When Samuel Johnson observed in 1775 that "patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel," he was disapproving of scoundrels, not patriotism.
What scoundres did, and do, is hijack people's values in order to amass power and wealth for themselves. It is not just patriotism that is used this way, but anything that evokes peole's fear of losing what is sacred to them. Family and moral values are recent examples of values being hijacked for ignoble purposes.
Read all of Bishop Paul Marshall's August column for secular newspapers, usually different from his column in Diocesan Life, at