Sir Roger Scruton: How to Be a Conservative

  • Published on Jul 19, 2017
  • Recorded on February 27, 2017
    In the latest episode from Uncommon Knowledge, Sir Roger Scruton, a formally trained political philosopher, talks about his life and the events he’s witnessed that led him to conservatism. He first embraced conservatism after witnessing the leftist student protests in France in May 1968. During the ensuing riots in Paris, more than three hundred people were injured. Scruton walked away from this event with a change in worldview and a strong leaning toward conservatism. Visits to communist- controlled Poland and Czechoslovakia in 1979 cemented his preference for conservatism and his distaste for the fraud of communism and socialism, initiating a desire to do something about it. From thereon he dedicated himself to helping organize underground seminars for the young people oppressed behind the iron curtain.

    Sir Roger examines a brief history of conservatism in the twentieth century of England in regard to Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill. Although he appreciates what Margaret Thatcher stood for, he argues that she had many conservative ideals but never used the conservative framework to organize her overall political strategy. Instead she organized around market economics, which was not always effective in the social, cultural, and legal areas. Peter Robinson argues that Winston Churchill did a much better job of organizing around conservative ideals but eventually lost an election because he didn’t have the vocabulary or the focus on free markets. They discuss the tenuous relationship between free markets and conservative ideals that have not mixed well together in British politics.

    Robinson and Sir Roger discuss the 2016 political upset of Brexit in the United Kingdom and how the political analysts failed to predict the vote outcome, much like what happened in November 2016 in the United States. They deliberate how the issues around immigration from Eastern Europe to the United Kingdom contributed to Brexit, in addition to general dissatisfaction with the European Union. Thus, in the cases of both the United Kingdom and the United States, the media and intellectuals ignored the will of the “indigenous working classes” who made their voices known through their votes.

    About the Guest: Sir Roger Scruton
    Sir Roger Scruton is an English writer and philosopher who has published more than fifty books in philosophy, aesthetics, and politics. His book discussed in this episode was How to Be a Conservative; it was published in 2014. He is a fellow of the British Academy and a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He teaches in both England and America and is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington. DC. He is currently teaching an MA in philosophy course for the University of Buckingham. Sir Scruton was knighted in 2016 by Queen Elizabeth II for his “services to philosophy, teaching and public education.”

    Additional Resources:


    Margaret Thatcher:



    For the full transcript go to
    Interested in exclusive Uncommon Knowledge content? Check out Uncommon Knowledge on social media!
    Facebook: UncKnowledge/
    Twitter: UncKnowledge/
    Instagram: uncommon_knowledge_show

Comments • 665

  • P W
    P W 3 days ago +7


  • stuckmannen
    stuckmannen 17 days ago +72

    It's not racist to be proud of your heritage and to want to preserve it and your people. Despite what the media tells you...Nationalism is not racism.
    The west is missing this... Don't take your heritage for granted... Different people bring different cultures, don't expect foreigners to preserve your peoples culture and traditions.

  • stuckmannen
    stuckmannen 17 days ago +1

    It's not racist to be proud of your heritage and to want to preserve it and your people. Despite what the media tells you...Nationalism is not racism.
    The west is missing this... Don't take your heritage for granted... Different people bring different cultures, don't expect foreigners to preserve your peoples culture and traditions.

  • Registeredmensah
    Registeredmensah Month ago +11

    Blood and soil. Always and it won't change

  • zulfiqar Tareen
    zulfiqar Tareen Month ago

    the English nationalism has carried the day-again.
    let me remind brits that this is not the end. this is the beginning of the end of the united kingdom as we know it. the dark forces of nationalism that the English nationalists have unleashed will now give rise to...
    Scottish nationalism,
    Welsh nationalism,
    northern Irish nationalism.
    English nationalists will soon reap what they have sown.
    pull up your chair, get the popcorn and the soda and watch what is coming next from Scotland and Northern Ireland and enjoy.
    Zulfiqar Tareen, a friend of all, the enemy of none.

  • zulfiqar Tareen
    zulfiqar Tareen Month ago

    Britain expects every man and woman will do their duty
    and vote LibDem tomorrow.
    Horatio Nelson.

