Conservative Philosopher Roger Scruton Dies at 75

Scruton
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The conservative philosopher and writer Sir Roger Scruton has died at the age of 75 following a six-month battle with cancer.

In a statement published on Sir Roger’s website on Sunday, his family said: “It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Sir Roger Scruton, FBA, FRSL.

“Beloved husband of Sophie, adored father to Sam and Lucy and treasured brother of Elizabeth and Andrea, he died peacefully on Sunday 12th January. He was born on 27th February 1944 and had been fighting cancer for the last 6 months. His family are hugely proud of him and of all his achievements.”

Sir Roger was one of the country’s most prominent philosophers and published over 50 books on aesthetics, politics, and morals.

Paying tribute to the Conservative Party cultural adviser, Tory MEP Daniel Hannan said: “…the greatest conservative of our age, has died. The country has lost a towering intellect. I have lost a wonderful friend.”

Writer Peter Hitchens expressed his condolences, tweeting: “RIP Sir Roger Scruton, a man of immense courage, intellect and fortitude, whose loss we can ill afford in these narrow, conformist times.”

While the eurosceptic think tank the Bruges Group said: “Sir Roger was truly one of the greatest conservative thinkers of our age.”

Sir Roger was borning in Buslingthorpe, Lincolnshire, in 1944 before his family moved to High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire. He attended grammar school before matriculating to Jesus College, University of Cambridge, where he graduated with an MA in philosophy in 1965, and later completing a PhD in aesthetics in 1972.

Sir Roger had lectured at Birkbeck College, University of London, from 1971 to 1992 and held academic positions at other universities in the UK and the U.S.

In 2000, he told The Guardian that he had become a conservative as a young man after witnessing the Paris Riots of 1968, describing the protesters as an “unruly mob of self-indulgent middle-class hooligans”.

“I was disgusted by it, and thought there must be a way back to the defence of western civilisation against these things. That’s when I became a conservative. I knew I wanted to conserve things rather than pull them down,” he told the newspaper 20 years ago.

In 2016, he was knighted for his “services to philosophy, teaching and public education”.

Sir Roger was known for his activism in Communist-controlled eastern Europe during the Cold War, and supported underground education networks. For his work in supporting dissidents in Czechoslovakia, he was awarded the Medal of Merit by the Czech government in 1998.

In June 2019, Polish president Andrej Duda awarded Scruton the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland for his support of the anti-Communist struggle.

His most recent honour was given by the Hungarian government last month, when Prime Minister Viktor Orban awarded him the Commander’s Cross with Star of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary for the writer’s dedication to freedom in Europe.

Presented from the Hungarian embassy in London, Prime Minister Orban said: “Our dear professor taught us that conservatism is not an ideology but rather the polar opposite of one.”

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