Sir Roger Scruton on Puritanical Progressivism

Ben Weingarten: We are meeting today in fortuitous times for this interview, but also perilous times here in America. You have U.S. senators and a former attorney general openly, in effect, and sometimes directly, inciting violence with their rhetoric. We just went through a confirmation process for the Supreme Court in which the ideas of due process and presumption of innocence went out the window for a large percentage of the country. On top of that, there's been a resurgence in socialism, and I see a parallel here in what we're witnessing in America to what you witnessed in France in May of 1968, which you…described as the time in which you were led to conservatism. I wonder if you'd comment on that.

Sir Roger Scruton: Well, yes. There is something similar definitely happening, in that there's a loss of any sense of the legitimacy of the inherited political order, and the inherited procedures, and how things have been done, no longer has any authority on the country. Because it has been done, that's a reason for their not doing it again. All that innovation without knowledge has taken over. And I'm not sure that there is any alternative that people are contemplating. As you say, there is a lot of socialist rhetoric, but it's completely detached from the kind of substantial theories of society and its development that were given by Marx, and which were accepted by the revolutionaries of 1968 in Paris. Here it is simply uneducated rhetoric, but it has a lot of power.

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