Friday, February 19, 2016

David Harsanyi Wants To Bring Back Dueling

Bring Back Dueling!:
In a recent debate, Donald Trump accused fellow candidate Ted Cruz of being “the single biggest liar” in the Republican race. He didn’t stop there, punctuating the insult by adding that the Texas senator was “probably worse than Jeb Bush.” This ugly dig — leveled by a billionaire in front of tens of millions of television viewers — was nothing less than character assassination.

These days, though, there’s really no way to fight back against attacks on your honor. You can whine about them, or you can respond with your jabs, but little else. (And Cruz is no amateur on either count.) We’ve spent centuries tempering our Darwinian instinct to swing our clubs at the heads of men who threaten or insult us. This has, in the aggregate, served society quite well. And yet, I can’t help but wonder if the lack of consequence associated with our words and deeds has fed another kind of detrimental vulgarism.

People typically adjust their behavior to the level of risk they face — or so the theory goes. Would Harry Reid falsely accuse Mitt Romney of not paying his taxes if the latter could challenge the Nevada senator to a duel to regain his good standing? Would a politician question an opponent’s Christian faith if that opponent could prove his piousness by shooting the accuser dead? Probably not.
This is like saying that the solution to gun violence is more guns. No, it's dumber than that, since Harsanyi is saying that the solution to speech that someone does not like is gun violence. Is he even aware of the 1st Amendment?

Duel: Enlightenment-era opposition:
By the late 18th century, Enlightenment era values began to influence society with new self-conscious ideas about politeness, civil behaviour and new attitudes towards violence. The cultivated art of politeness demanded that there should be no outward displays of anger or violence, and the concept of honour became more personalized.

By the 1770s the practice of dueling was increasingly coming under attack from many sections of enlightened society, as a violent relic of Europe's medieval past unsuited for modern life. As England began to industrialize and benefit from urban planning and more effective police forces, the culture of street violence in general began to slowly wane. The growing middle class maintained their reputation with recourse to either bringing charges of libel, or to the fast-growing print media of the early nineteenth century, where they could defend their honour and resolve conflicts through correspondence in newspapers.

Influential new intellectual trends at the turn of the nineteenth century bolstered the anti-duelling campaign; the utilitarian philosophy of Jeremy Bentham stressed that praiseworthy actions were exclusively restricted to those that maximize human welfare and happiness, and the Evangelical notion of the "Christian conscience" began to actively promote social activism. Individuals in the Clapham Sect and similar societies, who had successfully campaigned for the abolition of slavery, condemned dueling as ungodly violence and as an egocentric culture of honour. describes "progressive" as forward-looking, and gives one antonym as "conservative".

Conservatives in The United States must want to drag us back to the Stone Age. They continue to become more regressive and backward-looking. No wonder they hate liberals and progressives so much.

Since I am being critical of David Harsanyi I will assume that he probably thinks that a "civil" response to my criticism would be to challenge me to a duel.

0 comments - Post a comment :

Post a Comment