The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

There Is No Substitute for Victory

Posted on | December 2, 2019 | No Comments


My Army son got an eight-point buck (click on the photo to see full-size) Sunday morning in the Georgia hills, yet this was small consolation for Saturday night’s tragedy, of which it is still too painful for me to speak. I spent most of Sunday working on a column for The American Spectator, and when I called my editor, Wlady Pleszczynski, to discuss the story, he had the poor taste to make a joke about Saturday’s game. I resisted the temptation to respond with a Polak joke. SEC football etiquette lesson: One does not joke with a ’Bama fan after a game like that.

The column I was working on will not be posted until this afternoon, but it involved accusations of “racism” against a conservative, and let me say this: I am proud to be an Alabama-American. Although my parents immigrated to Atlanta before I was born, my ancestral roots in Randolph County are deep — two of my ancestors served in Alabama regiments during the War for Southern Independence, and my father graduated from the University in 1950, so I was raised with an Alabamian identity. Human beings are tribal by nature, you see, so that despite growing up in Georgia, my affinity was always for the tribal homeland, so to speak.

Team spirit is an expression of man’s tribal nature. Humans are social creatures, so that those Enlightenment philosophers who theorized about man in a “state of nature” — a solitary creature, totally free and ungoverned by any system of law — were all just eloquent fools. Even if one is an atheist Darwinian fanatic (which I’m not), it should be obvious that our most primitive ancestors who deserve the title “human” could not have survived without cooperation among their kindred, so they were governed by the Law of the Tribe (i.e., whatever shared customs were required to secure the necessary teamwork) long before they developed any means to codify their tribal laws in written form.

Furthermore — and this is something that most intellectuals ignore — we are not the descendants of failures. If any primitive clan of paleolithic hunters could not develop a shared code of moral norms and social custom that enabled them to survive natural hardship and to successfully compete against rival clans, those primitive humans did not survive to produce progeny. We are the descendants of the survivors, so that our very existence is flesh-and-blood testimony to the efficacy of our ancestors’ Law of the Tribe. When I consider the harsh conditions that existed in northeastern Alabama when my pioneer ancestors arrived on that frontier wilderness circa 1840, perhaps you can understand how profound my admiration is of their hardy nature, which enabled them to survive by the sweat of their brows, clearing the forests, tilling the soil, building cabins, etc. My ancestors were survivors, or else I wouldn’t be here, and so my sense of tribal pride — team spirit — should be as understandable as, for example, the descendant of Irish immigrants celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, or a third-generation Mexican-American kid at an Ivy League college who buys into all that radical Aztlán nonsense even though he’s barely fluent in Spanish. You must represent your tribe, and I must represent my tribe: Roll Tide!


These three younger members of the McCain Tribe — Jefferson is 20, Reagan is 16, and Emerson is 18 — represent somewhat of a hybrid, considering that their mother is an Ohio native. They can thus claim membership in the Buckeye Nation, and my wife’s kinfolk enjoy ragging me when the Buckeyes are up (now 12-0 after defeating their hated rival Michigan) and the Crimson Tide is down. But I love them anyway, because Jesus taught His followers that we should love our enemies, and so I must even forgive my wife’s ancestors for fighting on the wrong side in the War for Southern Independence. Selah.

Now, if a proud Alabama-American can love a Yankee, as I do my Ohio-born wife, then why should Americans hate each other so much over comparatively trivial distinctions of ethnicity? Just because I’m the patriarch of McCain Nation doesn’t mean I hate other people as inferior. However great our family’s accomplishments might be — hey, did your son kill an eight-point buck this weekend? — we know that other folks have their own useful traits and talents to add to the common good. Yea, verily, I say unto you, even some Auburn fans are worthwhile human beings. Just because I’ve never met an intelligent Auburn fan doesn’t mean all Auburn fans are all idiots, and there’s no point repeating the common stereotype of all Auburn girls being ugly sluts. In fact, some of those Auburn sluts are kind of cute. But I digress . . .

My point is that life has a way of separating human beings into two large categories: Winners and losers. You can measure success however you want — wealth, fame, political power, football prowess or whatever — but in the grand scheme of human life, it is life itself that we must count. Perhaps it is egotistical of me to think that success might best be measured by the number of my descendants, but everything else I might have accomplished in life seems to me insignificant when I consider the enormously greater impact my six children could have on the future of humanity. Whatever difference one McCain might make in the world, alone and unaided, is exponentially multiplied in the collective potential of six McCains. My wife and I have tried to raise our children with high standards and high expectations, and have thus far been pleased with their accomplishments. Already we have four grandchildren, and my wife took a flight south on Saturday headed toward a certain swing state with palm trees, where our oldest daughter lives.


(Click the image to see full-size.)

This week, we expect her to deliver her second child, who will inherit at birth the burden of expectations of future greatness. Our daughter’s first-born son is adorable, and already well on his way to becoming a soccer superstar (his father, a handsome fellow of Argentine ancestry, was captain of the school soccer team), so that our fifth grandchild will have to work hard to compete in the sibling rivalry. That’s one reason I believe bigger families are inherently better families — the children in a large brood have to compete with each other for parental attention, which tends to inspire a greater amount of ambition. Our course, there are many reasons to have more babies, perhaps chief among them babies are cute! Who doesn’t love a cute little baby? Well, OK, Democrats hate babies and want to kill all the babies, using taxpayer money for Planned Parenthood to fund “free” abortions, but I am not a Democrat, I am a Christian, and I love babies. Don’t you love babies, too?

OK, please hit the tip jar — just $5, $10 or $20 would be appreciated — because my wife bought a one-way ticket down there, and told me I have to come up with enough money to fly her back home. So I must remind you the Five Most Important Words in the English Language are:


God bless you, and Roll Tide!