"Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."
Dr. Samuel Johnson
(1709-1784) English author, poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer
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Reader comments about this quote:
I think Dr. Johnson should have said, "Patriotism and religion are..."
 -- W. Allan McLeod, New York, NY, USA     
    Think "Patriot Act". Congress, scoundrels all.
     -- Joe, Rochester, MI     
    You should change your name to "liberal" quotes. Careful, your "carefully" hidden bias is showing.
     -- Kurt, America     
    Hey, Kurt, I have been on this list for years and the quotes have always presented the views of both left and right -- and the only 'bias' has been from readers firmly entrenched in their own prejudices. Obviously Kurt does not know history or who Dr. Samuel Johnson was. This quote is in reference to the loyalists of the British Crown when the American colonies declared their Independence. The Nazis and Communists use the same technique of calling opponents 'unpatriotic'.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
     -- Anonymous      
    Archer you are correct.
     -- patriot, pa     
     -- Anonymous      
    Dr Johnson was not using the word 'patriot' in its modern sense. If I remember correctly, he was referring to those who were inspired by Bolingbroke's 'Patriot King' - a major influence on the young George III who at the start of his reign wanted to break from the Crown's dependence on the stale and corrupt Whig oligarchs who had so dominated the reigns of his two predecessors. Alternatively, Johnson may have been referring to the rebels in the American colonies who called themselves 'Patriots'. Johnson had little time for them, asking "How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?"
     -- Jack, B     
    Yes - George Walker Bush and his 'Patriot Act' are abundant proof of this statement.
     -- Anne, Hamburg     
    The term has been twisted for use by those who would enslave us. But I should think that someone "Patriotic" to the Constitution can be a patriot and not a scoundrel. In fact it will be patriots who once again slam the brakes on communism in America...or no one at all.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
    Patiotism in Dr Johnsons's quote means "my country right or wrong". When a person takes that stance he is negating any open and free discussion. Patriots for example can not freely discuss internationalism. Personal relationships (marriage) often interfere with openess and honest. For example usually it is "my wife right or wrong" or it use to be, now when the spouse is wrong you divorce them.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
    Anne, Don't forget that congress had to approve the Patriot Act.
     -- jim k, Austin,Tx     
    Perfect and so true in the essence for it was said. Patriotism, nationalism, fascism, right-wing republicans, and tea party fanatics, all sleep in the same bed.
     -- RBESRQ     
    W. Allan - the most succinct and astute comment well done!
     -- RBESRQ     
    Kurt are you blind this is a Libertarian blog - originally they were like most Liberals but that changed
     -- RBESRQ     
    It has occurred to me that conservatives are always the last ones who will change their point of view. They would rather be dead right. Most will not listen to another point of view, let alone consider it. I consider myself a liberal to moderate, and find the most hostile and rigid opinions from conservatives. One good reason not to be one as it is not my value to be "right all of the time".
     -- Judith, New Mexico     
    Patriotism takes on many shapes. Mr. Obamunist Goodwrench, with his czars and stars takes refuge in the patriotism of a third world socialist Amerika. Those understanding individual sovereignty enhanced through a representative republic, find patriotism in a free nation of law. For the religious bigots among us, religion only takes on real despotic power when it is politicized - such as the current statist theocracy exemplifies. That being said; those scoundrels, from a religious or otherwise perspective, take refuge in hiding their despotic intent by covering their malfeasance with the umbrella, vain claimed patriotism.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    All about his king and country. True patriots are the tools of conquerors. And the dupe of statesmen to play upon ones loyalty. Patriotism.
     -- R. Pittman, Salem     
    A sleek and lovely epigram, and the best quote ever about patriotism.
     -- Laura, New York     
    your quotes are the best - thanks
     -- hamid ibrahim, ibrahimh4@gmail.com     
    In the first months of the American Revolution, English author and lexicographer Samuel Johnson, a Tory loyalist, wrote that American Patriots' quest for liberty was nothing more than "the delirious dream of republican fanaticism" which would "put the axe to the roots of all government." Johnson concluded famously, "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." http://patriotpost.us/alexander/2011/04/14/american-patriot-defined/
     -- Stephan, Dallas     
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