In a curious way I was saddened to learn a week ago of the death of Sir Roger Scruton, for all that my outlook is far removed from his. In part this is because I still feel that, except perhaps for architecture, his various campaigns (not his academic philosophy) amounted to a futile waste of effort and his learning.

None more so than Scruton's battles against left-wing influence in academia. In that case I wonder, looking back, whether his problem was that he unwittingly fought against himself. Scruton's devotion to 'high culture' and, even more, his pessimism about modern mass culture find their echo in the pessimism of much of the intellectual Left about liberal democracy and intellectual freedom in conditions of 'neoliberal' market capitalism and associated consumerism.  Although that taps into new anxieties, such as about environmental disaster or a new feudalism ruled by a class of genetically modified overlords, it also draws upon the tradition of 'Continental' philosophy going back centuries. Pessimism about the fate of human civilisation remains widespread, but not linked to Scruton's vision so much as that of his enemies. 

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