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Publisher's Summary

What does it mean to be a conservative in an age so sceptical of conservatism? How can we live in the presence of our 'canonized forefathers' at a time when their cultural, religious and political bequest is so routinely rejected? With soft left-liberalism as the dominant force in Western politics, what can conservatives now contribute to public debate that will not be dismissed as pure nostalgia?

In this highly personal and witty book, renowned philosopher Roger Scruton explains how to live as a conservative in spite of the pressures to exist otherwise. Drawing on his own experience as a counter-cultural presence in public life, Scruton argues that while humanity might survive in the absence of the conservative outlook, it certainly won't flourish.

How to Be a Conservative is not only a blueprint for modern conservatism. It is a heartfelt appeal on behalf of old fashioned decencies and values, which are the bedrock of our weakened, but still enduring civilization.

©2014 Roger Scruton (P)2014 Audible Inc.

What listeners say about How to Be a Conservative

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Refreshingly Enlightening

If you are interested in politics beyond watching the news or reading the paper, this book with worth a listen. His adroit definitions and appropriate coverage of the key points of political thought add clarity to a typically muddled group of ideas. His critique of the modern right wing is eye opening and revealing. This book has really opened my mind and I hope it opens yours.

13 people found this helpful

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Coherent explanation of true conservatism

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

It is work to be a conservative. Scruton does some of the work by sharing thoughtful explanations of what conservatism is. His work will help me articulate my experience as a conservative.

Which scene was your favorite?

A conservative values what previous generations handed down to the living generation and tries to live in a way that leaves the next generation with an inheritance rather than a debt.

8 people found this helpful

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Brilliant

I thought more profoundly about society and my place in it during these few hours than I did during the entire 6 years of my university miseducation.

7 people found this helpful

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RIP Sir Roger Scruton

Conservative philosopher Roger Scruton died of cancer earlier today (January 12, 2020) at age 75. Likely the best known and most important conservative intellectual of our time Sir Roger leaves behind a wealth of publications. I selected HOW TO BE A CONSERVATIVE randomly. It is a marvelous book. Released in 2014 it defines what conservatism is compellingly. I prefer Fools, Frauds and Firebrands which is his take down of modern leftists. Being a classical liberal I've never considered myself a conservative but no matter one's political philosophy reading Scruton is always a delight.

14 people found this helpful

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Conservatism is more than economic theory

Very thought provoking about the essence of conservative thought and action. Scruton goes beyond economic and political theory to examine the cultural aspects of conservatism.

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Review of reading

Very clearly read. One comment though: it is important for listening comprehension to include sufficient pauses at ends of sections and after headings.

1 person found this helpful

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Good book

Good subjects including socialism/communism vs. capitalism, Sharia vs. democracy, crony capitalism vs. free market capitalism.

3 people found this helpful

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Scruton take on conservatism

This is a survey of Dr. Scruton’s view on politics, history, society, culture, etc. Expansive and intricate and deep. He covers all the important controversies of the day while outlining his general conservative perspective. I enjoyed the audible so much I am going to purchase the book.

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Excellent journey through conservatism

This was the first book by Sir Roger Scruton I purchased. It is undeniably perennial as Scruton dives long into history, philosophy, politics, economics, religion, art, architecture, conservation and more to show us just how rich and long a history we have as a people and why it's worth preserving.

Scruton shows us how modern definitions of conservatism and liberalism sadly miss the mark and how we ought to see them in their original form in order to value and embody them better.

I will be buying paper copies from now on as there was too much I wanted to quote and nothing but audio to quote it from.

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A mesmerizing book

This book is a guide for the good sense. After read it, many things start to make sense.

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  • B T.
  • 06-01-21

Clear, if slightly pointless and cowardly

Desperately trying to intellectualise his fear of change, and mistrust of anyone who isn't already a posh English person or a long dead philosopher or composer. Rejects socialism because it's spooky or something, seems like he's going to reject capitalism because he finds it a bit vulgar, but then draws back at the last minute because he can't think of an alternative. Or because he doesn't want to think of an alternative, because he's happy to put up with inequality and greed as long as churches are still pretty, and as long as no one makes him feel bad for being a bigot. The narration and sound quality were perfectly fine though, haha

85 people found this helpful

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  • Andy T
  • 02-04-21

A tad too wistful for my taste

Clearly Roger Scrutin was a highly educated man, with the ability to strung together multiple themes to make his arguments. And I appreciated many of them. But the nostalgia of looking back on the days when lemonade bottles has a deposit on them and - in particular - the almost unquestioning love of the institutions of the past put me off. Dixon of Dock Green was a great series, but it didn’t represent the thuggish police who waded into peaceful revellers at Stonehenge every year. I will not agree that banning cruel sports is an imposition of the state (bear baiting, anyone?), nor that the more accepting treatment of homosexuality is a retrograde step. If the past was simply better, what of the desperation of inner city families in Manchester - or Wigan Pier, come to that. Erudite, yes, and perhaps I’ve been tainted by four years of Trump in the US; but I found this just a little too romanticized.

