Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels

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  1. jainismus profile image71
    jainismusposted 7 years ago

    Samuel Johnson said, "Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels".
    Do you agree?
    Before commenting, please read what Leo Tolstoy said about Patriotism:

    "In the schools, they kindle patriotism in the children by means of histories describing their own people as the best of all peoples and always in the right. Among adults they kindle it by spectacles, jubilees, monuments, and by a lying patriotic press. Above all, they inflame patriotism in this way: perpetrating every kind of harshness and injustice against other nations, they provoke in them enmity towards their own people, and then in turn exploit that enmity to embitter their people against the foreigner."

    1. Silverspeeder profile image59
      Silverspeederposted 7 years agoin reply to this


      Johnson was on about those who claim to be patriots but are anything but.

      In 1774, he printed The Patriot, a critique of what he viewed as false patriotism. On the evening of 7 April 1775, he made the famous statement, "Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel." This line was not, as widely believed, about patriotism in general, but the false use of the term "patriotism" by John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute (the patriot-minister) and his supporters; Johnson opposed "self-professed patriots" in general, but valued what he considered "true" self-professed patriotism.

    2. Ericdierker profile image61
      Ericdierkerposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      I think too often we take a statement like this and we forget that it does not say "and only scoundrels". Because some scoundrels die and are buried in a cemetery does not preclude that truly saintly people are buried there also.
      Temples are the worship place for hypocrites. It is also the worship place for truly wonderful people who love.
      Tolstoy must be taken with some salt on this one --- He was old money nobility of his country. His very existence and life was due to nationalistic patriotism -- He was nobility. His work inspired great patriots to act -- Ghandijji and Martin Luther King jr..
      These men were eloquent and philosophical and very privileged. One liners from their works does not really help intelligent discourse of the matters at hand. In otherwords you cannot say, great writers - and they said this, so that means that ---- it is just not credible.

    3. maxoxam41 profile image67
      maxoxam41posted 7 years agoin reply to this

      I've never believed in patriotism. My world doesn't have borders.
      I love the beauty of my country, I'm doubting the kindness of my people but patriotism supposes a blind faith to my country and I can't master it. If a foreign army suddenly debarks on our coast I will defend my country but that's the farthest my patriotism will go.
      I never carried any flags and I never bowed or saluted a piece of fabric with prints.

    4. Josak profile image59
      Josakposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      Absolutely agree with both. Patriotism is by it's very nature illogical, people are the people in every nation and an abstract series of lines on a map is not something that deserves loyalty.

    5. psycheskinner profile image82
      psycheskinnerposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      I don't think that saying is meant to imply patriotism is bad.  Just that it can be misused.

  2. Wayne Brown profile image82
    Wayne Brownposted 7 years ago

    I think you have bought into a bill of goods to assume that those who favor their country are twisted and warped yet the manipulative teachings of Tolstoy, Lenin, or Marx bear any truth whatsoever as it applies to the independent nature of human thought.  Their writings had one focus...the manipulation of the worker toward revolution. Anything else they offered in terms of observation was derogatory towards any existing element which threatened the rationale of their offerings.  Any nation which they affected for any period of time has a history bent or revolution, change, revolution, change, revolution, change...and each time the worker is aroused to believe that the last group of workers who revolted have now taken charge and become the enemy.  What a shame that you have to attack the concept of patriotism to add any credibility to such writing and thought. One can be quite patriotic and hold no distain for other nations or people but one can also have their throat slit while assuming that others will not harm them if they do not raise a hand in anger. One can only be so naive in that regard.  ~WB

    1. artblack01 profile image59
      artblack01posted 7 years agoin reply to this

      "One can be quite patriotic and hold no distain for other nations or people but one can also have their throat slit while assuming that others will not harm them if they do not raise a hand in anger. One can only be so naive in that regard."
      I think this statement is contradictory and in itself naive.
      First off Patriotism is the love and loyalty for ones nation over all other nations, most people who claim to be patriots are often distrusting of foreigners as the second part of your statement confirms.  Also, a person who holds no borders doesn't automatically trust those who are foreign either, patriots come from all over, and if one holds no borders he also doesn't trust patriots.  These are the people who will slit your throats...  which confirms the original statement made by Jainismus.  So even though your argument seems to be promoting the idea that patriotism isn't a bad thing your statement "one can also have their throat slit while assuming that others will not harm them if they do not raise a hand in anger" contradicts it.

    2. Josak profile image59
      Josakposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      Textbook ad-hominem fallacy attacking the person who made it rather than the statement.


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