Sir Roger Scruton passed away on January 12, 2020 – one year ago today. On the first anniversary of his death, many of his closest friends and colleagues will celebrate his memory and his incalculable contribution to conservatism in a free, online conference titled, “Remembering Roger Scruton.”
Scruton’s death from cancer at the age of 75 deprived the worldwide conservative movement of his intellectual prowess, incisive and precise philosophical distinctions, and playfully delightful expressions. He produced an array of books, publications, monographs, lectures, and articles that earned him the admiration of all who loved truth, beauty, and Western culture. Scruton’s passing could be considered the first travesty of 2020.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson named Scruton “the greatest modern conservative thinker.” Former Member of European Parliament Daniel Hannan called Scruton “the greatest conservative of our age.” And the Wall Street Journal described him as “the most influential conservative thinker since Edmund Burke.”
Roger Vernon Scruton rose from humble beginnings by clinging to the cultural inheritance of the West. He learned the philosophical, poetic, and aesthetic heritage which the great thinkers’ progeny had so coldly discarded. He shared his knowledge freely, understanding the transmission of this inheritance to constitute the handing on of culture itself across ages and nations. He brought as much of that tradition as possible to a mass audience through magazines, newspapers, and websites.
Sir Roger Scruton kindly spoke at the Acton Institute’s first transatlantic conference, the “Crisis of Liberty in the West” conference in London on December 1, 2016. He chose to address, “How identity politics destroys freedom.” He warned of n anti-intellectual environment that views every dissent from prevailing orthodoxy as “an act of aggression and not just a comment. Hence, it must be punished.”
His intellectual honesty and generosity brought merely the scrutiny of communist authorities and the scorn of British academia. He would see his Conservative supporters temporarily abandon him after the British Left twisted his unfailingly felicitous words an attempt to make him feel the sting of cancel culture. Near the end of his life, he reflected with pride, “It’s been a great adventure for me to be so hated by people I hold in contempt.”
His life will be honored by the Roger Scruton Legacy Foundation today. This memorial event will be broken into three parts.
First, Robert P. George of Princeton and and Rémi Brague of Munich’s Ludwig Maximilian University will discuss Scruton’s contribution to the discipline of philosophy.
Then Marion Smith, the CEO of the Victims of Communism Foundation, will moderate a discussion of Scruton’s work in Eastern Europe, where Scruton dodged the secret police while teaching the underground the treasures of Western civilization, which had fallen out of favor at British universities.
Finally, Michael Gove, a British Member of Parliament and a minister in PM Boris Johnson’s Cabinet, will discuss “Scruton the man” with Peter Robinson, the host of the Hoover Institution’s Uncommon Knowledge.
The event begins streaming via Zoom at 1:30 p.m. EST (10:30 a.m. Pacific or 6:30 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time). To attend this free event, you can register here.
Additional Acton coverage:
How identity politics destroys freedom – Sir Roger Scruton’s address to Acton’s 2016 “Crisis of Liberty in the West” conference in London.