Sunday, December 14, 2008

Pulling a Quote

I'm a kinda guy who likes a pointed quote. There's sensuality drawing sharp words from their sheath in history. Pulling a deep breath, here's a boarding saber from the days of wooden ships:

"Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."

Samuel Johnson

This quote holds an edge. Too, it can be built upon. Religion, nonprofit organizations and a job lot of social causes provide bad people an appearance of being good and a foundation upon which to be crooks and liars.

Seven years residence in Pittsburgh's South Side from 1991 to 1998 brought me visits by the late Samuel Johnson's ghost as rafts of hopeful entrepreneurs predicated their business plans on the environmental movement, the national mass marketing of therapy, and the on the New Age demand for spiritual instant gratification. The beautiful historic neighborhood was a refuge for scoundrels since the steel mill days, and the emerging new economy of air and fibs became a remarkable refuge for so many of the scoundrels that made the place special, insubstantive, hollow, ethically vacant, and outright friendly towards political dirt.

With a very special new president of the United States coming into office real soon it may be good to pour a table spoon of ethical cod liver oil, choke it down, and proceed with the closest thing to honor that can be cleaned out and fortified the old way. This is not a good time to provide refuge for scoundrels, and perhaps it will be a bad time to be one. Better morals may just be the cutting edge.