Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
Comment (7 Apr 1775)

In James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson (1791):
Patriotism having become one of our topicks, Johnson suddenly uttered, in a strong determined tone, an apophthegm, at which many will start: "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." But let it be considered, that he did not mean a real and generous love of our country, but that pretended patriotism which so many, in all ages and countries, have made a cloak of self-interest.
Ambrose Bierce wrote in his Devil's Dictonary, "In Dr. Johnson's famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer I beg to submit that it is the first."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 10-Oct-12
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