Green Philosophy

The philosopher, Roger Scruton, has recently had published a book called “Green Philosophy” (  It sets out a right-wing or conservative philosophy for addressing environmental problems.  His view is that large-scale, international schemes, infused with socialist values, are doomed to fail.  They breed bureaucracy and corruption, often backfire with unintended consequences and try to work against human nature.

Rather, we need to espouse conservative values focused on the home and the family.  Love of home, respect for one’s ancestors and traditions and love of one’s offspring and their line, are strong human instincts.  Roger Scruton argues that people have an interest in protecting their environment because that directly serves those instincts.  It is much more sensible to take an approach which is aligned with human nature than one which rubs against our instincts.

While I don’t agree with everything in the book (is the EU ETS really a complete failure?  Er … well … ), this book is among other things very important because it has a role in helping with climate change denial.  Often it seems that right-wingers deny climate change because of its presumed implications: they presume that if they acknowledge the problem of climate change then they have to acknowledge the need for regulation and busy-body bureaucrats and global schemes.

I think this presumption reveals a lack of confidence in a conservative world-view, or a lack of imagination as to how the predicament can be approached using conservative principles.  Roger Scruton’s book provides an intellectual foundation on which to base a conservative response.

It should be very appealing to patriotic Daily Telegraph readers nestled in villages across the English countryside.  It gives them a tool whereby they can acknowledge the predicament of climate change and work towards doing something about it without bending to diktats from Bonn, Brussels or Whitehall.

This is very constructive.  It is in stark contrast to other right-wing writers who deny the problem and then just slag off those who, in good faith, try to do something about it.  It’s no good just slagging off the other side if you don’t come up with a mature, well thought-out alternative approach, grounded in your own values.

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