"I am not one who was born in the custody of wisdom. I am one who is fond of olden times and intense in quest of the sacred knowing of the ancients." Gustave Courbet

17 March 2021


Vital to the conservative environmental movement has been the love of beauty. Through art, literature and local activism the British people have given voice to the idea of beauty as a shared resource, an irreplaceable fund of  "social capital". Beauty, they have recognized, acts as a barrier to the top-down brutalities of the exploiters and the social engineers.

Environmental demagogues are determined to brush such obstacles aside. Littering the landscape with pylons and wind-farms appeals to them not because it has any scientific authority – for the science, such as it was, has been exploded – but because it refocuses the problem as a global one. To destroy the home that we have built over centuries is to afflict conservatives in the heart of their way of life. It is to deprive people of the primary source of oikophilia, and to make conservatism – the only political outlook that has ever done anything for the environment – irrelevant.

Moreover, it is through the pursuit of beauty that we could solve our most pressing environmental problem, which is the need for new homes. People resist large-scale development, because they know that it will produce an eyesore ...

The sad thing is that the Conservative Party has said so little to clarify what is at stake. Why do those old-fashioned words like trust, settlement, beauty and home so seldom pass the lips of those who are now, nominally at least, in charge? And why is the agenda still set by those for whom climate change, renewable energy and global warming define the problem, and for whom the favoured solution involves the total destruction of the things we love?

Sir Roger Scruton, from "Conservatism and the Environment"

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