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Thread: Bring Back the Duel

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    Thumbs Up Bring Back the Duel

    Pushkin: This has always been a deep feeling of mine. I believe a revival of duelling will do much to revive traditional notions of honour and masculinity. Duelling or similar affairs were quite common among Europeans and of all classes as well. We're used to the more aristocratic form of duelling, but the peasents and workers had their versions as well(although more crude). One only needs to watch "Gangs of New York", to see what I'm talking about.


    http://www.amconmag.com/06_30_03/taki.html

    Bring Back the Duel

    By Taki

    By the time you read this, I’ll be in deepest Devon playing cricket. Yes, it’s a slow game, played over a whole, languid afternoon, with a long tea break and the odd streaker interrupting the salubrious proceedings. It is an English ritual like no other, where good sportsmanship is all important and where corked bats are as rare as English sunshine. I picked up cricket late in life and am still unfamiliar with the all the rules, but if one keeps one’s eye on the ball, one gets along just fine.

    Amateur cricket still requires all-white outfits, swearing is a no-no, and the opposite team claps as one comes in to bat. I play two matches a year: one in Devon, in a private ground that belongs to a friend, and one at Badminton, the seat of the Duke of Beaufort, whose team I represent against the village outfit. In all the time I’ve played, running close to 15 years, I have never heard a swear word or rude remark—and I include the time when a friend of mine smoked a joint in the outfield, fell asleep, and lost our opponents the match. (Not by default—it wouldn’t be cricket—but by the ball getting stuck under his immobile body.)

    Mind you, this is private, privileged England, during the month of June, and the game is cricket, not soccer. As Peter Hitchens recently wrote in these pages, Britain is now a lawless place, with no-go areas for whites, dangerous drug gangs guarding their respective turfs, and aggressive hooliganism in the football terraces. If, say, Winston Churchill, who died in 1965, came back for a brief visit, he’d assume the Almighty sent him to the wrong place— Palermo at best, or Chicago during Prohibition.

    In short, English life and manners ain’t what they used to be. So much so that the great Paul Johnson used a whole Spectator column some years back to explain his astonishment and delight when a beautiful young woman offered him her place in the Tube. Such gestures, wrote Paul, always generate geniality, and other people notice and are edified. “There is no doubt that good manners are not a superficial activity. They serve a moral purpose. They are the outward and visible sign of an inner unselfishness, a readiness to put others first, and an exercise in self-restraint which defines the essence of civilization.” Manners, of course, are the antithesis of brute force. They hide our real thoughts and intentions and subdue our natural belligerence.

    The duel was a perfect example of good manners. Instead of brawling and murdering each other in the street, duelists would fight—at times to the death—under the rules of a strict code, where cheating was forbidden and cowardice unacceptable. If ever there were a dignified way to settle accounts, the duel was it, and it brought out the best in man. My favorite is the duel between Colonel Richard Thornhill and Sir Cholmley Dering, which took place in 1711 and resulted in Sir Cholmley’s untimely death. The putative insult to Thornhill was that Cholmley stomped him after a long evening of drinking at a pub. Just before he expired, Cholmley admitted, “This misfortune was my own fault and of my own seeking.” That was a generous but quite untrue gesture; it was Thornhill who had issued the challenge, as proven by a letter from him, which was submitted as evidence at the subsequent trial.

    I know, I know, we are living in the 21st century and all that, but I certainly wouldn’t mind being challenged by such a civilized man, would you? Although Thornhill was found guilty, he didn’t serve a day, and Cholmley’s dying gesture was recognized as typical gentlemanly behavior. My recurring daydream is that the chivalric days of yesteryear have miraculously returned and I can save face with the weapons of my choice. Just imagine the fun: Christopher Hitchens vs. Sidney Blumenthal; Taki vs. Frum, Kristol, and Podhoretz (simultaneously); Starr vs. Clinton; Mailer vs. Wolfe; Buchanan vs. Rosenthal, and so on. It would beat dishing the dirt in print, and it would provide a great spectacle for those ink-stained wretches covering the Hill and the White House.

