Disclaimer: Due to technical difficulties, Max was unable to publish his blog contributions on the Sunday evening deadline. Slow, painful and meticulous punishments will be enacted accordingly.
As I opened my copy of the Guardian on Saturday morning (next to my mug of Georgian Blend Loose Leaf Tea delivered up from Harrods in London itself), I came across a comment piece by Roger Scruton that caught my eye. Now for anyone wondering, “Who the hell is Roger Scruton?”, he’s a writer, philosopher and public commentator who very much sides with the traditionalist or social conservative wing of the Tory party.
What Mr Scruton set out to demonstrate that true conservatives are driven more than just economics. Now, anyone familiar with Nash will know that he harbours a particular intrigue in social conservatives (especially with former US Senator for Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum.) so naturally I thought I’d jump the gun and dissect one of Nash’s topics before he can.
“the [Conservative] party has jeopardised the allegiance of its core constituents, those who willingly describe themselves as conservatives, and live according to the unspoken norms of a shared way of life.”
Well Mr Scruton, in terms of raw numbers of Tory voters not being satisfied with the party, you are totally correct. A YouGov poll published on the 9th May showed that 40% of people who voted Conservative at the last general election in 2010 disapprove of the Government’s record to date. With UKIP scoring a record 17% in the poll, it’s also no surprise that 25% of the people in the poll who voted for the Conservatives in 2010 would vote for UKIP. In regards to the “unspoken norms of a shared way of life.” I’m not entirely sure where you’re taking us Mr Scruton, they must be very VERY unspoken, but I’m sure you’ll get onto them later.
“But a rule of law requires a shared allegiance, by which people entrust their collective destiny to sovereign institutions that can speak and decide in their name…It is a partnership between the living, the unborn and the dead – a continuous trust that no generation can pillage for its own advantage.”
Wow, something we can almost agree upon. “no generation can pillage for its own advantage.” are very fine words indeed but a partnership with “the dead”? I’m sorry, the dead are dead, sad as it may be, move on, in the words of one famous dead man, I think the name Albus Dumbledore rings a bell (we take inspiration from all walks of life) – “Do not pity the dead,…Pity the living,“. If you wish to make a better world, sometimes, you will have to disregard the views and methods of the past.
After this, it gets more fun.
“Instead of our inherited freedoms we have laws forbidding “hate speech”
Do enlighten us all Mr Scruton. How are you freedoms to oppress others being taken away? Actually, let me re-word that question, why should we let you oppress people?
“The primary institutions of civil society – marriage and the family – have no clear endorsement from our new political class.”
Really? We’re going there? “stronger families and a more responsible society – is so vital for the future of our country.” – David Cameron.
“Yet the government is bent on littering the hills with wind turbines”
I’d beg to differ, I regard wind turbines as quite pretty. But if you wish to keep using up resources on a finite planet, feel free.
“Conservative voters tend to believe that the “climate change” agenda has been foisted upon us by an unaccountable lobby of politicised intellectuals. But the government has yet to agree with them,”
This has to be the single stupidest part of the entire piece. Yes, many Conservative voters my indeed believe this pseudo-scientific line. But why the hell should governments pander to wild conspiracy theories. Mr Scruton, you’ve yet to read our Comments policy have you on Things Can Only Get Better?
All in all, as much as it was fun to dissect the comment piece this is getting really tiresome. I know the Burke style of conservatism that Mr Scruton advocated was irrational in its very nature and own admittance, but this is taking it to a new high. When you read assertion after unfounded assertion, you begin to wonder what’s the point? What’s the point with trying to engage with someone who bases their world view on gut instinct and anecdotes?
I’ll leave you with the words of some mediocre person who was on the show back in the day (so mediocre I forget who). – “Don’t bother arguing with stupid people. They’ll only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.”