38 people found this helpful

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  • Seayeaitch
  • 07-03-18

Superb, it will teach you how to listen.

Whatever you think your political leanings are, put them to one side and with an open mind listen to this treasure of thought and the arguments that are derived and put for the listener to consider. At times it is heavy going and I found my self going back to get a better understanding. A great listen that should be read or listened to by all that want to have a better understanding . Roger Scruton is a man and product of our time, compellingly brilliant.

20 people found this helpful

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  • AHeath
  • 05-25-21

Left me with more questions than answers

A mixed bag. Felt like an important book, but for me missed the mark due its high-fallutin language and concepts.
I wanted an accessible articulation of conservative philosophy, written in a way that the average person could identify with. Except in a few places, this is not that. It's a very intellectual explanation which would be ok if it found a way to bridge that to what the 'average' person thinks or feels, but generally it doesn't. Its legalistic concepts and heavy reliance on harking back to philosophers frustrated me. I wanted a sense of what conservatism is and why it seems to be the natural philosophy of most of the English. I sense most people are not really aware of our bottom-up, common law heritage, or the various other philosophical or economic principles the author cites, yet still they 'feel' Conservative without ever consciously thinking about any of that. Why that should be the case was not really explained, so I felt the link between political philosophy and people's actual behaviour was not made.
The prose also does not flow that well and thus the narrator ends up with a difficult job of having to make these long sentences with multiple clauses and lots of economic jargon sound meaningful, when one suspects he doesn't always understand the meaning himself. This leads to clunky reading and misplaced emphasis in places, which breaks the flow and makes the (already dense) concepts even heavier. In short, the narrator is a barrier, not a facilitator, to understanding, which is the opposite of what a good narrator should be.
Overall rather frustrating and I felt it could and should have been more accessible.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Pen Name
  • 01-04-19

excellent book

we'll put together, very interesting and particularly compelling. there is a lot to think about in just this one book.

great read.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Luke Powell
  • 01-15-21

Very good

I read this book in order to better understand the success of ‘conservative’ politics in the western world.

I think Roger Scruton does in this book what few other authors have achieved which is to articulate the ineffable sense of home and belonging which ties us to our place and country and place of birth. The writing is clear and often profound.

There are some important insights onto what we have lost, on the importance of respecting the past and our ancestry and also the painstaking process that has bought us to where we are today. It also sheds light on the importance and ongoing relevance of the Christian message in a secular society.

I found it a tad partisan at the outset, hence 4 stars.

The concluding chapter is beautifully written and very profound. Unfortunately I very much doubt that those who would benefit most from reading this book will bother but I certainly learned a lot.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Jenny Barnes
  • 07-28-21

"I don't like this, nor this, nor this"

basically it's an intellectualised rant over things he's nostalgic about but which aren't the case anymore. he's bitter that people called him bigoted 40 years ago, but instead of stopping to question why they might think this, he's instead reinforced and entrenched his opinions.

he goes on and on about fox hunting... who cares? he's right that it took up too much parliamentary time but that's about it.

then he says he doesn't like rampant capitalism.

yes it has helped me understand what some elderly, posh, right wing people think, but not why. and it makes me a bit sad for them.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Chris Casey
  • 03-13-20

Let there be light!

after listening to this I think most Brits are essentially conservatives..helpful and clear, well read

6 people found this helpful

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  • gearoid amazon
  • 05-15-20

Ana spéisiúl

ceapaim go bhfuil an teideal beagánín míthreorach. Phlé an t-údar coincheap tábhactach ach nuair labhraíonn sé faoi Rawls, Hagel, Marx, etc, tá ort stopigí chun tagairt

Is maith liom an leabhar, agus léfaidh mé arís agus arís eile é.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Matthew Johnson (Matt Saxx)
  • 03-21-20

An education

This was an excellent read. His language and references are so highbrow, that I constantly had to to look things up! This heavy topic is interspersed with humor and cynicism. Scruton breaks the book down in to analysis of nationalism, socialism, capitalism, liberalism, multiculturalism, environmentalism, internationalism and conservatism. He looks at the modern conservative in today’s materialistic society amidst the wave of ‘liberalism’ sweeping the nation.

The most telling quote is below:

“But many who call themselves liberal today have little understanding of what that virtue really is. Toleration does not mean renouncing all opinions that others might find offensive. It does not mean an easy-going relativism or a belief that ‘anything goes’. On the contrary, it means accepting the rights of others to think and act in ways of which you disapprove.”

4 people found this helpful