    The last duel I know of took place between two men I was acquainted with. Both were gay, both in the closet, both talented, gracious, and gentlemanly. The Marquis de Cuevas, of ballet-fame, fought Serge Lifar, the Russian-born choreographer over artistic differences. Cuevas was 72 at the time—1958—and Lifar was 53. Lifar had flung his scented handkerchief at Cuevas during the intermission of the Black and White ballet. They met at an estate 50 miles from Paris, and after a lot of weaving and bobbing, Cuevas pricked Lifar in the arm. Then Cuevas burst into tears and collapsed. The bleeding Lifar consoled him. They embraced, and it was all over. Now that’s what I call a happy ending. But back to manners.

    Nowadays it is normal to assume that etiquette is outdated. The enormous social changes, especially in relationships between men and women and the breakdown of the traditional family, have left people with dilemmas that the old certainties are ill-equipped to solve. (When a modern feminist screams like a fishwife and uses the F-word what is a gentleman supposed to do? Answer in kind? Punch her in the nose? Leave the room? The answer is none of the above. Do not ever come into contact.)

    Manners, like the language, are fundamental means of communication and self-expression. Social disintegration comes with the breakdown of etiquette, and nowhere is the collapse more visible than in merry old England. I’ve been in some pretty rough places during my nightclubbing nights, but London makes me most nervous. At times it feels like anarchy. As Peter Hitchens has written, the cops stay inside the police stations, relying on cameras to record crimes. The bobby on his beat is a thing of the distant past. A lot of it has to do with PC. We in the West have abandoned an ethical basis for society in pursuit of equality of the races and creeds. We expect the government to solve problems that arise from lack of ethics.

    When I was growing up in Greece during the war, the individual existed in the context of the family. Government did not have the means to provide for a person what the family best provided. There was no violence to speak of, no crime, no drugs, no vagrancy, no unbecoming behavior in public. Fathers made sure of it. Roger Scruton once wrote, “[T]he principal damage done by liberalism has come from its relentless scoffing at ordinary prohibitions and decencies.” The liberal press and Hollywood have been the main culprits in transmitting liberalism’s message. In the 1960s the evil duo decided that their mission henceforth would be to champion the deviant, the abnormal, the psychopath, while heaping scorn on the decent, the honorable, and the law-abiding. Family values were laughed all the way to the bank. Step forward all you bald, fat, cigar-chomping Hollywood types.

    Now it seems it’s almost too late to do anything about it. This is a culture that celebrates meanness as a virtue. It is also the swaggering, boasting, and flaunting of material things by the young, to the glorification of violence as the easy way to acquire these things, to the everyday speech pattern that uses the F-word as an article, an adjective, and a noun. They say that snobbery is really the tribute ordinariness pays to excellence. If that is so, we need more snobbery. It may not be the best way of acknowledging the finer values, but it is infinitely preferable to the pseudo-egaliterianism of denying that they exist. Cricket, however, is still a gentleman’s game, and those who play it as amateurs mean to keep it that way. I will keep you posted, but in the meantime, if you plan a London trip, take along your brass knuckles.

    June 30, 2003 issue
    Copyright © 2003 The American Conservative
    Last edited by Taras Bulba; Friday, January 16th, 2004 at 07:33 AM.

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    Post Re: Bring Back the Duel

    David Myatt on Duelling. Although I disagree with his views on Christianity, there is much I admire in David Myatt's thinking.

    http://www.geocities.com/davidmyatt/laws-duel.html

    Why Duelling Is Right

    Duelling is right - a moral duty for an honourable person - because the only just and fair law is the law of personal honour. The most fundamental ideal of civilization is the noble ideal of personal honour.

    Accordingly, a civilized, noble society would restore the custom of the personal duel as it would expect all individuals to resolve questions of honour through a duel. Thus would justice for the individual become once again the fair and true justice of the duel and trial by combat, and thus would real personal freedom be created with personal character respected and upheld as an ideal. This is in complete contrast to the inhuman, unfair so-called "justice" of all modern societies which in practical terms reduce individuals to complete serfdom.