  • zulfiqar Tareen
    zulfiqar Tareen Month ago

    Ahead lies the battle to save the sacred Union of
    the united kingdom which the Brexit beast stands to devour.
    This battle is also about protecting our children's future and their right
    to live, work or get an education in any European city.
    This battle to avert the impending disaster that Brexiteers want to bring not just upon the UK nation, but entire Europe must be fought on the ground, in the trenches, on the sea and in the air and to the last breath of the last democratic soldier.
    Zulfiqar Tareen, a friend of all, the enemy of none.

  • Rodney Caupp
    Rodney Caupp Month ago

    I heard one of you giving both sides of the argument, even though one side was absolute fiction... aka a God Damned lie. I added my thumbs down, because you muddy the water when you give the freaks 2 choices. "Tell them our point of view", because they already have been indoctrinated with those lies.......

  • J N
    J N Month ago +5

    I am impressed by Mr. Scruton and will be buying his books. American academic.

  • Michael Rosenzweig
    Michael Rosenzweig 2 months ago

    This guy's views on central and east European migrants is fact-free (like his 'understanding' of music, based on complete ahistoric ignorance). To start with, his figures on EU migrants is wrong.
    ●The number of EU migrants only came near the numbers for non-EU for about 18 months. In 2015, EU net immigration to the UK was 172,000, only just below the figure of 191,000 for non-EU immigrants. And only for this particular year.
    ●EU immigrants are more educated, younger, more likely to be in work and less likely to claim benefits than the UK-born.
    ●Areas of the UK with large increases in EU immigration did not suffer greater falls in the jobs and pay of UK-born workers. The big falls in wages after 2008 are due to the global financial crisis and a weak economic recovery, not to immigration.
    ●There is also little effect of EU immigration on inequality through reducing the pay and jobs of less skilled UK workers. Changes in wages and joblessness for less educated UK born workers show little correlation with changes in EU immigration.
    ●EU immigrants pay more in taxes than they take out in welfare and the use of public services. They therefore help reduce the budget deficit while propping up the increasing elderly and retired native population. ●Immigrants do not have a negative effect on local services such as crime, education, health, or social housing.
    ●The refugee crisis has nothing to do with EU membership. Refugees admitted to Germany have no right to live in the UK. The UK is not in the Schengen passport-free travel agreement so there are border checks on migrants.
    Centre for Economic Performance BREXIT ANALYSIS NO. 5 *Brexit and the impact of immigration on the UK*
    Further, the notion that UK laws are mostly EU laws rubber stamped is nonsense. For example 98% of UK public money expenditure is controlled by the UK. The ONLY sectors where EU laws have impact are agriculture, fishing, external trade and the environment.

    • The-Toy-Guy
      The-Toy-Guy Month ago +1

      What you speak there is true but so much of it is blasphemy.
      For starters I've got a court case upcoming with a migrant who had no insurance and tried to do a hit and run on my vehicle. I also have a police order against his 'gang' of Indian muslims. This is a 5k debt we are talking about here. He's on a visa planning to do his study and go back home in 2 years too so it has me in a bad situation. Yea he and his mates are only here to study and go home. Not to study and stay.
      He works cash in hand at a pizza place and earns $150 a week or something like that he said. They all work there it's around the corner from my place I've seen them all there doing their thing.
      When it came to the pre-court and declaring his income it's except though. Cash in hand off the books right. No tax that's what you are dealing with here aswell not just your recorded statistics my friend.
      Secondly my wife and I are looking at rental properties at the moment too. The last property we were up against maybe 50-60 Indian people and Chinese people. We haven't been able to find a house because of this influx and the real estate agents are telling us that the places are going to people on subsidies and things like that.
      We both work full time but my wife has recently had her hours chopped down to 25 a week instead of 35 because they have cash in hand migrants working there in the kitchen where she works now.
      We have decided that we are moving out of this area next year though.
      Welcome to the real word buddy.

  • alex jervis
    alex jervis 2 months ago +1

    'immigration from Europe'?
    Immigration VIA Europe!
    Kipling; sums up exactly why I dislike and do not want diversity.
    The Stranger within my gates,
    He may be evil or good,
    But I cannot tell what powers control--
    What reasons sway his mood;
    Nor when the Gods of his far-off land
    Shall repossess his blood.

