This Samuel Johnson character was apparently quite a wit. He is the author of one of my favorite quotes: "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." Today's Kathleen Parker column that appears on the opinion page of the Erie Times-News, does a nice job reflecting on some of the substance behind Johnson's quote. Parker actually never mentions the quote, but her discussion of Barack Obama's refusal to wear a flag lapel pin embodies the concept. She basically says Obama is against showy patriotism vs. "real" patriotism. She then goes on to discuss the importance that trinkets and symbols have come to have in our fear-driven society. It's a very interesting two-side article.
By the way, Johnson also coined the phrase, "He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man." But we'll leave discussion on that to a drunken night sometime in the future.