Roger Scruton is a real-life British conservative (as in “conservative in the American sense”). He’s been with AEI for many years, taught in British universities, and has written several superb books on politics and culture.
Of his books my two favorites are The Meaning of Conservatism, his magnum opus, and Gentle Regrets, a wonderful and very touching memoir of his rediscovery of conservatism and God. The man is incapable of writing of boring sentence. For several years, he’s written a monthly column in American Spectator (though I understand he recently wrote his last one). I don’t agree with everything he’s written, but the areas of disagreement are very small. So do yourself a favor and pick up one of his books.
As an incentive, here are three quotations. The first one is particularly pertinent to today’s American political scene:
“[T]his is the strongest argument in favour of democracy, and the reason for retaining democratic procedures at the heart of politics: namely, that they enable us to get rid of our rulers.”
This insight on the power of tradition (a subject that he often addresses) is powerful:
“Tradition . . . must include all those practices which serve to define the individual’s ‘being in society’. It constitutes his image of himself as a fragment of the greater social organism, and at the same time as the whole of that organism implicit in this individual part. . . . In seeing yourself as a father you find yourself entangled in a bond of responsibility.”
Finally, a thought on the relationship between “freedom” and our civic “institutions”:
“Freedom without institutions is blind: it embodies neither genuine social continuity nor . . . genuine individual choice. It amounts to no more than a gesture in a moral vacuum.”
Try Professor Scruton. You’ll like him. I guarantee it.