Scruton, An Elegy: A Tribute to Professor Sir Roger Scruton | Jake Scott
On Sunday the 12th of January, at roughly six o’clock, the family of Sir Roger Scruton, the last great English conservative, shared the sad news that he had passed away. The press statement can be read here.
Sir Roger was the leading light in defending the conservative tradition, our Western heritage, and British values. He began his long and distinguished career as a student of aesthetics, before a Burkean moment in the streets of Paris in the chaos of 1968 helped him realise his conservatism. Since then, and many times through accident rather than choice, Sir Roger became a champion of freedom behind the Iron Curtain, a controversial figure in the British Academy, and a well-known polemicist, from the dissemination of philosophy in the hidden classrooms of Prague to the lecture theatres of America. Sir Roger will be remembered, no doubt, across the world as a friend of freedom.
Sir Roger has had an enormous influence on myself; the few times we corresponded he was extraordinarily kind, and supportive. His works are vast, eloquent, poignant, always insightful and incisive, and tinged with a very British sense of humour and irony that is sadly lacking across modern philosophy and political theory. His works, covering topics from aesthetics to music, from God to wine, from Brexit to farming, and most of all on politics, will continue to be a source of inspiration for years to come.
And it is comforting to know that he is not an obscure figure; indeed, it is a testament to Sir Roger’s influence and popularity that the website announcing his passing has crashed multiple times this evening, and the outpouring of support for his work, his life, and his family has been staggering:
Very sad news. Professor Sir Roger Scruton, the greatest conservative of our age, has died. The country has lost a towering intellect. I have lost a wonderful friend. pic.twitter.com/oEviNCozlO
— Daniel Hannan (@DanielJHannan) January 12, 2020
RIP the great Sir Roger Scruton. A wise, challenging, thoughtful Conservative, in the keenest sense – treated appallingly in the past year by a dysfunctional and merciless culture. But what a legacy.
— The People’s Tim Dawson (@Tim_R_Dawson) January 12, 2020
RIP Sir Roger Scruton, a man of immense courage, intellect and fortitude, whose loss we can ill afford in these narrow, conformist times.
— Peter Hitchens (@ClarkeMicah) January 12, 2020
From architecture to philosophy, Sir Roger Scruton had a brilliant mind. He will be remembered, and missed. https://t.co/qtzuKTY7Oo
— Kate Andrews (@KateAndrs) January 12, 2020
There is little I can say that will not be said, and likely has not been said already. Instead, I think Sir Roger’s own words matter here (from ‘To Die For’, 2009):
Death accepted for love’s sake is a triumph over the empirical world, a final proof of freedom and personality against the meaningless flow of causes. The ritual sacrifice shows us this, and thereby reattaches us to the world of human sentiment.
Sir Roger wrote, in the early 2000s, a book entitled Gentle Regrets: I hope, at the end of his life, he had very few. May he Rest in Peace.
Photo by dragoku on Flickr.