Sir Roger Vernon Scruton (; 27 February 1944 – 12 January 2020) was an English philosopher and writer who specialised in aesthetics and political philosophy, particularly in the furtherance of traditionalist conservative views.Editor from 1982 to 2001 of The Salisbury Review, a conservative political journal, Scruton wrote over 50 books on philosophy, art, music, politics, literature, culture, sexuality, and religion; he also wrote novels and two operas. His most notable publications include The Meaning of Conservatism (1980), Sexual Desire (1986), The Aesthetics of Music (1997), and How to Be a Conservative (2014). He was a regular contributor to the popular media, including The Times, The Spectator, and the New Statesman.
Scruton embraced conservatism after witnessing the May 1968 student protests in France. From 1971 to 1992 he was a lecturer and professor of aesthetics at Birkbeck College, London, after which he held several part-time academic positions, including in the United States. In the 1980s he helped to establish underground academic networks in Soviet-controlled Eastern Europe, for which he was awarded the Czech Republic's Medal of Merit (First Class) by President Václav Havel in 1998. Scruton was knighted in the 2016 Birthday Honours for "services to philosophy, teaching and public education".
He is also known as Roger Vernon Scruton.
After learning in July 2019 that he had cancer, Scruton underwent treatment, including chemotherapy. He died on 12 January 2020 at the age of 75. The following day, Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: "We have lost the greatest modern conservative thinker — who not only had the guts to say what he thought but said it beautifully." Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid referred to Scruton's work behind the Iron Curtain: "From his support for freedom fighters in Eastern Europe to his immense intellectual contribution to conservatism in the West, he made a unique contribution to public life."
Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan called him "the greatest conservative of our age", adding: "The country has lost a towering intellect. I have lost a wonderful friend." Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, said that Scruton's work on "building more beautifully, submitted recently to my department, will proceed and stand part of his unusually rich legacy". The scholar and former politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali described him as a "dear and generous friend, who gave freely to those who sought advice and wisdom, and he expected little in return". Another friend and colleague, Douglas Murray, paid tribute to Scruton's personal kindness, calling him "one of the kindest, most encouraging, thoughtful, and generous people you could ever have known".