Sadly I by no means met Sir Roger, however as a pupil I heard him converse. Regardless of our primarily silly questions, he handled us as if we had been his mental equals. He approached all debate in a lot the identical spirit; a rarity when so many place deeply uncharitable interpretations on each other’s motives. In Britain, wrote Scruton, “We don’t stone individuals to demise… however we do the following worst factor, which is to bludgeon to demise their characters”. This he learnt the arduous means following his now-infamous interview with the New Statesman, although he would in all probability have wished nothing dangerous on those that strove to malign him.
His conservatism is extra intuition than ideology, whereas his philosophy appears much less an ideology than a brand new means of analyzing the world. His aesthetic writings don’t simply champion excessive artwork, however prepare you to see magnificence all over the place – after studying Scruton you invariably search for and spot the gorgeous Edwardian facade above the fish-and-chip store. This joyful, inquiring outlook is underneath menace. Significant social interactions have been changed by spiteful social media exchanges. Cooped up indoors, we grow to be as intellectually labile as we’re bodily flabby.
I don’t agree with Scruton on every little thing, however I imagine he lived life correctly: with generosity and open-mindedness, welcoming debate and seeking beauty in on a regular basis issues. It’s arduous to seek out that means in a seemingly rudderless, unsure world. However we owe it to him to strive.