Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Dueling: Time to bring it back?

By Devin Foley Intellectual Takeout

Let’s be honest, we live in an honor-less age; lies and gossip aren’t just the tools of politicians and celebrities. In your own life, you can probably point to any number of people around you — even church people! — whose main trade seems to be trashing others so that they can get ahead or just feel better about themselves.

The remedy? Bring back dueling.

Having written that, I truly doubt anyone would prefer death over the tarnishing of their name these days. The concept of honor is simply too far removed from our times. Really, who would actually die for his honor today? Would your best friend? Would your dad? Would your brother? Would your congressman?

One wonders if the outlawing of dueling was done to destroy the idea of honor or merely signaled its death. Either way, the idea of honor is unfortunately dead and we could use a little of it in the here and now. Would we be better off if people took their honor far more seriously? Probably. Can we bring back honor without something akin to dueling, though? Probably not.

The idea of the duel, as well as the good and the bad of it, recently has been captured in a number of pop culture moments. Netflix’s The Crown has a scene with a duel, as does AMC’s TURN: Washington’s Spies, and, of course, the incredibly popular Broadway play Hamilton is rife with the topic. Here is “Ten Duel Commandments” from the play Hamilton overlaid on an episode of TURN — truly, pop culture at its best.

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