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The blood of John McCain 4th August 2008

It isn’t often you find as vivid an example of genetic determinism as that by Anatol Lieven in his article on John McCain (August). Apparently McCain’s traits of obstinacy, loyalty, quick temper, patriotism and aggression, together with his predilection for fury and “implacable hatreds,” are the result of his being a Scotch-Irishman.

These characteristics are a lot to load on to a man whose ancestors have not known Ulster as home since the 18th century. Their attribution would also seem to be less than scientific, or, indeed, plausible. Those in the Scotch-Irish…

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