Review of Bernard Williams, Essays and Reviews 1959-2002

Reviewed by Roger Scruton

The Telegraph - February 16, 2014

This collection of reviews from a lifelong involvement in the intellectual life, show the late Sir Bernard Williams at his engaging best: lucid, cultivated, and entirely serious in his determination to extract the essence from the matter he is discussing.

Review of Peter Watson, The Age of Nothing

Reviewed by Roger Scruton

The Independent - February 14, 2014

Peter Watson has written an intriguing and challenging book, which surveys the response of modern Western societies and their intellectuals to the decline of religion. To introduce the reader to the main currents of post-religious thinking, from Nietzsche, who started it with a bang, to Rorty, who tried to end it with a whimper, is no mean achievement.

Stand up for the real meaning of conservatism

The Spectator - 4.1.2014

When pressed for a statement of their beliefs, conservatives give ironical or evasive answers: beliefs are what the others have, the ones who have confounded politics with religion, as socialists and anarchists do. This is unfortunate, because conservatism is a genuine, if unsystematic, philosophy, and it deserves to be stated, especially at a time like the present, when the future of our nation is in doubt.

Poverty, the market and the state

Prospect Magazine  - 26.11.2013

Almost any thinking citizen, asked if we should seek to end poverty in our country, would answer yes. What political goal could be more clearly desirable? And yet, when asked to define what poverty consists in, or why, on some given definition, poverty is bad, many people find themselves stumped for an answer.

The questions that have no answers

NewStatesman - 23.9.2013

If I ask myself what makes us human, one answer jumps out at me straight away – it is not the only answer but it is the one suggested by the question. What makes us human is that we ask questions. All the animals have interests, instincts and conceptions. All the animals frame for themselves an idea of the world in which they live. But we alone question our surroundings. We alone refuse to be defined by the world in which we live but instead try to define our nature for ourselves.

Democracy and Islamic Law

BBC Magazine - 23.8.2013

To understand what is happening in the Middle East today we must look back to the end of World War I. The Austro-Hungarian Empire had been destroyed, and from the ruins emerged a collection of nation states.

Should countries be more like families?

BBC Magazine - 30.8.2013

Many writers have warned against the tyranny of the majority. Majority opinion may be wrong. Majority desires may be wicked. Majority strength may be dangerous. There is someone more important than the crowd, which is the person who disagrees with it. We must protect that person, for he's the one who can raise the question that no crowd wants to listen to, which is the question whether it is in the right.

Why it can be good to give in to your enemies

BBC Magazine - 16.8.2013

A Point of View: Why it can be good to give in to your enemies
In a democracy, leaders and the opposition must accept each other's legitimacy, says Roger Scruton.
Last week I examined some of the institutions that form part of democracy as we in the West understand it. But I have yet to consider the fundamental point, which is that in a democracy we consent to be governed by people we dislike.

No mere academic

Kenneth Minogue - In Memoriam

The American Spectator - September 2013

READERS OF THIS magazine will know that conservatism has been going through a dark time in Britain. Since the premiereship of Margaret Thatcher, the state has expanded relentlessly to take control of just about every aspect of civil life.

Is Democracy Overrated?

BBC News Magazine - August 2013

For some time the leading Western nations have acted upon the assumption that democracy is the solution to political conflict, and that the ultimate goal of foreign policy must be to encourage the emergence of democracy in countries which have not yet enjoyed its benefits. And they continue to adhere to this assumption, even when considering events in the Middle East today.

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