    No words are too strong to condemn the abstract inhuman laws of our modern societies which take away all the natural rights, freedoms and dignity of an individual and which render individuals powerless before the tyrannical might of the forces of the State. No words are too strong to condemn the inhuman treatment which the Institutions of our modern societies - such as Courts of Law - metes out to individuals.

    One example of how powerless individuals have become is the tyranny of modern legal trials. What matters most in a modern so-called Court of Law is abstract evidence, and individuals are convicted and often sent to Prison on the basis of such evidence - or rather, on the basis of whether or not such evidence is believed by a Jury, a Judge or a Magistrate. The personal character, the honour, of the individual who stands accused is only of secondary importance - if it is considered at all. Further, the individual has for the most part to rely on "experts" who present the case for the defence. Thus, once the due process of modern Law is started - say with a person being arrested by the Police for transgressing some modern Law - then the individual is literally at the complete mercy of the System.

    What really and fundamentally matters is not abstract evidence - but the honour of the individual and the freedom of the individual to defend their own honour through the test of facing death in either a trial by combat or a duel. If a person is innocent of some charge or accusation, they are innocent, regardless of how much abstract evidence is produced which seems to condemn them. For decades - for centuries - innocent people have been unjustly convicted of crimes on the basis of evidence which is either false or mis-interpreted

    The truth of the modern system of Courts of Law is that such Courts deny the individual the most basic right to defend their personal honour. Technical rules of evidence, technical procedures, obscure points of law and often the glib words of professional Barristers and lawyers rule such Courts - not the honour of the person accused. What fundamentally matters is not evidence, not glib words, not obscure points of law - but the honour of the individual and the right of the individual to personally defend their honour through trial by combat or a duel.

    The fact that so few people today accept this, or even understand it, just shows how far our societies are from the freedom and nobility of personal honour. Until a majority of people in society understand and accept the need for questions of honour to be settled by a duel, and until a majority live their own lives in accord with a Code of Honour, there will never be a truly free and thus noble society, for it is only personal honour - and the willingness to defend that honour to the death - which creates and which maintains such a free and noble society.

    Until such time as such a free and noble society is created, based upon honour, honourable individuals must champion the duel of honour. They, through their belief in honour and their desire to live by a Code of Honour (of which the duel is an integral part) must strive to restore this custom of personal duelling to our present societies - regardless of the fact that our present societies see such duels as an illegal act. The laws which make such personal duelling illegal, and which are invoked against those who have the noble courage to fight a duel, are the dishonourable laws of a repressive tyranny and as such they deserve to be circumvented, and if necessary, totally ignored. A person of honour has a moral duty - a right - to disregard such tyrannical ignoble laws. For what matters - more than individual life itself - is honour.

    *****************
    Rules for Duelling

    The most acceptable and civilized form of duel is by pistol, and those abiding by the Code of Honour are expected to use this form as and when necessary.

    A formal challenge to a duel must be personally issued, by one party to the other, at which a date, time and place are specified (Dawn is traditionally favoured). Each duellist must be accompanied by a Second, to ensure fair play and an honourable outcome, as there must be a referee.

    At the appointed time and in the appointed place, two revolvers, pistols or duelling pistols, as similar as possible, are checked and prepared by the referee, (ideally a man of honour should keep or have access to a matched pair of pistols specifically made for duelling, capable of firing one round and one round only). These revolvers or pistols, and the bullets, are also checked by the duellists and their seconds. [Note: whatever pistol is used it should be loaded or so adapted that one round and only round can be discharged from it when the trigger is pulled.]

    The referee then allows the duellists to choose a weapon. The duellists stand back to back. At a sign or word from the referee they then walk a set number of paces agreed beforehand (ten being usual) before turning to face each other. The referee then says: "Take aim!" at which they take aim. The referee then says: "Fire!" at which they discharge the weapon. It is considered dishonourable conduct to aim and/or fire before the referee gives the signal to so do.

