Roger Scruton is among the most prominent contemporary English writers. A philosopher who was formerly a professor at Birkbeck College in London and at Boston University, he is now a freelance writer living in Wiltshire. His articles on political, cultural, and rural themes appear frequently in the British and American media. Among his more than twenty books are An Intelligent Person's Guide to Modern Culture, The Aesthetics of Music, Modern Philosophy: An Introduction and Survey, and The Meaning of Conservatism.
Only in a few places in Europe and America can a person call himself a conservative and expect to be taken seriously. The first task of conservatism, therefore, is to create a language in which “conservative” is no longer a term of abuse. This task is part of another, and larger, enterprise: that of the purification of language from the insidious sloganizing which has taken hold of it. This is not a simple enterprise. . . .
T. S. Eliot was indisputably the greatest poet writing in English in the twentieth century. He was also the most revolutionary Anglophone literary critic since Samuel Johnson, and the most influential religious thinker in the Anglican tradition since the Wesleyan movement. His social and political vision is contained in all his writings, and has been absorbed and reabsorbed by generations of English and American readers, upon whom it exerts an almost mystical fascination—even when they are moved, as many are, to reject it. . . .
When Wilhelm Röpke set out to write his defence of the “humane economy,” he had fallen under the spell of the Austrian school, particularly the belief that a well-ordered market was a virtually all-powerful cure against the tyranny of Bolshevism and statist centralization. Intervening history has shown, however, that terms like the “humane economy” are as susceptible to manipulation and politicization as are “social justice” and “subsidiarity.” While it is true that a free market provides a necessary level of freedom and prosperity for society, it is also the case that the virtues that make a society truly humane operate outside and beyond economic institutions. . . .