Roger Scruton (1944-2020), I Drink Therefore I Am: A Philosopher's Guide to Win
e (2009; rpt. London: Continuum, 2010), pp. 143-144:
In fact the practice of buying rounds in the pub is one of the great cultural
achievements of the English. It enables people with little money of their
own to make generous gestures, without the risk of being ruined by them.
It enables each person to distinguish himself from his neighbours and to
portray his individuality in his choice of drink, and it causes affection
progressively to mount in the circle of drinkers, by giving each in turn the
character of a warm and hospitable friend. In a way it is a moral
improvement on the Greek symposium, where the host alone appeared in
the character of the giver, and also on the common room and the country
house. The round of drinks enables even the speechless and the
downtrodden briefly to receive the thanks, the appreciation and the honour
of their neighbours. It is a paradigm case of 'social inclusion', to use the
jargon of our rulers, and it is hardly surprising that everything is now
being done to ensure that the practice dies out.