The Public Interest

Sex and the Conservative Body

Mark T. Lilla

Fall 1986

ANY BOOK with the title Sexual Desire, and with the closing sentence, “Vive la bourgeoisie!,” is bound to attract attention—less, perhaps, for the title alone than for the political conservatism that the last sentence implies. If Roger Scruton only intended to attract attention he hardly could have chosen a combination of subjects more likely to guarantee it. Conservatism may be the sexiest intellectual topic of the day, and sex the most politicized.

Download a PDF of the full article.



from the


A weekly newsletter with free essays from past issues of National Affairs and The Public Interest that shed light on the week's pressing issues.


to your National Affairs subscriber account.

Already a subscriber? Activate your account.


Unlimited access to intelligent essays on the nation’s affairs.

Subscribe to National Affairs.