On Roger Scruton: Can well-cultured atheists save our civilization?

September 08, 2016
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By Lea Z. Singh |


British philosopher Roger Scruton has gained legendary status among conservatives and liberals alike for both his massive intellect and the unusual direction of his political leanings. As one of the few conservatives in an ocean of left-wing academics, he has become the flag-waving Robinson Crusoe of Western civilization. In Culture Counts (Encounter Books, 2007), Scruton takes it upon himself to explain why the cultural inheritance of the Western world is a treasure of immense importance, and one that must be passed down to younger generations.

Scruton’s conclusion used to be so obvious as to require no explanations. Today, his attempt to prove the importance of works by ‘old dead white men’ is a herculean task with precarious chances of success. Most universities have become masterful trick artists, charging parents more than the average household earns in a year and then producing, in a surprise sleight-of-hand students who prefer feminist literature to Shakespeare, Jay-Z to Mozart, and a urinal to the work of Leonardo da Vinci.

The cause of this confusion, Scruton explains, is the neo-Marxist philosophy of French philosopher Michel Foucault, a modern-day Aristotle in terms of his influence throughout the humanities. Foucault is no longer alive: he died of AIDS in 1984. But his ideas are being taught on campuses across the globe, and are continuing to hoodwink generations of students into repudiating Western classical music, literature, art, architecture and even philosophy as the rotten fruit of a sexist, racist, elitist, capitalist and oppressively Judeo-Christian heritage.

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