December 21, 2015
‘Now 71, Scruton has been the bête noire of British left intellectuals for more than 30 years…’
One freedom Scruton has long been associated with is the freedom to hunt foxes with hounds; he had been riding out with the hunt earlier that day, following a trail laid by a man rather than a fox to comply with the hunting ban. He has five horses on his Wiltshire farm, where he has reinvented himself as a countryman over the past 20 years. But his fondness for hunting and ‘high’ culture, coupled with his disdain for such popular pastimes as football and television, has led to accusations of snobbery. This seems to annoy Scruton almost as much as if he were called a socialist. ‘My interest in hunting stems from a love of horses and the countryside, and our hunt consists largely of farmers, and has few if any toffs.’ He thinks that those who use the word ‘snob’ as a term of abuse ‘are thereby accusing themselves of the very fault they claim to discern’, by looking down their noses at others. As for cultural snobbery, ‘Have I got to be threatened with the concentration camp in order to like popular culture when most of it is self-evidently trash? Think what George Orwell would say. But also look at the extended praise of heavy metal in my novel The Disappeared.’ Careful Roger, or they’ll be calling you a head-banger.