by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Patriot is one of those words that has a warm glow around it, a glow that is partly tribal and partly moral. Dr. Johnson famously observed that “patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel,” and he was correct for a couple of centuries, until patriotism became the scoundrels’ refuge of first resort. The worst people in this country call themselves patriots when they are at their most criminal and most unpatriotic, hiding behind red-white-and-blue camouflage. The most dramatic recent examples of this were the so-called patriots who attempted to overthrow the government of the United States after Donald Trump lost the 2020 presidential election, but they are not alone.
Consider the Democrats and their media allies, who went to such extraordinary lengths to quash reporting about Hunter Biden’s greed-and-cocaine-fueled shenanigans in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election. Like Imran Khan in Pakistan, they claimed that Biden’s political troubles were the result of foreign plotting — Russian disinformation, in this case. When the fearless New York Post reported on the Hunter Biden laptop, the same people who are forever lecturing us about necessity of the free press in a democracy colluded to smear the Post and its work, and to suppress the story with the help of the major social-media platforms. The New York Times and the Washington Post, among others, recently acknowledged that the New York Post was on solid ground — but only after cowering behind the fiction of a Russian plot was no longer a viable option.
You know that the New York Times, the Washington Post, and others were in this case practicing partisanship rather than journalism, because they have the journalistic resources to have torn apart that New York Post story if it had been false — and nothing would have pleased them better.