  • Why are you so Angry?
    Why are you so Angry? 2 months ago +1

    America is not England.

  • Radical LeaveMeAlone-ist
    Radical LeaveMeAlone-ist 2 months ago +4

    Outstanding interview

  • USER112358134711
    USER112358134711 2 months ago

    Sir Scruton has another conservative under fire on the other side of the Atlantic, Dennis Prager: This trend is very sad. In Greece instance, the leftist party in power (populated by many former communists) reiterates that conservatives belong to the extreme right, which is wrong.

  • Tom More
    Tom More 2 months ago +1

    Wonderful. Simply wonderful. What conversation can be.

  • El Chingon
    El Chingon 2 months ago +7

    Spoiled, narcissistic protesters who never had any real difficulties, fighting an imaginary repressive structure. Nothing has changed.

  • Supa Sand
    Supa Sand 2 months ago +1

    This conversation would be more fitting in late 2019. President Trump has proved to be everything he promised to be. Although gynocentrism and new wave feminism continues to be the main culprit for the facilitation of the decline of the west and the demographic changes in the USA can only be stopped with mass deportation or soon the great state of Texas will turn blue and there will never be another Republican President ever until of course the great collapse takes place under the followers of Marx agenda.

  • Miki Dewberry
    Miki Dewberry 2 months ago

    you should join
    Sargon of Akkad, Laura Towler, James Delingpole channel, Stefan Molyneux, styxhexenhammer666 , Red Ice TV (bitchute only now!), The Golden One, Gavin Mcinnes, triggernometry, Sarah Corriher, notregme, Wicked Felina

  • Inge Fossen
    Inge Fossen 2 months ago +1

    Thatcher famously said "There is no society."

  • Scott Koenig
    Scott Koenig 2 months ago

    I am content that Senator McCain is retired and no longer ridiculing President Trump. McCain, in my humble opinion, was mad that he lost his White House bid in 2000 AND in 2008. RIP

  • Saighdiúir Dé
    Saighdiúir Dé 2 months ago

    From an x catholic - Catholic Bishops Council are subhumans & more treacherous than a pit of vipers. Class A infidels

  • Todd Jackson
    Todd Jackson 2 months ago

    33:25 Yes, there are criteria upon which to make those accusations, they've been laid out often and clearly, and to fail to understand them is denialism, coldheartedness, and, ultimately, complicity.

    You are unserious when you begin the paean to defending the integrity of home at the stranger's knock on your door, rather than upon your dispossession of his.

  • lefroy1
    lefroy1 3 months ago +1

    You gave a really poor show as an interviewer there.

  • amannisa oigur
    amannisa oigur 3 months ago +2

    I am a Conservative,I am from Central Asia I want my land,language and traditions preserved form territorial occupation and GLOBALISM!

    MICHAEL DAVIS 3 months ago

    I like this. Trump 2020!!!!

  • Diogo Bronze da Silva
    Diogo Bronze da Silva 3 months ago +3

    Churchill was a freemason, one should never use him as an example of conservatism

  • D D
    D D 3 months ago

    Not that clever.

  • rafi
    rafi 3 months ago

    House and country are not same. It’s a cheap analogy that doesn’t work. A house is always headed by a parent and almost never democratic and for good reason. You won’t let your toddler to vote on choice of breakfast. A country however is democratic and unlike a house, is not owned by anyone or any one group. It’s shameful that a Cambridge graduate will make this cheap argument.

  • John Pettimore
    John Pettimore 3 months ago +1

    "Roughly half of what you have earned goes to support a shadow community of parasites whose only justification is that they pretend to be governing us."

  • Andrei MO
    Andrei MO 3 months ago

    Conservatism gives me a feeling of romanticism, a proud feeling of my ethnicity and memories from my grandparents.
    The main characteristic of conservatism is careless about others. You have your family and care only about them. That's why I have a large respect and envy for liberals,
    who care about the whole picture, and are smart enough to make it work. I was passing through Gates foundation list and I see very few conservatives there.
    I believe we should have conservatives, because wars are good for growth, and liberals, because compassion is good for growth too.

  • Ronbo710
    Ronbo710 3 months ago

    I just laugh at the hypocrisy of it all. People rant and rave against the U.S.A. and Europe and yet they're killing themselves to get there.

