In an interview with Joan Bakewell?[above], Roger Scruton regrets “secularization has gone as far as it has because I don’t think that there is any happiness contained within it.” He sees it as something that is “fundamentally disorientating.”
I agree, and so would Houellebecq. Liberalism does not necessarily make free.
“if it did happen … I would think it would mean the end of secular jurisdiction in this country … the greatness of the English settlement largely depends upon the fact that we have emancipated the law from religious edicts.”
When I first found out about Roger Scruton in 2008 I was a different man with different interests. I was, at the time, outraged by his “cultural pessimism” and his “paternalistic elitism”.
Since then, I changed in several ways.
I changed from being an advocate of the cult of ugliness (although my interest in the ugly still remains strong) to an advocate of the cult of beauty.
“I should like there to be perfect freedom to deride them all [all religions]; I should like men, gathered in no matter what temple to invoke the eternal who wears their image, to be seen as so many comedians in a theater, at whose antics everyone may go to laugh.”
“The term “Islamofascism” was introduced by the French writer Maxine Rodinson (1915-2004) to describe the Iranian Revolution of 1978. Rodinson was a Marxist, who described as “fascist” any movement of which he disapproved. But we should be grateful to him for coining a word that enables people on the left to denounce our common enemy. After all, other French leftists–Michel Foucault, for example–had welcomed the revolution as an amusing threat to Western interests. It is only now that people on the left can acknowledge that they are just as much a target as the rest of us, in a war that has global chaos as its goal.”
“In September of this past year Robert Redeker, a French schoolteacher, published an article in Le Figaro arguing that Christians, when incited to violence in the name of their religion, can find no authority for this in the life and words of Christ as recorded in the Gospel, while Muslims, incited to violence in the name of their religion, can find plenty of support for their belligerence in the Koran. Although manifestly true, this statement was found to be offensive by a section of Muslim opinion, Mr. Redeker received credible death-threats against himself and his family, and he and they now live in hiding under police protection.””The reaction of the French authorities typifies the European response. Critics of Islam are not defended, but marginalized, by removing them from society and keeping them under house arrest. Instead of going after those who threatened Mr. Redeker with every weapon available to the law, instead of passing legislation of whatever severity might be required to restore the freedoms that have been gratuitously removed by the newcomers, the European authorities try to bluff their way to peace through appeasement, while pushing Islam’s critics off the stage. It is now increasingly rare for public discussion of Islam and its stance to proceed with the open-minded concern for truth that is necessary if the discussion is to get us anywhere.”Europe has seen private enterprise censorship of the Islamist kind before: notably when the Fascists worked to take power in Italy and the Nazis in Germany. But Europe has not learned the lesson. People living under secular government, and enjoying the comforts of a modern economy, easily become blind to the deep religious need of our species. They readily assume that religious passions can be quelled by a dose of Enlightenment, and that a sprinkling of skepticism will suffice to quell those perverted passions, like Nazism and fascism, that arise in religion’s place. And when the truth suddenly displays itself, they stare aghast, utter abject apologies, and quickly retreat from the field.”
We still do not see eye to eye on the subject of sex. I consider myself a pornographer and Scruton has written many things about sex I don’t agree with.
On pornography he wrote:
“The pornographic image is like a magic wand that turns subjects into objects, people into things—and thereby disenchants them, destroying the source of their beauty.”–Beauty (2009)
This is perhaps true but the pornographic way of having sex also happens to be my favorite way of having sex.
And this is probably one of the stupidest things he ever wrote:
“Consider the woman who plays with her clitoris during the act of coition. Such a person affronts her lover with the obscene display of her body, and, in perceiving her thus, the lover perceives his own irrelevance. She becomes disgusting to him, and his desire may be extinguished. The woman’s desire is satisfied at the expense of her lover’s, and no real union can be achieved between them.”–Sexual Desire: A Philosophical Investigation
Would he understand that I revel in “the obscene display of her body”, her “disgustingness”?
Coming back to Scruton in general, what does my current sympathy for Scruton say about me? Have I become more conservative? Is that the reason that I like the writings of John Gray?
I do not think so. I’m just a curious person who had not been in contact with conservative thought before and found it refreshing. One effect has been that I’ve had some reserves in calling my self a progressive. Because, progress is, as Havelock Ellis would have it, the exchange of one nuisance for another.
When the second died I felt empathy, some sense of loss that I had not felt with the first.
And then it dawned on me why that was. To me, Panamarenko was but some sort of town’s fool who made art to amuse the rich or for the ‘poor little rich folk’ who were in search of their inner child and recognized in him their boy’s dream. Although I did not dislike him, my feelings toward him had been at best ambiguous.
Deelder was another case altogether.
I’d always liked him. He was punk. He was into drugs. He snorted speed. He looked stylish. He was into music. He made poetry cool. He made art for the rich and poor. He crossed boundaries. He was sharp. He was funny.
For an international audience, there are a set of four jazz compilations: ‘Deelder draait’ (2002), ‘Deelder draait door’ (2003), ‘Deelder blijft draaien’ (2004) and ‘Deelderhythm’ (2006).