Andrew, Roger, Sam & Wendell image

Andrew, Roger, Sam & Wendell

That as he approaches the significant point of turning 40 Andrew should be developing a more mature political philosophy is reassuring – perhaps all my efforts have not been in vain after all.

As Andrew identifies, there is difference between a conservative philosophy and a Conservative party position. Conservative philosophy is represented not only by Roger Scruton but by Samwise Gamgee:

Do you remember the Shire, Mr. Frodo? It’ll be spring soon. And the orchards will be in blossom. And the birds will be nesting in the hazel thicket. And they’ll be sowing the summer barley in the lower fields… and eating the first of the strawberries with cream. Do you remember the taste of strawberries?

And Wendell Berry – who in some of his pronouncements and actions might be considered of the radical left – frequently espouses pure conservativism in his understanding of community. For instance,

If we are looking for insurance against want and oppression, we will find it only in our neighbors’ prosperity and goodwill and, beyond that, in the good health of our worldly places, our homelands. If we were sincerely looking for a place of safety, for real security and success, then we would begin to turn to our communities - and not the communities simply of our human neighbors but also of the water, earth, and air, the plants and animals, all the creatures with whom our local life is shared.

This is the philosophy that, in Scruton’s phrase, believes good things are more easily destroyed than created – and the conserving of good things should be fought for. That conservative philosophy and Conservative politics are often widely separated is of course illustrated powerfully in the person of Scruton himself – that the most significant conservative thinker of our times has never been elevated to the House of Lords by either Thatcher, Major, Cameron or May tells us a lot about contemporary Conservativism. “Let us first of all consider, my brethren, the value of Light. If Light be in itself good.” Yep.


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