Roger Scruton, a Provocative Public Intellectual, Dies at 75


But he was reappointed after the magazine acknowledged that his views “were not accurately represented in the tweets” that had been published along with the article. The magazine apologized.

The episode recalled Mr. Scruton’s longstanding reputation as an iconoclast. Peter Stothard, who had been his editor at The Times of London in the 1980s, when Mr. Scruton wrote a column for the paper on art and politics, was quoted as saying that “there was no one I ever commissioned to write whose articles provoked more rage” than Mr. Scruton’s.

Critics also assailed his views on homosexuality and gender issues. In his interview with New Statesman, he said that homosexuality was “different” but denied that he was homophobic. He described the 21st-century debate on gender and identity as “a kind of theatrical obsession which is being imposed on children whether or not they understand it.”

Mr. Scruton dated his conversion to the conservative cause to the Paris student riots of 1968, when, at 24, he observed young people, including his friends, clashing with the police in the Latin Quarter. “What I saw was an unruly mob of self-indulgent middle-class hooligans,” he said in an interview with The Guardian in 2000.

“When I asked my friends what they wanted, what were they trying to achieve, all I got back was this ludicrous Marxist gobbledygook,” he continued. “I was disgusted by it, and thought there must be a way back to the defense of western civilization against these things. That’s when I became a conservative. I knew I wanted to conserve things rather than pull them down.”

Roger Vernon Scruton was born in Buslingthorpe, a village in Lincolnshire, in eastern England, on Feb. 7, 1944, the son of John and Beryl (Claris) Scruton. His father was a teacher, his mother a homemaker. The couple also had two daughters.

Roger was educated at a grammar school in High Wycombe, West London, and won a scholarship to Jesus College at Cambridge University, where he studied philosophy. He met his future first wife, Danielle Laffitte, a teacher, while traveling in France. They married in 1973, the same year he was awarded his doctorate. They divorced in 1979.


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