  • Sasan Irandust
    Sasan Irandust 3 months ago

    Good interview, but as usual, you don’t really challenge your guests. It would be interesting to know: what have Iranians - one of the most successful immigrant groups - ever “smashed” inside the USA, for Trump to be justified to ban them from entering? What have the Saudis ever “smashed” - apart from the WTC, US troops abroad (“Al Qaeda”) etc. - for them to be allowed to enter?

  • Mister Lackey
    Mister Lackey 3 months ago +1

    Observe the academics today, and their pathetic group-think regurgitations, and even the least educated of us will gain a sense of intellectual and practical superiority to those who cling to the mantel of their sanctions, the certifications, and the credentials.
    The lowly proletariat, standing conspicuously outside the cliques of academia, can easily be more intellectual than are the self-ascribed harbingers of intelligence, convinced they themselves have the right and the destiny to overturn 10,000 years of good and normal.
    Indeed, some peculiar institutions have met their ends, and should remain in the dust bin of history, but it's obvious the left is now overdoing it.

  • Erik Thygesen
    Erik Thygesen 3 months ago

    22:18 best point of why we don't need the konventions anymore.

  • Lucky Apple
    Lucky Apple 3 months ago

    The British storicaly has made diferent times smth wrong and unfair against other nations people in the World. Take for istance the first war against Afghanistan in 1838. Or the latest war against Iraq, or in Lybia, Syria and so on. Aren't those decisions of staggering foolishness looked with growing disdain from the local people? By the way, I am from Europe !!!!

  • sal colon
    sal colon 3 months ago +1

    I find that Mr. Scruton contradicts himself in part.
    30:57 "It's Liberal propaganda which has made it almost impossible to say those things..."
    38:40 "Trump should never have mentioned the Muslim idea..."

    37:52 "And having invited people in who start smashing things up, you recognize a right to exclude them"
    I agree with him, specially when he talks about keeping culture unchanged. People don't seem to understand
    that Islam is not a religion. It is an expansionist ideology/cult that is completely at odds with western

  • Will Richards
    Will Richards 3 months ago +1

    Roger's description of the rioting students of 1960s Paris, perfectly fits those constantly protesting today, whether about the fraud of climate alarmism, or Brexit, or whatever

  • Ann Waters
    Ann Waters 3 months ago

    TRUMP 2020!

  • A A
    A A 3 months ago

    Top man

  • Robert Piotr
    Robert Piotr 3 months ago

    Pro fide rege et lege!

  • Mark Freeman
    Mark Freeman 3 months ago +1

    What is needed is a new treaty. One that we could accept.

  • michael
    michael 3 months ago +3

    I agree with most of what he says, but (in my humble, plebian opinion) I'd be much stricter on immigration. Immigration shouldn't be based on merit, it should be based on minimal alteration of the ethnic population (plus merit). Things can change, but very, very, slowly.

  • Fe Mill
    Fe Mill 4 months ago

    "the peculiar social conditions of Britain....we haven't been interfered with in this way before and people have resented that and rightly". Well, no, actually. Britain has seen many episodes of immigration into the country, as well as massive emigration from the country. Does he also forget we are part of a commonwealth. Does he forget America, the West Indies, India, China, Africa, Australia and so on. We are not unfamiliar with the movement of people. Socialism is a young politics in this country, unlike conservatism and liberalism. Perhaps there's just something a bit wrong with conservatism in the modern world. Cling onto it all you like, afraid of change.

  • Fe Mill
    Fe Mill 4 months ago

    Of course one wants to hold onto the things one loves close to oneself and not change them, an unsurprising realisation when enjoying a nice life, following on from the opportunities provided by a grammar school and university education and while holidaying in Paris. Some people were still living in the post-industrial slums of Manchester - the only thing they had to hold close to themselves was the hope of change and of course many never got out and are buried in their thousands in Angel Meadow. I think there is an underestimation of the devastating effect of that red brick city on the psychology of millions of people. And the reason they were there in their great numbers was because they were starving or thrown off the land so it couldn't be argued that it was a choice.

  • Correctly Outraged
    Correctly Outraged 4 months ago

    I will hide behind..... I like how he owned the question....

