Daniel J. Mahoney reviews a book of conversations with Roger Scruton, and concludes…
Near the end of this delightful and instructive book, Mark Dooley notes “Scruton’s reputation is certainly not what it used to be.” He is now a Fellow of the British Academy and the Royal Society of Literature and has recently been knighted by the Queen. It is a far time from the 1980s when Scruton was something of an intellectual pariah…Thankfully, these days are mainly behind Scruton. In the conclusion of this volume, Dooley asks Scruton if he is hopeful “about the cause of conservatism generally.” Scruton responds that he is not.
For all that I admire Scruton, it must be sad to reflect that such a glittering career has co-existed with the failure of one’s beliefs.
In the New Yorker, meanwhile, Joshua Rothman profiles the conservative Christian Rod Dreher…
He sees orthodox Christians as powerless against the forces of liquidly modern progressivism; on his blog, he argues that “the question is not really ‘What are you conservative Christians prepared to tolerate?’ but actually ‘What are LGBTs and progressive allies prepared to tolerate?’ ” He wants them to be magnanimous in victory; to refrain from pressing their advantage. Essentially, he says to progressives: You’ve won. You wouldn’t sue Orthodox Jews or observant Muslims. Please don’t sue us, either.
I am not an orthodox Christian (or any kind of Christian) but this sounds like a rather limp position to adopt.
Finally, on Twitter Peter Hitchens announces…
I have completely given up politics. Instead I am writing the obituary of the country. Do what you like. Nothing will come of it.
I have criticised Mr Hitchens’ doommongering before. I am no great optimist. Much of what is good will die and much of what is bad will come to be. Nonetheless, I think that what is valuable deserves spirited defence, not tired resignation.
I also wonder if the ability of these men to find a place in our progressive age is partly due to the idea that they have accepted defeat. They have not turned their backs on their conservative causes yet appear to have accepted that they have been lost. This makes them no threat to cultural orthodoxies. It makes them museum pieces: interesting but irrelevant.