"The real trick to life is not to be in the know, but to be in the mystery."
-Fred Alan Wolf

14 August 2017


Conservatism is what its name says it is: the attempt to conserve the community that we have — not in every particular, since, as Edmund Burke put it, “we must reform in order to conserve”, but in all matters that ensure our long-term survival and mutual support.

We enjoy valuable assets: peace, security, democracy and historic liberties. And these good things, which depend upon the uncoerced co-operation that they also encourage, are both easy to destroy and, once destroyed, hard to rebuild. Moreover, they all depend on other, deeper and less easily comprehended things. They depend on a shared sense of belonging among strangers whom we nevertheless can trust. They depend on traditions of education, co-operation and compromise.

They depend on the Christian legacy of neighbour-love. They depend on a tradition of tolerance — not only towards those who disagree with us but also towards those whom we might easily resent for their success or despise for their failure.

Most of all they depend upon specific institutions and forms of life that have come down to us not as the universal inheritance of humanity but as the legacy of our long-standing attempt to live together as a nation on the island that is ours.

Roger Scruton


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