Atlantic Books £12.99
Paperback review: Green Philosophy, By Roger Scruton
Love your country, protect your planet
Sunday 20 January 2013
The environment is usually considered a cause of the left – a defence of the natural world against the despoliations of rapacious capitalists.
Roger Scruton argues that traditional values of the right also have a vital part to play – and that the similarity between the words "conservative" and "conservatism" is no coincidence. Successful environmental action – whether combating global warming or eliminating non-degradable plastic packaging – requires motivation, and Scruton urges that there is none better than good old-fashioned patriotism, or "oikophilia" as he terms it. Action at local level, national level and at the level of international co-operation must be underpinned by a love of one's own country. Solutions imposed from the top by supranational bodies to which no one feels any sense of allegiance will never work, he maintains. The basic argument will already be familiar to anyone who's read his A Political Philosophy, but here it's developed in detail, and illustrated by practical proposals. Scruton is a serious, heavyweight philosopher who has the gift of expressing complex ideas in clear, elegant prose; reading him in full flow affords the simple pleasure of watching an expert do what they do best. Pages 187-198 contain the most devastating critique of utilitarianism I have read. Yet the tone is less waspish than in some of his earlier work, and Scruton seeks common ground with those of the left who, like him, love their country and the natural world, calling in aid Georges Orwell and Monbiot, and his own socialist father. He makes a cogent, erudite and ultimately hopeful case – persuasive even to a left-leaning liberal like me.
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Scottish independence: Learn from Quebec's mistakes and beware of promises. Vote Yes.
- 2 iOS 8 is full of shiny new features - but it's terrible news for app developers
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
- 5 Cocaine and cannabis haul hidden in Vatican car seized by French police
Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams cast in new Channel 4 drama about cyber bullying
Downton Abbey: Liam Neeson wants to be a stableman in period drama
Star Wars 7 leaked set photo of Adam Driver changes everything
Friends 20th anniversary: Six things we wouldn't have without the influential comedy series
The Walking Dead season 5 synopsis is full of spoilers and existential questions
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'