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About Roger Scruton

Roger Scruton is a philosopher, writer, political activist and businessman. He is a professor in the department of philosophy at St Andrews University and a scholar at the American Entreprise Institute. His home on the web is

Articles by Roger Scruton

This week’s front page editor

Adam Ramsay, Editor

Adam Ramsay is a co-editor of openDemocracyUK.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Notes from the Prague underground, part 2

Part 2 of an interview around Roger Scruton's new novel, Underground Notes. The contrast between Prague in the early 1980s and Washington in the late 2000s is the backdrop for a reflection on the nature of love, freedom and necessity

Notes from the Prague underground, part 1

Part 1 of an interview around Roger Scruton's new novel, Underground Notes. Czechoslovakia in the early 1980s is the backdrop for an exploration of a conservative existentialism. 

Unreal Estate

The legal fiction of the "corporate person" has helped economic growth through making possible limited liability, fractional reserve banking, insurance and many other fictions. But it has also made it easier to divorce the moral realities of debt and obligation from economic fictions. The endless economic crisis suggests that it is time for a return to a moral understanding the underpinnings of the financial fictions

Leszek Kolakowski: thinker for our time

The Polish philosopher’s intellectual journey was marked by a lengthy, careful demolition of Marxism. The stifling influence of this ideology and its outgrowths and variants in the western academy make Leszek Kolakowski’s achievement all the greater - and more surprising, says Roger Scruton.   

(This article was first published on 28 July 2009)

Alexander Solzhenitsyn: the line within

The prophetic message of Alexander Solzhenitsyn transcends the circumstances that gave rise to it, says Roger Scruton.

Islamic law in a secular world

The argument over the application of sharia in Britain highlights the difference between Christian and Muslim visions of law, says Roger Scruton.

Ingmar Bergman: the sense of the world

The great Swedish filmmaker, who died on 30 July 2007, made art that speaks profoundly to the truth of ourselves, says Roger Scruton.

Richard Rorty’s legacy

The American philosopher typified and even perfected a form of exclusionary postmodern argument that depended on burying truth, says Roger Scruton.

England: an identity in question

The 300th anniversary of the Act of Union on 1 May 1707, which completed the merger of the English and Scottish crowns, provides an occasion to reflect on the future of a kingdom which, though united in name, is increasingly divided in aspiration. The voting preferences of the Scots, and the openness with which separation is now advocated north of the border speak for themselves.

Tony Blair's genius

The British prime minister has replaced real politics with a carefully crafted fiction, says Roger Scruton.

The great hole of history

The problem revealed by 9/11, far from resolved five years on, is of a radical Islamism driven by "transferable grievance", says Roger Scruton.

Lebanon: the missing perspective

The heart of the war in Lebanon is Hizbollah's challenge to Lebanon's national sovereignty, says Roger Scruton.

The trouble with Islam, the European Union - and Francis Fukuyama

Francis Fukuyama's historicism fails to accommodate two contemporary political realities and in the process misunderstands history itself, says Roger Scruton.

Jane Jacobs (1916-2006): cities for life

Jane Jacobs's book "The Death and Life of Great American Cities" changed the way people thought about urban planning, the street and the character of cities. Roger Scruton reflects on the relevance of its message today.

Power inquiry, public debate

The integrity of Britain's political settlement is assailed by New Labour government, commercial lobbyists and pressure-group interests. The Power inquiry is right that reform is needed, but the public itself must take charge of the debate, says Roger Scruton.

A year of awakening

In the last days of 2005, leading thinkers and scholars from around the world share their fears, hopes and expectations of 2006. Forty-nine of openDemocracy’s distinguished contributors, from Mariano Aguirre to Slavoj Zizek, Neal Ascherson to Jonathan Zittrain – offer their predictions for the coming year. Since this is openDemocracy, we did not expect them to agree. We were not disappointed. (Part Two)

The fundamentals of democracy: a response to John Palmer

The argument for supranational European governance strikes at the root of democracy, says Roger Scruton.

