Sir Roger Scruton: Conservatism Means Conservation | The Imaginative Conservative
"The cause of the environment is not, in itself, a left-wing cause. It is about about safeguarding resources. It is about conservation and equilibrium..."
Or, as he writes elsewhere, in an essay I will probably also post / link to here,
"There is no political cause more amenable to the conservative vision than that of the environment. For it touches on the three foundational ideas of our movement: trans-generational loyalty, the priority of the local and the search for home."
There are many reasons I love the late Sir Roger Scruton, but this is certainly a big one: he was not only one of the greatest conservative thinkers of our time – arguably the greatest – but he was also a dedicated conservationist.
In this essay, as its title suggests, he is saying something I have been saying, myself, for many years now (at least as far back as the late-1980s, early-1990s, while I was still in undergraduate college): that conservatives and conservationists should be natural allies, as the root of both – not only linguistically but philosophically – is to conserve. And I have continued in that belief ever since.
But of course, being Sir Roger, he says it much better than I ever have, or could! As he wisely notes,
"the cause of the environment is not, in itself, a left-wing cause at all. It is not about 'liberating' or empowering the victim, but about safeguarding resources. It is not about 'progress' or 'equality' but about conservation and equilibrium. Its following may be young and dishevelled; but that is largely because people in suits have failed to realize where their real interests, and their real values, lie... Indeed, environmentalism is the quintessential conservative cause, the most vivid instance in the world as we know it of that partnership between the dead, the living and the unborn, which Burke defended as the conservative archetype."
Thank you, Sir Roger! And to those who see this post, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest. Especially any who may incorrectly believe that being conservative means rejecting our ethical and theological imperative to care for this good earth God has given us. Sir Roger shows that this is neither necessary, nor is it wise.
It is time – indeed, it is more than past time – for conservatives to re-take conservation and care for the natural environment from its captivity by the Left.