Green Philosophy: Roger Scruton on “thinking seriously about the planet”

One of Roger Scruton’sgreen philosophy latest books is Green Philosophy: How to think seriously about the planet.

The book has been getting a number of reviews (here, here and here) regarding its arguments that conservatives are best positioned to be planetary stewards.

I’ve read the book and will not weigh in on it fully here – if only because the book is fairly lengthy and touches on everything from the nature of the person, to territory, economics, psychology, history and environmental thought. And Scruton skips quickly across a lot of terrain (made easier by some off-handed dismissals, such as stating that Heidegger did “armchair philosophy”)

But another reason I won’t put a lot of time into writing about this book is that it starts out by making a set of incorrect claims. Here is one:  Scruton argues that “conservatism” as a political philosophy and “conservation” as a resource management philosophy share the same ethos of conservative thought. And that is flatly not true. The ‘conservation’ of natural resources was situated within an explicitly–and even extended–liberalism.

Those sorts of mistakes are easily avoidable; even a cursory glance at history would suffice. But what makes them more disappointing is that there probably are good arguments to be made from conservative lines of thinking that are lost on these sorts of errors.

These mistakes are also a bit frustrating since finding an alternative to liberalism is a very interesting project. Here is Scruton giving a talk on the book:

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