“Sir Roger Scruton, a formally trained political philosopher, talks about his life and the events he’s witnessed that led him to conservatism. He first embraced conservatism after witnessing the leftist student protests in France in May 1968. During the ensuing riots in Paris, more than three hundred people were injured. Scruton walked away from this event with a change in worldview and a strong leaning toward conservatism. Visits to communist- controlled Poland and Czechoslovakia in 1979 cemented his preference for conservatism and his distaste for the fraud of communism and socialism, initiating a desire to do something about it. From thereon he dedicated himself to helping organize underground seminars for the young people oppressed behind the iron curtain.
Whenever I have lunch with my close friend Carl (not his real name), a conservative Republican, a Jew, and a successful businessman, our conversation ranges over a wide spectrum of topics and ideas. Carl is one of the smartest people I know. He’s also a good man, quietly charitable and sincere, and possessed of a grand smile and infectious laugh.
Though Carl is not Orthodox, in my opinion he is deeply religious. He attends the Daf Yomi class at my synagogue — a huge commitment in terms of time and intellectual effort. And I can always count on him to pose questions about halacha (Jewish law) to which I usually have no coherent answer.
Carl and I like to clue each other in to favorite books, blogs, movies, and worthy political groups. When we first met, Carl loaned me a slim but provocative volume entitled Judaism, Law & the Free Market. It’s a challenging and splendid work written by Joseph Isaac Lifshitz, a Torah scholar, and published by the Acton Institute.