Roger Scruton: defender of the soul & civilization | The New Criterion

As others have pointed out, Scruton’s conservatism has both a metaphysical and empirical dimension. Long before he returned to a rather distinctive Christian affirmation, he rejected every form of materialistic and scientistic reductionism. At the center of his thought was the life world, the world of concrete experience where humans came to sight as persons. This was a world marked by freedom and accountability, and not a web of necessity that knows nothing of the self-conscious, dignified, acting person. But for Scruton, human beings were embodied or “incarnate” persons, and not noumenal selves, to use Kant’s term, free from all natural and external limitations. The free and accountable human being accepts legitimate authority and the limits inherent in the human condition with grace and equanimity. He does not confuse them, as Michel Foucault and the postmodern Left so recklessly do, with coercion and imperious domination. Where the Left sees only “false consciousness,” Scruton affirmed legitimate authority—moral, intellectual, and political—that is the other side of human freedom.
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