Many people think that those who identify problems are also in a position to solve them. Even some Outrage readers suffer from this delusion, so we are often asked if  we can provide solutions to the problems we lament about.

Since we at The Outrage drink from the same well as everyone else, we also believe that our rapier wit cannot only pierce the fabric of the Emperor’s New Clothes, but also mend them.

But enough about delusion; on with the show. In fact, DO does do solutions. Today we propose an improved method of conflict resolution: the return of the noble practice of dueling.

In our enlightened modern times we try to resolve “interpersonal” and business conflicts through various means, such as “conflict resolution therapy” and mediated arbitration. But mostly we sue each other — and that’s gotten out of control. We need a faster, cheaper, more effective way of settling our disputes. Dueling is perfect.

Conservatives should like dueling because it’s an efficient, no-nonsense way of settling disputes, involves minimal governmental regulation, and virtually no public expense. Libertarians should approve, as combatants only engage with mutual consent.

We’ll get liberals on our side by encouraging the participation of women and minorities. Just think — Hillary Clinton run through by Walter Williams!

Dueling grew out of the medieval tradition of Trial by Combat, which was used to settle disputes of both a criminal and civil nature. Dueling was outlawed in France in 1547, after King Henri II’s favored competitor in a duel came out on the short end of the saber.

However, like most things, dueling grew in popularity once it was outlawed. The Outrage readers should take note that dueling served an important role in fighting political absolutism, especially during the rule of Louis XIII. As Thore de Bethune says, “Dueling was a direct challenge to the authority of the king.” In later times, Alexander Hamilton, leading advocate of big centralized government, was killed by Aaron Burr in a duel.

Dueling with pistols served an important function in 19th century America. Rather than subject the public to endless rounds of not-yet-invented media advertising, these gentlemen settled their scores on the field of honor. Tennessee Governor William Carroll, Andrew Jackson, and Sam Houston were among the many politicians who settled their disputes in this manly way. Alas, all survived.

There are many practical advantages to dueling, as opposed to litigation, as a means of conflict resolution. Here are a few:

  • Rather than hiring lawyers of unequal skill the combatants must use identical weapons. This makes for much fairer, and vastly less expensive, combat.
  • The most famous rules of dueling, the Irish code Duello, easily fits on four typed pages, with plenty of space to spare. Compare that brevity to the American legal code, which can barely fit in the infinite space of the Internet.
  • Litigation takes years. Duels take place the morning following the challenge, at dawn.
  • If a duel ends inconclusively, the challenged party is declared the winner; the burden of proof in a duel always lies with the challenger. “Loser pays” rules in litigation would be a step in this direction.
  • Dueling allows both parties to survive with honor, as long as they play according to the rules of the game. Litigation does not allow either party to survive with honor, and no one can figure out the rules of the game.
  • On the other hand, it’s possible, though not likely, that both participants in a duel may perish. Thus we could at least hope for the demise of both Bill Clinton and Paula Jones in one brief melee. If the Gods were feeling benevolent that morning, it’s even possible that both of their public relations counselors could join in, and also exit this vale of tears.

Dueling with swords would provide an excellent means of exercise for politicians who have been sitting around Capitol Hill getting obese at the public trough. Furthermore, Ted Kennedy and Newt Gingrich crossing real sabers might elevate the current spirit of contention.

On a more mundane note, here at The Outrage we see dueling as a long-overdue method of dealing with critics, and those DO readers who utilize the Rageback section to cast aspersions on us.

En garde!

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0 thoughts on “BRING BACK THE DUEL!

  1. Dueling would be a perfect solution. I think the first duel should involve all the writers of Outrage and Pete Rose. May the best man win!

    Time: 10/24/97 (23:13:2)

    The only problem with dueling is that no lawyer or anyone in public office would ever accept a challenge.

    Because only a person with a true and chiverous (okay my spelling sucks….educated in public schools) heart will win; which total eliminates them!

    Although there may be a few that could win a duel by which the winner is the first to not be convicted of a crime or be investigated by a independent? Sorry total mental block.

    Time: 10/24/97 (13:28:6)

    I thoroughly agree with the concept of dueling. I would further propose that an armed society is a polite society.

    Time: 10/24/97 (12:41:39)

    This is in reply to “The Sandman”, who questioned whether one could picture WJC engaging in this delightful practice.

    No, but you must remember that the Sovreign usually was represented by a champion, thereby reducing the turnover of “government”. Given that Slick Willie is nothing, if NOT slick, he’d probably not even pause but would appoint Janet Reno his champion and cheer her on from the sidelines.


    Good idea, but the people we’d most like to have it apply to probably wouldn’t have gumption enough to participate.

    Time: 10/24/97 (10:7:25)

    Our proofreader is hiding behind his black veil regarding the comment below. If we had just read Wordsworth more recently!

    Time: 10/24/97 (9:48:52)

    Bravo! Long live the idea of duelling, but, please – don’t conceal our “vale (as in ‘valley’) of tears” behind a concealing “veil”.

    Time: 10/24/97 (7:30:10)

    Good Show DO. But really, can you see our top man (the draft dodger) grabing his sword and poking for honor???? Gosh am I silly or what!!!

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