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Book review: How to be a Conservative by Roger Scruton

By Jonathan Derbyshire  


There’s a passage early in this book in which Roger Scruton describes what the ascent of Margaret Thatcher in the late 1970s meant to him as a young academic, when his colleagues were, almost “to a man,” revolutionary socialists. While he didn’t buy the “free market rhetoric of the Thatcherites” wholesale, he says, he nevertheless “deeply sympathised with Thatcher’s motives.” And those motives, he thought, were authentically “conservative,” even if those of her “praetorian guard of economic advisors” were not. Conservatives in Scruton’s sense believe in private enterprise, the family, Christianity…

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