Is patriotism the last refuge of a scoundrel? Samuel Johnson thought so. Was Kennedy being a scoundrel when he declaimed ‘My country right or wrong?’
As I travelled Australia recently , I had cause to reflect upon the increasing number of national flags flying in front yards. I am not referring here to green’n’gold swatches atop car antennae to encourage the Socceroos, but to the national flag, the one with the Union Jack in the corner.
What sort of person would fly this flag? I wouldn’t. But I am at a loss to understand the difference between the two types. Why wouldn’t I? I am moved to tears when I watch the ANZAC Day march. When I stood in the geographical centre of Australia, way out in the backblocks of the Northern Territory, tears streamed down my face.
But it would never occur to me to fly our national flag.