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Publisher's Summary

Roger Scruton looks at the central ideas of conservatism over the centuries. He examines conservative thinking on civil society, the rule of law and the role of the state on the one hand and freedom (including freedom of expression and association), morality, equality, property and rights on the other. He traces the origins and development of the conservative ideology in the philosophies and thoughts of, among others, John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, David Hume, Edmund Burke, Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, John Ruskin, Michael Oakeshott, Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman and Robert Nozick. 

He shows how conservative ideas have worked out in the politics and policies of leading figures such as Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Disraeli, the Earl of Salisbury, Calvin Coolidge, Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. He also looks closely at the degree to which capitalism and free markets have been, and are integral to, conservative ideology and politics in the UK and in the USA. Professor Scruton's clear, incisive guide is essential listening for anyone wishing to understand the politics and policies of the west now and over the last three centuries.

©2018 Horsell's Morsels Ltd (P)2018 Hachette Audio UK

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-01-2020

poorly structure, reasoning, and balance

i hoped for a balanced perspective and account of events. i hoped for structured counter arguments for the alternatives.

unfortunately it is lacking.

the book suffers from a lack of logical structure. it goes back and forth through time with such speed that it lacks any clarity of following a narrative. it also doesn’t stay focused on the topics of the chapters. this is clear from all of the references to other chapters.

These structural problems give the impression of a rambling stream of consciousness peppered with quotes from authors and poets that have little to do with conservative politics even outside the philosophical and cultural conservatism chapters. One can’t help but feel like the author is getting lost in romantic thoughts throughout the book.

It lacks in historical evidence and explanation also. I can understand that one cannot give an entire history of everything in politics but it on occasion makes attacks and casts victims, without citation.

It also avoids a number of difficult / controversial areas in history. it also avoids giving structured arguments for/against in particular areas deciding only to give light summarisations.

Instead it sticks only to times when conservative policy has been successful and alternatives have been failures. To my mind the strength of policy and ideology is shown by tackling the failures instead of focusing only on successes.

it could have covered a lot of different topics in more detail and skipped a lot of topics and pretentious quotes.

the narration is well delivered. i’m only sorry he had to read this book which ranks as the worst book i have experienced to the end. neither illuminating nor entertaining.

2 people found this helpful

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