LONDON – Roger Scruton, one of Britain’s most prominent conservative philosophers, has died. He was 75.
Scruton’s family said in a statement that he died Sunday after a six-month battle with cancer.
A graduate of Cambridge University, S cruton embraced conservative ideas after visiting Paris amid the May 1968 student uprising. He recalled later that the students on the barricades struck him as “self-indulgent middle-class hooligans.”
A lecturer for many years at the University of London's Birkbeck College, Scruton carved out a role as a public intellectual — a relatively rare thing in Britain — with more than 50 books on morality, politics, culture and aesthetics, including “The Meaning of Conservatism,” “The Aesthetics of Architecture” and “England: An Elegy.”
Scruton valued tradition, high culture and the British countryside; he disliked socialism, liberalism, most modern architecture and much of popular culture.
He was widely respected in eastern Europe for his support for dissidents during Communist rule. He received honors from late Czech President Vaclav Havel, the Polish government and Hungary’s right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
In Britain, Scruton wrote articles for many publications and appeared on radio and television. He was eloquent and forthright in expressing often contentious views. Over the years, he said homosexuality wasn't “normal,” opposed gay marriage, supported capital punishment and wondered whether date rape should be considered a crime.
In 1999, the Pet Shop Boys won a libel suit against him after he alleged in a book on pop culture that their songs were mostly the work of sound engineers, a nd in 2002 he proposed to a tobacco company that he could place pro-smoking articles in the media in exchange for a fee.