  • jassybee
    jassybee 4 months ago +2

    Trump's defects of character? Obama was a Communist for god's sake which is a huge- defect of character! And Europe is destroying itself with their insane immigtarion policies.

    • Maksie0
      Maksie0 3 months ago +1

      How in the hell is Barack Obama a communist?

  • Justin Archer
    Justin Archer 4 months ago +2

    The interviewer is pretty ideologically rigid... and a little high up on his own horse.

  • The Rooted Word
    The Rooted Word 4 months ago +3

    The simple answer to the first question is Raskolnikov from Dostoevsky's Crime & Punishment. We have created a whole society of Raskolnikovs. In one form or another they think they are above the law, whether the law of human nature, the societal laws, or the law of God. They set out to prove this everyday in word and deed. And they trample down anyone who would call them to obey the laws they believe do not apply to them. In the Biblical sense, this is the Man of Lawlessness, Paul predicted would rise with the Great Rebellion, which was the entire historical event encapsulated in the Renaissance-Reformation-Enlightenment through the power of Humanism. Out of this rose also modern Science, pretending to love laws of Nature, yet supporting philosophically the same lawlessness that sets man above God, and it became a direct opponent of Christianity.

  • Ken Vee
    Ken Vee 5 months ago

    "intellectual class that stands outside of culture and feels superior to it." Definition of a Critic... ? A good portion of the job of a critic is to justify their position as such and camoflage at all costs their own shortcomings.

  • David Bagstad
    David Bagstad 5 months ago +1

    Again and again, we hear it from learned men and, we hear it all around us, that the liberals resort to name-calling when they have no position or have lost the moral high ground.

  • OriginalLHB
    OriginalLHB 5 months ago +1

    To my mind Sir Roger is a proponent of views that are very similar to those espoused by the American political philosopher Robert Nisbet. In his advocacy for civil society he also is a champion of the ideas set forth by Pope John Paul II in his brilliant articulation of the principal of subsidiarity in his great social encyclical Centesimus Annus. I am one of a handful of conservatives of like mind who recognize that perhaps our main weakness is that our type of conservatism is primarily non ideological. It will ultimately take great thinkers who are well versed in history to figure out a coherent way of articulating our vision to the people.

  • conor mac nessa
    conor mac nessa 5 months ago

    Ed Bourke was Irish

  • bookguitarguy
    bookguitarguy 5 months ago

    Truly impressive. I'd never heard of him, but this is a great man with little ego whose commitment to Truth is palpable. Thank you Sir.

  • thomas measor
    thomas measor 5 months ago

    The ncosevative philosophy is to give to the wealthy so they can invest it to create jobs. But It's not working, is it. The money they leech from the poor goes into someones offshore account somewhere. Wake up people in Britain, your being screwed big time by the conservatives.

  • skojig oquist
    skojig oquist 5 months ago

    1979 Czechoslovakia was just fine in our Slavic sense. I'm still not sure why people think it was an awful world.
    We were happy.

  • Sam Houston
    Sam Houston 6 months ago +3

    Yeah Roger, tell us how to be a conservative. And lose every cultural battle with the Left over the 100 years. But, hey, at least we get those tax cuts!!!

  • Steve Crammond
    Steve Crammond 6 months ago +10

    Love Peter Robinson's way of interviewing. So elegant

  • Ron Budd
    Ron Budd 7 months ago +1

    Sir Roger Scruton,...CAN South Korea absorb,.....North Korean,...economic immigrants?

  • Lieshtmeiser
    Lieshtmeiser 7 months ago

    Good talk, not the best Scruton ive seen though, some of his talks have basically been 'conservatism for the next 500 years'. Thats an adaptation of a saying attributed to Forrestal about the flag raising on Iwo Jima.

  • James Edward S.
    James Edward S. 7 months ago +1

    Sorry, Sir Roger, but Islam is most certainly an enemy of Christian civilization. Islam is utterly incompatible with Christianity, and even more incompatible with the limited government established by the US Constitution. Islam is an natural enemy of the English Bill of Rights of 1689 as well. I'm rather surprised that you can't see that? Or are you merely terrorized by the Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist Trotsky-ites in to lying about what you honestly think about believe about Islam?
    Islam IS very compatible with Communism, because both are totalitarian doctrines; they actually mesh almost perfectly.