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Tuesday, December 06, 2005
 
British Versus American Conservatism

Here's an excellent interview with a famed British conservative author, Roger Scruton.

MG: You are often described as a "paleoconservative," a term that Russell Kirk, who was described the same way, was uncomfortable with. Do you accept this designation?

Scruton: I am not hostile to American neo-conservatism, which seems to me to show a commendable desire to think things through and to develop an active alternative to liberalism in both national and international politics. But I suppose I am more of a paleo than a neo-conservative, since I believe that the conservative position is rooted in cultural rather than economic factors, and that the single-minded pursuit of competitive markets is just as much a threat to social order as the single-minded pursuit of equality.

MG: The sort of conservatism you espouse is not easily expressed in slogans, nor do the arguments for it seem as easily mastered as those advanced in behalf of more populist varieties. What hope, if any, does your vision of conservatism have for gaining ascendancy?

Scruton: Of course it is not easy to put my kind of conservatism into slogans. That is a defect in slogans, and not in my conservatism. You cannot put Hayek's theory of the common law, Kant's theory of republican government, or Hegel's theory of civil society into slogans. But they are true, for all that. A philosophy is nothing if it does not aim at truth. (That is why Jacques Derrida and Giles Deleuze are not philosophers.)


Terrific reading. This is part two of the interview; click on the link at Right Reason for part one.
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