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Conservatism as conservation

The must-read books keep coming. Roger Scruton makes the case for environmentalism conservation as a conservative act in his new book, “Green Philosophy: How to Think Seriously About the Planet.” Via Andrew Sullivan, here’s an excerpt from Bryan Appleyard’s discussion of Scruton’s book:

Here lies Scruton’s true theme. It’s the same as it has always been, but now he has invented a name for it — oikophilia. The ancient Greek word oikos means, roughly, household or home and it is love of home that, for Scruton, inspires both his conservatism and his environmentalism. Love of home, he says, is close to a sense of the sacred which is, or should be, honoured by both the religious and the non-religious and observed by respecting and caring for the environment around the home. In the modern world this love of nature is constantly being crushed or abandoned by excessive faith in the state or in any big, top-down scheme. Milton Keynes is one of Scruton’s examples. Once a vision of a bright new future, now it is an environmental catastrophe, eating up land on a vast scale and making everybody drive everywhere. “That they should take a plan conceived in California by an American loony and plonk it in the middle of England where there is no space . . .” he says in disbelief.

Scruton’s primary faith lies with the “little platoons”, the activists and volunteers who, in a free society, emerge either to curtail the plans of the top-downers or just to clean up the place themselves. Only if people own the problem of the environment, rather than having it taken out of their hands by big government, will there be general popular assent to the sacrifices that may be necessary.

Here’s a more critical review by Jonathan Ree.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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