Scruton argues that the tragedies and disasters of the history of the European continent have been the consequences of a false optimism and the fallacies that derive from it. In place of these fallacies, Scruton mounts a passionate defence of both civil society and freedom. He shows that the true legacy of European civilisation is not the false idealisms that have almost destroyed it - in the shapes of Nazism, fascism and communism - but the culture of forgiveness and irony which we must now protect from those whom it offends. The Uses of Pessimism is a passionate plea for reason and responsibility, written at a time of profound change.
"Scruton has approached his project with incisiveness, breath of knowledge, and clarity of expression. The Uses of Pessimism is worth arguing over." --Politics & Ideas
"While some of Scruton's conclusions may be controversial... he does present an intriguing case for using pessimism as a way to examine issues that affect current society. His clear and accessible writing will appeal to those familiar with the author's past works and also those with an interest in philosophy." --Library Journal
"Score one for pessimism." --Peter Monaghan, The Chronicle of Higher Education