In his last and moving article in The Spectator, indeed in the last paragraph he published in his lifetime, he stressed the importance of gratitude for what one has been fortunate enough to inherit. Take nothing for granted, preserve what is worth preserving, understand the fragility of things, remember debts to the past as well as to the future, take delight in the world. Such was the lasting message of this exceptionally gifted man.
When I heard yesterday of Roger Scruton’s death, I sat down with my copies of his books and leafed through them, looking for a representative paragraph or two capable of summing up what he has meant to me. Frankly, there are too many, and my thoughts about them aren’t very interesting for a tribute. Luckily, Dalrymple has done an admirable job here naming the main themes that I, too, will carry with me. Several years ago, I wrote to Scruton directly in an attempt to express my appreciation for his work. He didn’t respond (and of course I didn’t expect him to), but I do hope my letter made him smile.