I usually jest that my life divides into two parts: ‘Before Scruton’ and ‘After Scruton.’ My first five books were devoted to Søren Kierkegaard, Jacques Derrida, ethics, and postmodern theology. Since then, I have published three books directly on Sir Roger Scruton, and two others that owe much to his influence
Very few of us will ever be referred to in the adjectival form. Yet Roger Scruton (1944-2020) deserves such an appellation, and as early as 1985, “Scrutonian gusto” appeared in a snide 1985 Architectural Review piece. The Oxford English Dictionary does not yet list “Scrutonian,” though it cites Sir Roger’s heroes, those who follow “Kantian” and “Hegelian” philosophy; “Burkean” is oddly absent, but his intellectual enemies, such as “Sartrian” and “Marcusian,” are also there. Had Sir Roger only been one of the leading philosophers of aesthetics of the past century, “Scrutonian” would have aptly described the spirit of his work. Still the more notable wordplay on his surname came some time later, when Sir Roger himself began referring to his farm as “Scrutopia,” an amusing but memorable neologism that would go on to become a summer school at his rural Wiltshire retreat, drawing many visitors from far beyond British shores.
The government’s white paper on planning reform makes frequent reference to Roger Scruton and his Building Beautiful Commission – on which I worked as Scruton’s research assistant. If Scruton had lived to read the white paper, he would have found much to like, especially its commitment to building the homes the country needs. But he would have insisted that the proposed reforms can only succeed if the government gets the details right in its plans to win the consent of local people. Consent based on drastically raising the aesthetic standards of new buildings and by enabling communities to share in the benefits of development. Read the full article by Samuel Hughes HERE.
Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government Robert Jenrick has opened the Planning for the future consultation proposing reform to the planning system to streamline and modernise the planning process, bring a new focus to design and sustainability, improve the system of developer contributions to infrastructure, and ensure more land is available for development where it is needed. Seeking to create better quality neighbourhoods and homes, we are pleased to see reference to the Building Better, Building Beautiful Report. Useful links below:
Read the latest from Scrutopia here: https://mailchi.mp/3fe95cac3469/4dxue1xf97-3768233
We are excited to be able to share with you the first in our open philosophy day series, the Green Philosophy Programme. Please join us on Sunday 6th September at Sundey Hill Farm for Green Philosophy, How to think seriously about the planet. We will be joined by experts including Ian Christie, George Monck and Tim Bonner and Frances Ward.
10am Arrival: Tea and Coffee
10.30 – 11.30am ‘Green Philosophy’ introduced by Ian Christie
12.00 – 12.30 pm ‘Litterary Oikophilia’ by George Monck
12.30 – 1.00pm ‘A Green Countryside’ by Tim Bonner
2.30pm – 3.30pm Panel led by Frances Ward in discussion with Lucy Scruton, Gemma Jolliffe and Saurav Tamang on the subject of:
‘Like There's No Tomorrow: Climate Crisis, Eco-Anxiety and God’.
3.30 – 4.30pm Full panel discussion (all speakers) and Q&A
4.30pm Next steps for Scrutopia and Green Philosophy
Panellists, biographical details
Ian Christie is senior lecturer in social science of sustainable development at the University of Surrey, also formerly head of the think-tank Demos and a founding member with Roger and Sophie of the Town and Country Forum. His tribute can be read here.
George Monck Chief Executive of the charity CleanupUK and one time assistant to the organist of Garsdon Church.
Tim Bonner is Chief Exectutive of the Countryside Alliance.
Frances Ward is an Anglican Priest and theologian who served as Dean of St Edmundsbury from 2010 to 2017. She is the author of “Like There's No Tomorrow: Climate Crisis, Eco-Anxiety and God”
Lucy Scruton is an undergraduate studying Biology
Gemma Jolliffe is an undergraduate studying Geography
Saurav Tamang is a sixth form student
Tickets are available from the website.
Adults: £50; under 25s/Students: £20
**Postponed** We are delighted to share with you the wonderful programme which has been thoughtfully curated with Roger’s interests at heart for this year’s Alumni meeting.We recognise that many of you are unable to travel or join us this year, but we wanted to share the programme in case your reservations have changed or restrictions lifted. We have a small group so far confirmed and now that we have a fabulous weekend planned, the opportunity is open to all.
The cost of the course will be £1200 per person, payable in advance by 14th August. As ever, this will cover everything for the duration of the course, but does not include your travel to the RAU on Thursday 27th August. Please do not hesitate to be in touch if you have any questions or would like to reserve your space.
Please take a look at the Programme Brief
Please get in touch for full details.
Read the latest from Scrutopia here - https://mailchi.mp/e08984d22224/4dxue1xf97-3745577
Douglas Murray discusses the importance of intellectual mentors and reveals two who continue to guide him.
A little while back I wrote something wildly unpopular and an acquaintance noted that I didn’t seem to mind. “Why would I?” I asked, genuinely interested. We drilled down to what seemed to me a rather important truth, one that I suspect many, if not most, writers share. Which is that it bothers me less what millions of people think than does the judgment of a small group of people (probably no more than ten) whom I listen to and who would cause me to worry if they felt I had got something wrong.
Scrutopia Book Club
What to read:
‘Alberti and the Art of the Appropriate’ from The Classical Vernacular – Architectural Principles in an Age of Nihilism
Piazza Pio II, Pienza, where a palace and town square was built for Pope Pius II and Alberti is believed to have been the consultant. Image Credit: By Oschirmer - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28402614
The chapter is ten pages long and originally appeared as an article in the Times Literary Supplement (1977). It was written at the time when Roger was making his name as a specialist in aesthetics. The book can be purchased directly from us online via the bookshop, or email me to receive the individual chapter.
On the day:
First and foremost, please note you will need to ensure you are joining in the correct time zone! We will be meeting at 2pm GMT. Here is an example table for other parts of the world:
At the end of the session, we will propose the next read and book club date. We hope in the following session to open the invitation to suggest the next book in Roger’s vast collection!
- News from Scrutopia - 29 May 20
- When freedom came, God disappeared- Standpoint, 22 June 2020
- A Path for us all - The Critic, June 2020
- Roger Scruton: A brief personal history of a great man - The North American Anglican, 6 May 20
- Sir Roger Scruton, in memoriam: A Platonic Tribute - Die Bärliner, 12 May 20
- Obituary of Sir Roger Scruton - Arbeit An Europa, 22 Jan 20
- Wagner's Parsifal - Virtual launch party
- Scrutopia Summer School Announcement
- In Memoriam
- Wagner’s Parsifal by Roger Scruton review – in defence of the insufferable - The Guardian, 30 May 2020