Quotes about Samuel Johnson
11 Sourced Quotes
Citizenship? We have none! In place of it we teach patriotism which Samuel Johnson said a hundred and forty or a hundred and fifty years ago was the last refuge of the scoundrel — and I believe that he was right. I remember when I was a boy and I heard repeated time and time again the phrase, 'My country, right or wrong, my country!' How absolutely absurd is such an idea. How absolutely absurd to teach this idea to the youth of the country.
"Patriotism, sir, is the last resort of scoundrels," said Dr. Samuel Johnson. Leo Tolstoy, the greatest anti-patriot of our time, defines patriotism as the principle that will justify the training of wholesale murderers; a trade that requires better equipment in the exercise of man-killing than the making of such necessities as shoes, clothing, and houses; a trade that guarantees better returns and greater glory than that of the honest workingman.
Alas! such is the miseducation of these days, it is only among those that are called the uneducated classes — those educated by experience — that you can look for a Man. Even among these, such a sight is growing daily rarer. My father, in several respects, has not, that I can think of, left his fellow. Perhaps among Scottish peasants what Samuel Johnson was among English authors. I have a sacred pride in my peasant father, and would not exchange him, even now, for any king known to me. Gold and the guinea stamp — the Man and the clothes of the man. Let me thank God for that greatest of blessings, and strive to live worthily of it.
"All wonder," said Samuel Johnson, "is the effect of novelty on ignorance." Yet we are so created that without something to wonder at we should find life scarcely worth living. That fact does not make ignorance bliss, or make it "folly to be wise." For the wisest man never gets beyond the reach of novelty, nor can ever make it his boast that there is nothing he is ignorant of; on the contrary, the wiser he becomes the more clearly he sees how much there is of which he remains in ignorance. The more he knows, the more he will find to wonder at.