Where and when did Samuel Johnson say this? Why is it right or wrong?
Samuel Johnson said: "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."A young Chinese man told me ever, this saying of Samuel Johnson is wrong. He said to me: "As well as we known, Americans are the most patriotic people in the world, according to such logic of Samuel Johnson's saying, would not it mean that most Americans are scoundrels?"
I did not know how to answer him. Please advise me.Thank you, Eliot.
You're Justified, you should be right.
But I would also like to know the background about the sentence, where and when?Thank you very much, Eliot.
Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.
Boswell tells us that Samuel Johnson made this famous pronouncement that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel on the evening of April 7, 1775. He doesn't provide any context for how the remark arose, so we don't really know for sure what was on Johnson's mind at the time.
However, Boswell assures us that Johnson was not indicting patriotism in general, only false patriotism.
For more of Samuel Johnson's thoughts on patriotism in general, go to the patriotism page.
For a discussion on a possible false patriot who Johnson might have been thinking of, see this discussion.
For more on Johnson's politics, click here.