Friday, January 27, 2006

Duel Purpose

When I walk through the bookstore and see the shelf labeled "political science" full of titles that scream "Traitor!" "Liar!" "Stealing Your Country!" "Ruining America!" I wish someone would revive duelling.

Why not? The national hackery is sadly overgrown and needs weeding. What if you couldn't just utter any sort of slander or insult without suffering any consequences. When you insulted someone you had better have thought it through beforehand and be pretared to eat your words dishonorably or defend them.

Oh, calm down; it's just a dream. But I do now have some feeling for the 19th century's dueling apologists: As vicious as dueling was, it wasn't as bad for the nation as the flood of public calumny that flowed after it was outlawed. Charles Gibson wrote, "The code preserved a dignity, justice and decorum that have since been lost. The present generation will think me barbarous but I believe that some lives lost in protecting the tone of the bar and the press, on which the Republic itself so largely depends, are well spent."

At the very least, it would encourage the liberal commentators to get acquainted with firearms, which would perhaps bring them a little closer to a segment of America now invisible to them.