Democracy or theocracy? A response to Barnett & Hilton

In its silence about Islam and its hostility to the United States, Anthony Barnett & Isabel Hilton’s definition of the threats to democracy fails to convince Roger Scruton.

Maurice Cowling's achievement

The ideas of English conservative thinker Maurice Cowling had a profound influence on the country’s intellectual life. Roger Scruton assesses his legacy.

The United States and the open society: a response to Gara LaMarche

Gara LaMarche’s portrait of a conservative takeover of American political institutions and public culture is tendentious and inaccurate, says Roger Scruton; it is also based on a misunderstanding of what an open society is.

Lebanon before and after Syria

Lebanon’s recovery of national independence requires a full accounting of Syria’s role in its destruction, says Roger Scruton.

The power of resentment: a response to Karin von Hippel

The Madrid conference marking the anniversary of the March 2004 terrorist attacks must not be imprisoned in the chains of political correctness, says Roger Scruton.

Time to calm down

The way leftists – and openDemocracy writers – stereotype their political opponents in the American election reveals a thought–denying prejudice, says Roger Scruton.

The hunting debate: a question of democracy

Even before the British government of Tony Blair first proposed to ban hunting with dogs in England and Wales two years ago, thus provoking massive protest demonstrations involving hundreds of thousands of people, openDemocracy realised that this polarising issue required discussion and dialogue between voices on different sides of the argument. The result was our debate of June–December 2002, “Hunting culture – is there a place for hunting in the modern world?”

Delusions of internationalism: David Held's flawed perspective

David Held’s advocacy of global social democracy in response to the world’s crises is the wrong answer to real problems, says Roger Scruton.

Tony Blair and the wrong America: a response to Godfrey Hodgson

Tony Blair’s infatuation with the United States has deformed his political judgment. But his careless treatment of Britain’s unwritten constitution owes too little rather than too much to American influence.

Immanuel Kant and the Iraq war

The German philosopher Immanuel Kant developed his thought in the era of global conflict sparked by the American and French Revolutions. His response was an appeal to enlightenment, law and reason. Two hundred years on, the distinguished English philosopher Roger Scruton asks: where would Kant’s principles lead him today?

Eating the world: the philosophy of food

Food is meaning not just nourishment, ritual not just consumption, ceremony not just act, familial and social relationship not just individual ingestion. But profound and increasingly global changes in the way people eat have eclipsed these truths. In a provocative essay that seasons deep learning with wine, wit, and warmth, Roger Scruton toasts the plenitude of a fully human culture of food, and warns of the dangers attending its loss.

American intention, to liberate not to enslave

It is 12 January 2003 and US president Bush has rallied his troops for what he calls “The first war of the 21st century”. What is your view of this crisis, where, briefly, do you stand? This is the question we are putting to people around the world, especially those with their own public reputation and following. Our aim, to help create a truly global debate all can identify with.

Fox-hunting, homosexuality, and protest: a rejoinder to Adam Lent

Protest in defence of a minority’s rights in a democracy - whether hunters or homosexuals - is justified. But only one of these activities is under legal assault in Britain.

When is a 'popular protest' popular?

The packaging of ‘new’ protest movements by modern leftist intellectuals reveals a selective focus on favoured causes – feminism, racism, gay rights. This post–1968 template evades concerns, such as fox–hunting, that animate masses of ordinary people. From shallow argument it generates a politics without principle.

The trouble with summits, or - what is Johannesburg for?

Do international summits work for people at the sharp end of global poverty? Maria Adebowale of Capacity Global and the philosopher Roger Scruton discuss the issue with Caspar Henderson, Globalisation editor of openDemocracy.

Landscape: the view of the hunters and the farmers

Landscapes are made and maintained as well as ‘natural’. The uniqueness of the English rural landscape is that it has been created and sustained by the conjoined efforts of generations of farmers and hunters. Moreover, the hunter–gatherer instinct – ‘belonging without owning’ – is at the root of Englishness.

Landscape and identity in a globalised world

How is the sense of place, essential to people’s ability to find meaning in the world, being affected by transformations of landscape in the age of globalisation? openDemocracy’s City&Country editors introduce a new debate.

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