Monday, July 24, 2023



     There is no reason why social dancing of the kind I have been praising should not return.  Indeed, the craze for Salsa suggests that it might.  And there is no reason to think that young people will not find some other way of rediscovering the withness that they will not find by clubbing.  Maybe the rise of sport as a social arena is to be explained, at least in part, by this hunger for an elegant display of the human body.  And maybe, when young people search, as they must, for a paradigm of withness, they will find it on the football field, or learn it from watching what goes on there. All is not lost, if that is so.  But it is worth drawing one last lesson from this thought.  Social dancing of the kind I have praised did not merely exercise the virtues of freedom and order.  It obeyed the precept of equality.  Anybody could learn the steps, and everybody could join in, regardless of how agile, young, or attractive they were.  The new replacement activities arise to a considerable extent from the official culture of equality and political correctness, with its fear of elegance and distinction.  They are nevertheless massively discriminatory.  The cult of sport, good though it is for our sense of withness, requires us to turn the spotlight on young, athletic, and attractive people, and to rub into the remainder the humiliating awareness that they are not part of the game.  In losing the love of dancing, therefore, we have lost a major source of our love for ourselves.

-Roger Scruton, Confessions of a Heretic

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