Close Encounters - Puritanical Progressivism, Dec 18

Sir Roger Scruton & Ben Weingarten discuss political unrest in the West & its historical context, the puritanical nature of progressivism & attempts by its adherents to stifle dissent, the imperative to defend free speech & more.

Here the interview here

Asnières speech - The right we want is conservative

"Conservatism can transmit the legacy of freedom, freedom that could be too much liberalism to be challenged by other ideologies." Roger Scruton 

Read the full transcript here.

BBC Radio 4 Point of View - The Witch Hunt Culture - 2 December 19

The witch-hunt culture.

Three years ago the distinguished biochemist Sir Tim Hunt, recipient of the Nobel Prize, Fellow of the Royal Society and one of the jewels in the crown of British science, made a casual remark, during a speech at a conference of science journalists, which seemed to imply that women and men might not be equally suited to a scientific career. The remark was tweeted, and the mob got to work on it. Very soon Sir Tim found himself forced out of his position as honorary Professor at University College London, reprimanded by the Royal Society, hounded in the press, and subjected to a hate campaign on social media. Eventually he and his wife (a scientist of the same rank as himself) left the country to work in Japan.

            This deplorable episode is one of many, in which a person’s character, career and livelihood have been attacked in punishment for a thought-crime. Social media make matters worse, of course. But it would be wrong to put the blame wholly on the ease with which malice and ignorance can now extend their reach across the Internet. We must also take account of political correctness, which both promotes hatred and also excuses it.

Sin Bin

 

Journalists who find it difficult to follow intellectual arguments or to understand the use of irony may nevertheless be anxious to add to the indictment against me. I have made a preliminary survey in search of sentences that can be used out of context as evidence of crimethink and come up with the following interim observations:

Homophobia. Following the discovery somewhere in my writings and speeches of the impious remark that homosexuality is ‘not normal’, I have naturally been on the look-out for further proof of this pernicious state of mind. I returned to Sexual Desire, published 1984 and, disgracefully, still in print. Unfortunately I was unable to find in the section on homosexuality anything that is really useful. Although the section occurs in the chapter on perversion, it is only by way of proving that homosexual desire, while significantly distinct from heterosexual desire, is not a perversion. I turned instead to my works of fiction since my first published novel, Fortnight’s Anger, which I don’t much like, seemed promising, containing an (abusive) homosexual relation. But I came across no useful out-of-context quotations, and was deterred from further research by the positive review in Gay News, which chose the book as novel of the year.

            Still, the charge of homophobia is an interesting and fertile one. The idea of such a state of mind stems from Freud and his (now largely discredited) view that infantile sexuality is ‘polymorphously perverse’ and becomes focused on the other sex (if it does) only by developing defences against the rival channels. Hence, according to Freud, there arises a conscious revulsion against that which is unconsciously desired. In a paper published a long time ago entitled ‘Sexual Morality and the Liberal Consensus’ I ventured another explanation of the revulsion against homosexuality (i.e. homophobia), couched more in evolutionary terms. But my version of evolutionary theory was too socialised, too much influenced by the social science model that has its roots in Weber and Boas, and the explanation doesn’t work. In my view, therefore, the question remains open, as to how this state of mind might be explained – open, but of course undiscussable.

           

Islamophobia. Although Freud’s attempt at explaining homophobia might be held to justify the use of that term to describe at least some of the negative views that some people hold about homosexuality, this is no excuse for inventing ‘Islamophobia’ as an explanation of the negative views that many people hold about Islam. The invention of this term by activists of the Muslim Brotherhood is a rhetorical trick, though it seems that my habit of pointing this out is a further proof that I am guilty. Are we then to suppose that people are repelled by Islam because of the unconscious desire to embrace it, this repulsion being part of an elaborate defence mechanism? Or could it be that murder, genocide, rape and enslavement carried out in the name of Islam have made people somewhat suspicious of the faith? My own view, expounded in The West and the Rest and elsewhere, is that the only phobia involved here is the natural revulsion against those horrible crimes, and has nothing to do with Islam, which is abused by those who commit the crimes and not by those who are repelled by them. However, I am sure that there are out-of-context sentences to be extracted here that will be useful in pinning on to me an accusation that admits no presumption of innocence, there being, as with all nonsense accusations, no gap between accusation and guilt.

Sexism and other isms: There is a recent interview on this site, given to the Hoover Institution, in which there are many phrases that could be captured from the air and used in evidence against me.

There is also very useful stuff in the lecture delivered to the sens-commun congress in Asnières on 18th November 2018. I recommend that journalists study this shocking event with care, especially the passage devoted to the welfare state, which, as journalists will know, is l’état providence in French.

Again there is useful evidence in my works of fiction. The fact that I presume, in The Disappeared, to describe rape and sexual abuse from a woman’s point of view is surely an outrageous proof of gender appropriation. And the fact that the rapist in question is an immigrant of Muslim background, living in a Northern city not so many miles from Rotherham, is surely clear proof of Islamophobia.

Phobias and Isms generally: There was also a lecture delivered in 2016 to the University of Buckingham on ‘making the University a Safe Space for rational argument’ which has some choice morsels. It is available on this site. I also recommend ‘The Art of Taking Offence’ from Spectator Life, which is likewise available on this site.

When time permits I will continue my researches. At least when I present the evidence against myself it will not be in the tone of voice of a writer for the Evening Standard, who began her interrogation thus:

To Mr Scruton,

I am a reporter for the Evening Standard.

I have been made aware of pieces you wrote in the City Journal between 1999 to 2001.

They include comments about gay people and the disabled which people have found offensive.

Not ‘dear Mr Scruton’, or ‘Dear Professor Scruton’, certainly not ‘Dear Sir Roger’. I was reminded of the Nazi habit of never addressing Jews, when arresting them, by their titles but always by their surnames, and using the impertinent ‘du’ instead of the formal ‘Sie’. These are the manners now taught to the censorious young, and with which they sally forth into the world of adults in order to take offence at what they find.

Statement Concerning my role and aims in the Commission on Building More, Building Beautifully.

The architectural press has been predicting that I will use my position as chair of the above commission to impose a rigid stylistic conformity, and that my well-known love of the classical vernacular will become a kind of aesthetic dictatorship, compelling architects on pain of – of what exactly? – to build according to principles dictated by me.

            In fact, in conjunction with the government and the civil service, I am putting together a group of commissioners and advisors who will represent a wide range of approaches. The purpose of the commission is not to dictate aesthetic values but to show how they might be placed at the heart of new developments. There is widespread public discontent with recent practice and a need to explore the ways in which people’s real needs and preferences can be reflected in their built environment.

            Anybody with suggestions as to the nature of the problem and the best way to resolve it is welcome to contact me on this site. Meanwhile, when the commissioners and advisory board have been appointed, it will be plain that my own aesthetic stance will be only one input among many, to the exploration of design quality in all its aspects.

The Inaugural Colin Amery Memorial lecture, Policy Exchange - 14 Nov 18

The Fabric of the City - read the lecture HERE. 

Watch the lecture HERE.

The Loss of Home - Policy Exchange - 1st November

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.

Watch the lecture

Links to Support

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/

 

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2018 Events

Scrutopia Summer School 2018

17 Jan - KCL Talk

16 Feb - CUSP event

21 Feb - Intelligence Squared conference

22 Feb - UCL event

8/9 Mar - Ghent University