Quotes For Conservatives

I came across this over at Instapundit and realized I wanted to share the whole thing as it was somewhat truncated. ‘This’ happens to be a sampler of the late Roger Scruton’s quotes.

1. Scruton on the fundamental right-wing impulse: “Conservatism starts from the sentiment that good things are easily destroyed, but not easily created.”

Indeed. It seems too many on the left, particularly our deluded young adults, are nihilists, wishing for the destruction of something that works, even if imperfectly, wanting to replace it with something that only sounds good...but that history shows us again and again doesn’t work. Destruction is easy, something barbarians have done all throughout history. Creation is hard and always has been.

2. The hypocrisy of liberals: “Liberty is not the same thing as equality, and that those who call themselves liberals are far more interested in equalizing than in liberating their fellows.”

The big problem is that they aren’t really interested in equality. They are interested in equity, which isn’t the same thing at all. The one thing equity does more than anything else is bring misery because it ends up pulling everyone down to the lowest common denominator, not a place anyone wants to be.

3. Scruton on when to ignore a writer: “A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is ‘merely relative,’ is asking you not to believe him. So don’t. Deconstruction deconstructs itself, and disappears up its own behind, leaving only a disembodied smile and a faint smell of sulphur.”

Yup, yet another manifestation of nihilism.

4. It’s impossible to even have a personal identity without social relations: “We are not born free, nor do we come into this world with a self-identity and autonomy of our own. We achieve those things, through the conflict and cooperation that weave us into the social fabric. We become freely choosing individuals only by acquiring obligations to parents, siblings, institutions and groups: obligations that we did not choose.”

It seems to me the old ‘Nature versus Nurture’ argument. I have always thought that even though Nature does have some sway in this, it is primarily Nurture that shapes us, civilizing us by turning us away from our savage nature.

5. In 1998, Salon asked Roger Scruton about censorship. He said: “Yes, I am in favor of censorship, but it has to be conducted by people like me. And that’s the difficulty.” Then he laughed. (He was talking about censoring porn.)

This shows that Scruton understood the inherent paradox of censorship: Who is capable of doing so without being prejudiced by their biases? No one, that’s who. But that doesn’t stop people from trying.

6. Tribes need Gods: “Tribes survive and flourish because they have gods, who fuse many wills into a single will, and demand and reward the sacrifices on which social life depends.”

Indeed. Those who believe in nothing...will fall for anything.

7. Love is the source of the conservative worldview: “The real reason people are conservatives is that they are attached to the things that they love, and want to preserve them from abuse and decay. They are attached to their family, their friends, their religion, and their immediate environment.”

I wish I could disagree with this as I would like to believe it isn’t just a conservative worldview, but as experience has shown me by belief would be wrong. That’s a darned shame.

8. Tradition is never arbitrary: “In discussing tradition, we are not discussing arbitrary rules and conventions. We are discussing answers that have been discovered to enduring questions.”

Traditions developed over time, usually for a good reason like ensuring the survival of the people. Those traditions that no longer serve a purpose, or worse, work to hold block new traditions, ones that may be desperately needed as the conditions in our society, our world, change.

9. Real art is always meaningful: “Art moves us because it is beautiful, and it is beautiful in part because it means something. It can be meaningful without being beautiful; but to be beautiful it must be meaningful.”

There’s not much I can add to that...though I have seen ‘art’ that I have to question. I’m sorry, but Piss Christ is not something I consider art. Maybe someone else sees it as art, but I am guessing the number of people believing that is small.

10. Liberty inevitably leads to inequality and people obsessed with equity have no answer to this conundrum. Scruton: “If liberation involves the liberation of individual potential, how do we stop the ambitious, the energetic, the intelligent, the good-looking and the strong from getting ahead?”

Harrison Bergeron, anyone?

11. The entrepreneur who builds matters more than the bureaucrat who manages. Scruton: “The important person in a free economy is not the manager but the entrepreneur – the one who takes risks and meets the cost of them.”

Managers and their counterparts, bureaucrats, have done more to hold back business and progress than anything else. An illustration of this is something my late father, a consultant, told me about his job:

“I have gone into companies with the power to hire and fire everyone from floor sweepers to CEOs. I have fired a lot of CEOs (and managers). I have never had to fire a floor sweeper.”