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Meaning Of Conservatism

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  97 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
First published in 1980, The Meaning of Conservatism is now recognized as a major contribution to political thought, and the liveliest and most provocative modern statement of the traditional "paleo-conservative" position. Roger Scruton challenges those who would regard themselves as conservatives, and also their opponents. Conservatism, he argues, has little in common wit ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published July 15th 2002 by St. Augustines Press (first published 1980)
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Justin Evans
Aug 05, 2014 Justin Evans rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
An extraordinary read (I read the second edition, originally published in 1984): most of Scruton's discussion here is pre-Thatcher/Regan, and his understanding of conservatism is rather shocking. There's little here about the importance of ridding ourselves of government, and living as free individuals; there's much more about the cultivation of traditions and communities (i.e., the very things that contemporary conservatives do their best to productively disrupt). Scruton's 'dogmatic' (his word ...more
Dec 14, 2016 Manuel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As far as comprehensiveness is concerned, The Meaning of Conservatism touches on almost all of the essential components of society (state, church, education, family, morality, etc.), but it is not exhaustive, and hundreds more pages could be written about each of those components. Therefore, this book will only serve as a sort of blueprint for the beginning conservative, and the details will have to be developed elsewhere. This is not a failing of Scruton, mind you, just an observation of mine f ...more
Mar 04, 2016 Luke rated it it was amazing
This itself is a classic. It was published in 2000 - yet remains relevant to this day, and more likely than not, for many years to come. Here, Scruton outlines a conservatism seemingly shrouded in mystery and gathering dust, as it were. A forgotten ideology misappropriated by other ideologues. This kind of conservatism doesn't place emphasis on money, the individual, on greed - that isn't conservatism. It places emphasis on tradition, allegiance, loyalty, law and order, society, family, faith. T ...more
Alex Stroshine
A very densely-packed exposition of what conservatism consists of. Although updated since its original publication in 1980 it's still dated as Scruton inveighs against Tony Blair. As well, for the most part, Scruton focuses on his native England and its brand of conservatism although with frequent nods to American conservatism. This makes it a little less pertinent to, say, an Australian or a Canadian. I for one don't have the great fondness or nostalgia for the glories of British monarchy that ...more
Aug 20, 2015 Samuel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
A joy of Scruton's work is its beautiful prose and clarity, but my head has been left spinning (slightly) from a book so densely packed with complicated ideas on some of the most difficult of questions. It is certainly not a book to be embarked upon lightly and I admit that I found it a struggle at times. But, this effort of mind is not a bad thing and I feel the effort has been rewarded by a deepening my political understanding. An understanding I am sure will continue to be deepened by reflect ...more
Oct 21, 2008 Tim rated it really liked it
I'll write a good, long review of this one - just hold your horses for a while. In the meantime ....

Whatever your political persuasion, it's refreshing to get a philosopher's definition of conservatism rather than a demagogue's (and it doesn’t hurt that the author’s a Brit). In essence, the conservative position is skeptical about the goodness and reliability of human nature, and it doesn’t have a program per se, but considers any “liberal” position to bear a burden to demonstrate that a scheme
Nov 17, 2014 Simon rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics, philosophy
I was expecting this to be pretty good, but this was surprisingly good. The work he does on law, on the relationship between power and authority, on attitudes to custom and tradition, and on the centrality of the family, are all excellent. Some of it was puzzling, but most of it was lucid.
Apr 05, 2016 Scott rated it liked it
My first trip into philosophy; one time through won't be enough for this one. Will need to read it again, with a pencil and notepad handy.
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Jul 10, 2015 Bakunin rated it liked it
Review will be posted later. A bit disappointed but still worth reading.
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Roger Vernon Scruton is a self-employed English philosopher and writer, known in the UK as a key figure in the "New Right" in the 1980s and 1990s. He currently lives in rural Wiltshire, but was a professor of philosophy at Boston University from 1992 to 1995, and subsequently a professor at Birkbeck College, London.
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