There’s nothing wrong with being competitive. Indeed, there’s nothing wrong with being extremely competitive. But if you’ll do anything to win, and you just can’t lose, you’re not playing the game properly. The Russian Olympic Doping Scandal is a case in point. Even more poignant examples are to be found in the world of business. If you’re a business owner, few people are going to fault you for being shrewd and a little ruthless. But if you screw people over on a regular basis, if people can’t trust you, you’ll soon find yourself isolated, alone, and out of business.

As Jordan Peterson rightly observes, winning should never be your primary objective when you’re playing a game. Getting invited to the next game ought to be your primary objective. Winning is secondary. John McCain understood this far better than most. And he lived by it. As Lindsey Graham put it in his moving eulogy to McCain: “John taught us how to lose. When you go throughout the world, people remember his concession speech as much as anything else. There are so many countries where you can’t afford to lose because they’ll kill you.”

The peaceful transfer of power and gentle commerce are cornerstones of civilized life. Taking them for granted is decidedly unwise. Rejecting them outright is downright reckless (e.g., saying that if your side loses the election it’ll be proof that the election was rigged, saying that anybody’s who’s got money stole it).

I’ve been watching McCain’s funeral live on PBS for the last few hours. As I listened to the eulogies, it occurred to me that nobody is going to say nice things like this about Trump after he dies. I suspect that the president knows this and bitterly resents it. Like Nixon, Trump seems willing to do anything to win. It will be his undoing, just as it was Nixon’s undoing.

—John Faithful Hamer