The Uses of Pessimism and the Danger of False Hope

Roger Scruton

The Uses of Pessimism and the Danger of False Hope

Roger Scruton argues that the tragedies and disasters of the history of the European continent have been the consequences of a false optimism and the fallacies that derive from it. In place of these fallacies, he mounts a defence of both civil society and freedom. He shows that the true legacy of European civilisation is not the false idealisms that have almost destroyed it - in the shapes of Nazism, fascism and communism - but the culture of forgiveness and irony which we must now protect from those whom it offends. The Uses of Pessimism is a plea for reason and responsibility, written at a time of profound change. 3.8 out of 5 based on 5 reviews
The Uses of Pessimism and the Danger of False Hope

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Society, Politics & Philosophy
Format Hardback
Pages 240
RRP £15.99
Date of Publication June 2010
ISBN 978-1848872004
Publisher Atlantic
 

Roger Scruton argues that the tragedies and disasters of the history of the European continent have been the consequences of a false optimism and the fallacies that derive from it. In place of these fallacies, he mounts a defence of both civil society and freedom. He shows that the true legacy of European civilisation is not the false idealisms that have almost destroyed it - in the shapes of Nazism, fascism and communism - but the culture of forgiveness and irony which we must now protect from those whom it offends. The Uses of Pessimism is a plea for reason and responsibility, written at a time of profound change.

Reviews

The Literary Review

Michael Burleigh

Roger Scruton can always be relied upon to tackle the biggest canvas in works that have depth rather than length. This is no exception... [It] is a deeply pessimistic book, but the incautiously optimistic alternative is too awful to contemplate as intelligently and rigorously as Scruton has done here.

01/06/2010

Read Full Review


The New Statesman

George Walden

Once you get the hang of the argument, much of it paradoxical, the case for a cheerful sobriety - for that, in the end, is what Scruton wants - is persuasive enough. More interesting, however, is the philosophical background, presented with his familiar encyclopaedic breadth and Nietz­schean clarity of expression.

05/07/2010

Read Full Review


The Daily Telegraph

Simon Heffer

At a time when being what the unthinking call “Right wing” is to be stigmatised, Scruton’s thoughtful codification of the stupidity of the Left is an important book that should provide a rallying point for those unwilling to accept further brainwashing.

12/06/2010

Read Full Review


The Independent

Boyd Tonkin

From its taste for "discipline and sacrifice" to its admiration for Enoch Powell and detestation of Le Corbusier and masterplanners in every field, Scruton's conservatism is so familiar – comforting, even – that allies and enemies alike will greet it like an old comrade or sparring-partner.

04/06/2010

Read Full Review


The Observer

Kenan Malik

The Uses of Pessimism embodies many of his virtues: the argument is passionate and provocative, yet rendered through exquisitely limpid prose. But it also embodies many of his weaknesses. There is a blinkered character to Scruton that enables him to understand the importance of tradition but rarely its regressive consequences.

06/06/2010

Read Full Review


©2013 The Omnivore