The Other McCain

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

On ‘Rich Men North of Richmond’

Posted on | August 19, 2023 | Comments Off on On ‘Rich Men North of Richmond’

After 10 days of reading endless commentary about Oliver Anthony’s viral hit “Rich Men North of Richmond,” I finally decided to watch the YouTube video and see for myself: Red-bearded young man with a muscular voice picking a Gretsch dobro and singing the blues about “what the world’s gotten to,” and how it feels to be “livin’ in the new world with an old soul.” Brother, don’t I know! Been feeling it all my life, but it’s my choice to play the clown, to act as if I’m undamaged and undaunted by the evil directed against me: “Never let ’em see you sweat.”

My four sons have each had their share of struggles, but you won’t find them complaining about it, because that’s not who we are. Victory requires no apology. Be a winner, and make it look easy, leaving others so mystified by your success as to make them envious. They weren’t even awake when you were burning the midnight oil, nor have they heard of your many failures — because you didn’t complain about them — and so they’re like Ferris Bueller’s sister: “What makes him so g–damn special? … Why does he get to ditch, when everyone else has to go?”

There’s a certain Stoic quality to this approach, which I consider an effective rebellion against a world in which everybody seems to be competing constantly in the Oppression Olympics. The victimhood mentality has so infused our culture that we consider people admirable only insofar as they have suffered, which is why Elizabeth Warren had to invent a fictitious “Native American” biography to justify her tenure at Harvard. Well, how about this: Fuck Harvard.

Fuck the entire Ivy League and everything it symbolizes, including its endless sermonizing about the glories of “diversity.”

When I first heard that the singer of “Rich Men North of Richmond” (whose real name is Christopher Anthony Lunsford) was from Farmville, Virginia, my eyes lit up in recognition. The town is about two-thirds of the way from Petersburg to Appomattox, and it was 10 miles east of Farmville, at the Battle of Sailor’s Creek, that Grant’s army pounced on two corps of Lee’s army, with nearly 8,000 Confederates killed, wounded or captured in a single stroke, just three days before the final surrender.

That bit of military history must be well-known to locals, and I’d bet money that Lunsford is, like me, a descendant of Confederate soldiers, conscious of his ancestry, and conflicted as to what duty requires in a world that has no sense of what duty even means — “livin’ in the new world with an old soul,” indeed. Just try to live an honest life, stay out of trouble, do the best you can for your family, and don’t lose your soul trying to keep up with the Joneses. We’re winning, baby.

His unexpected good fortune — more than 20 million YouTube views and a place atop all the music download sites — has not spoiled Lunsford. He wrote a long Facebook post explaining he’s turned down multimillion-dollar offers from the music industry because he doesn’t aspire to that kind of life. Because the Left has been trying to attack him personally — to sabotage his blue-collar reputation — Lunsford felt the need to explain how it is he owns acreage in Dinwiddie County: “In 2019, I paid $97,500 for the property and still owe about $60,000 on it. I am living in a 27′ camper with a tarp on the roof that I got off of craigslist for $750.” So there you go, lefties — satisfied now? In point of fact, Lunford’s status as a property owner is testimony to the continued vitality of the American Dream. A high-school dropout, by working blue-collar jobs and living a thrifty life, was able to become a land owner when he was only 27, an age at which a lot of college-educated kids are still living in crappy apartments and complaining about their student loan debts. How it must burn them up, all those sociology majors, to see this redneck boy catapulted to the top of the Spotify charts, and yet financially self-sufficient enough that he can say, “No, thanks,” to the record companies trying to sign him to multimillion-dollar deals. Winning, baby.

“Always mystify, mislead, and surprise the enemy, if possible; and when you strike and overcome him, never let up in the pursuit so long as your men have strength to follow; for an army routed, if hotly pursued, becomes panic-stricken, and can then be destroyed by half their number. The other rule is, never fight against heavy odds, if by any possible maneuvering you can hurl your own force on only a part, and that the weakest part, of your enemy and crush it. Such tactics will win every time, and a small army may thus destroy a large one in detail, and repeated victory will make it invincible.”
Stonewall Jackson

How do we apply this tactical advice to our current situation? That’s the question we must ponder, as old souls living in the new world.



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