Roger Scruton: The Need for Nations

Civitas: Institute for the Study of Civil Society, 2004

Back Cover:

Second edition, with the title England and the Need for Nations

The nation state provides us with the surest model for peace, prosperity, and the defence of human rights. In spite of this, the idea of the nation state is under attack, derided as a cause of conflict, and destined to be replaced by more “enlightened” forms of jurisdiction. This is in spite of the fact that all recent attempts to transcend the nation state into some kind of transnational political order have ended up  either as totalitarian dictatorships like the former Soviet Union or as unaccountable bureaucracies like the European Union.

Attempts to change the nature of the European Union in ways that will expropriate our sovereignty and annihilate the boundaries between jurisdictions have brought us to a turning point in our history. Roger Scruton writes:

“I believe that we are on the brink of decisions that could prove disastrous for Europe and for the world, and that we have only a few years in which to take stock of our inheritance and to reassume it. Now more than ever do those lines from Goethe’s Faust ring true for us: Was du ererbt von deinen Vätern hast, Erwirb es, um es zu besitzen. What you have inherited from your forefathers, earn it, that you might own it. We in the nation states of Europe need to earn again the sovereignty that previous generations so laboriously shaped from the inheritance of Christianity, imperial government and Roman law. Earning it, we will own it, and owning it, we will be at peace within our borders.”


1  Introduction

2  Citizenship

3  Membership and Nationality

4  Nations and Nationalism

5  Britain and Its Constituent Nations

6  The Virtues of the Nation State

7  Panglossian Universalism

8  Oikophobia

9  The New World Order

10  Threats to the Nation

11  Overcoming the Threats

JOB’s Comment:

Scruton is more of a “nationalist” than I am, although he does not defend nationalism and, in this book, clearly distinguishes it from the “national loyalty” that is what he does defend. But his arguments about nations etc. are important and often essential for all who believe, like me, in a truly European union.

2 Responses to “Roger Scruton: The Need for Nations”

  1. 1 Den Väldige November 9, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    I think I am more of a nationalist than Jan Olof Bengtsson, more like Scruton himself. For example, I find Scruton’s “England: An elegy” a treasure, and for a long time I have longed to read something similar about Sweden, but there is nothing similar.

    For me, Scruton’s little book “The need for nations” is of the utmost importance, and I find it very much encouraging that a “Europist” lik Jan Olof Bengtsson feels that the book is important and often essential.

    That shows, I think, that there is a real potential for cooperation between more nationalistic and more “Europeanistic” points of view. I think it is most important to develop that cooperation as soon as possible on a bigger scale.

    How, I cannot say yet…

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All original writing © Jan Olof Bengtsson
"A Self-realized being cannot help benefiting the world. His very existence is the highest good."
Ramana Maharshi