“It sounds as though we have [lost complete control of universities],” conservative philosopher Sir Roger Scruton told the Europe at a Crossroads conference today in London.
Sir Roger – who was recently fired from Britain’s Conservative Party-led government for the crime of being an actual conservative – made comments almost identical to those made by Human Events’ Will Chamberlain on the magazine’s Sunday night, members-only Discord chat.
“But there’s the other way forward, which is to get rid of universities altogether.” – Sir Roger Scruton
Sir Roger was responding to a question from the audience wherein he was told of physical violence being leveled at students who express conservative views at Birkbeck University, where Sir Roger once taught.
“There are two solutions to this, though,” explained Scruton – arguably one of the greatest living conservative philosophers.
“One is to start new universities, outside the nexus of state control, which is what happened with Buckingham [University]. Founded by Margaret Thatcher, and where I do teach a course, and which is going in the right direction. Which does have well known reactionaries like David Starkey talking openly from the platform. That’s a possibility, though of course it is a small gesture.
“But there’s the other way forward, which is to get rid of universities altogether.”
This comment drew applause from the audience attending the conference sponsored by the Bow Group, and featuring other leading conservative thinkers such as Yoram Hazony, author of ‘The Virtue of Nationalism‘.
“That is to say, make sure their sources of funding dry up,” Sir Roger continued.
“They are essentially state-sponsored institutions. Withdrawing the grants that they enjoy would bring them right down to the level to which they are actually approaching, and I think that might be something that we should think about.
“If the thunder comes along, this might happen,” – Sir Roger Scruton
“On the other hand we don’t want to lose all the scientific advances that universities produce and which are necessary to a modern economy. It could be that we ought to ring fence the humanities, which after all can enjoy all this bigoted leftism largely because they make no difference whatsoever to the general economy, and just give support to the sciences.”
Scruton joked that he has thought of “setting up a Scrutopian institute for unorthodox thought”.
“If the thunder comes along, this might happen,” he concluded.
Scruton’s comments were part of a wide-ranging lecture on nationalism, conservatism, and history delivered at Westminster Central Hall in London.
This conference also featured Anna Maria Anders, Phillip Blond, John Fonte, Nile Gardiner, Dan Hannan, Daniel Kawczynski, John O’Sullivan, Balazs Orban, Melvin Schut, Marion Smith, and more. Sponsors included the Bow Group, Common Sense Society, Danube Institute, Institute of World Politics, International Reagan Thatcher Society, Polish National Foundation.
The full video of the day’s events can be viewed below, with Scruton’s speech beginning around the 1 hour 50 minute mark.