britain’s leading intellectuals.
In Conservatism, Roger Scruton offers listeners 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 listeners will find compelling and refreshing.
Scruton analyzes the origins and development of conservatism through the philosophies and thoughts of John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, David Hume, Edmund Burke, Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, Friedrich Hayek, 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, Calvin Coolidge, Winston Churchill, 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 listening for anyone wishing to understand Western politics and policies, now and over the last three centuries.