Conservatism starts from a sentiment that all mature people can readily share: the sentiment that good things are easily destroyed, but not easily created. This is especially true of the good things that come to us as collective assets: peace, freedom, law, civility, public spirit, the security of property and family life, in all of which we depend on the cooperation of others while having no means singlehandedly to obtain it. In respect of such things, the work of destruction is quick, easy and exhilarating; the work of creation is slow, laborious and dull. That is one of the lessons of the twentieth century. It is also one reason why conservatives suffer such a disadvantage when it comes to public opinion. Their position is true but boring, that of their opponents exciting but false.I assent to this idea even though I do not share his conclusion that the conservative position is always true. Perhaps Scruton doesn't either, and is giving a merely general observation, written vividly for grace, beauty, and clarity's sake.
I had thought at the time that Obama was making his foolish "You didn't build that" statements that the deeper truth was that our grandparents and great-grandparents had "built that," if he meant rule of law, infrastructure, assumed reciprocity, free markets, etc. In that instance, those he was chastising had far more claim on saying "We built that" than Barack Obama's administration did. Even if we are indeed "lesser sons of greater sires," as Theoden said, that is not a reason to give credit to government.