Fellow winger-blogger Right Reason sends us this link to his exclusive interview with Roger Scruton, who, along with Theodore Dalrymple, is my favorite U.K. conservative writer. It’s the 25th anniversary of Scruton’s seminal book “The Meaning of Conservatism,” and he’s also got a new book out, “Gentle Regrets (Thoughts From a Life).”
Here’s an excerpt from the interview, in which Scruton explains why it’s liberalism, not conservatism, that’s the ideology of hate:
“To describe an obligation as transcendent in my sense is not to endow it with some kind of oppressive force. On the contrary, it is to recognize the spontaneous disposition of people to acknowledge obligations that they never contracted. There are other words that might be used in this context: gratitude, piety, obedience — all of them virtues, and all of them naturally offered to the thing we love.
“What I try to make clear in my writings is that, while the left-liberal view of politics is founded in antagonism towards existing things and resentment at power in the hands of others, conservatism is founded in the love of existing things, imperfections included, and a willing acceptance of authority, provided it is not blatantly illegitimate. Hence there is nothing oppressive in the conservative attitude to authority.
“It is part of the blindness of the left-wing worldview that it cannot perceive authority but only power. People who think of conservatism as oppressive and dictatorial have some deviant example in mind, such as fascism, or Tsarist autocracy. I would offer in the place of such examples the ordinary life of European and American communities as described by 19th century novelists. In those communities all kinds of people had authority — teachers, pastors, judges, heads of local societies, and so on. But only some of them had power, and almost none of them were either able or willing to oppress their fellows.”