    Should one person fire and miss, or hit and injure, the other duellist before that duellist has also fired, then the person who has so fired must wait, without moving, until his fellow duellist has also fired, if he is capable of so firing.

    Honour is satisfied if the duel is undertaken in the above manner.




    Some Notes On Duelling


    There are four things which need to be understood about personal duels of honour.


    (1) The etiquette, or rules, of duelling must be followed, for it is these rules which make this encounter between two individuals a civilized and thus an honourable encounter. A duel of honour is not a brawl, or merely a fight between two individuals - it is a dispassionate meeting of two individuals who use their own will, their own strength of character, to fight in a particular way.

    The rules, the etiquette, of duelling make it such a dispassionate encounter - for a duel is a test of courage, of nerve, of character, of personal honour itself. Any and all conduct which is against the rules is dishonourable, and as such the person who does not abide by the rules is not an honourable person, and thus forfeits their honour and their honourable reputation.

    If the rules are not followed, it is thus not a duel of honour.


    (2) In a duel of honour, deadly weapons must be used. It is the deadly nature of the weapons used, with the possibility of death, which makes the encounter an honourable one. Deadly weapons include pistols, swords and long-bladed fighting knives of the Bowie type.


    (3) The duel is a private affair between the two individuals concerned. As such, only the nominated Seconds, and a referee - acceptable by both sides - must be present. It is against the etiquette of duelling for any other people to be present.


    (4) A person challenged to a duel must either personally accept the challenge, or decline the challenge. It is dishonourable and cowardly conduct to ignore a challenge once it has been formally issued. If a person who is challenged declines the challenge, then they must issue a personal apology, and if necessary, or called upon to do so, a public apology.

    A man of honour will only challenge to a duel those individuals whom he believes can physically defend themselves and their honour with deadly weapons. Thus, it is dishonourable and cowardly if someone who is challenged to a duel tries to get someone else to fight the duel on their behalf.

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    Post Re: Bring Back the Duel

    Strange, I was just thinking about this. It's the most noble way to sort out your problems, and one of the most noble ways to die (especially if you use swords. How romantic, like in a Dumas novel!)

    Anyway I too hope duelling is brought back!

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    Post Re: Bring Back the Duel

    Quote Originally Posted by Adelaide
    Strange, I was just thinking about this. It's the most noble way to sort out your problems, and one of the most noble ways to die (especially if you use swords. How romantic, like in a Dumas novel!)
    Yes I'm sure you think that duelling is such a great thing. Primarily because you would never be the one doing it, if somebody insulted you a man would fight on your behalf. *sigh*

    Anyway I too hope duelling is brought back!
    Just a friendly reminder, duelling was and is only reserved for men. Women need not apply. Sorry!

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    Post Re: Bring Back the Duel

    Quote Originally Posted by Pushkin
    Yes I'm sure you think that duelling is such a great thing. Primarily because you would never be the one doing it, if somebody insulted you a man would fight on your behalf. *sigh*
    Well, that is one reason to have a duel...


    Just a friendly reminder, duelling was and is only reserved for men. Women need not apply. Sorry!
    Hey, I never specified that I wanted to be the one doing the dueling. ...I just said that it should be brought back.

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    Post Re: Bring Back the Duel

    @Pushkin: I'd have never thought that I would ever agree with you on a single issue, but you just proved me wrong.
    .

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    Post Re: Bring Back the Duel

    Oh ja. Men should duel over women. That would be hot.

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    Post Re: Bring Back the Duel

    Quote Originally Posted by Tryggvi
    @Pushkin: I'd have never thought that I would ever agree with you on a single issue, but you just proved me wrong.
    What that we should bring back the duel in general, or my misogyinist remarks about women and duelling? Or maybe both?

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    Post Re: Bring Back the Duel

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigrun Christianson
    Oh ja. Men should duel over women. That would be hot.
    Deul over the honour of decent women that is!

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