Modern Applications of Dueling

Marriage. Voting. Worship. Many pundits praise these institutions as the foundations of our society, the traditional moral pillars that keep us from degeneration. Yet for over a century one key practice has been conspicuously absent from this list: dueling.

Dueling once played the noble role of allowing unstable males between 16 and 30 to reduce the surplus population with impunity. The streets ran red with colorful confetti celebrating local victories. Sadly, the infantilization of the populace has led to condemnation of the activity in both law and the wider culture. This is, to put it frankly, a historical tragedy on par with the Bubonic plague.

Unfortunately for the current generation of strapping young lads (and equally homicidal ladies; this is the 21st century after all), dueling has been replaced with passive-aggressive insults, maddening silent treatments, and the occasional shooting over scuffed shoes. Clearly, there needs to be a change. Dueling has the potential to revolutionize the way we view the modern world. We should not merely legalize it: we should provide every citizen over the age of twelve with their choice of semi-automatic firearm. As a safety measure, small children would only be allowed one-shot pistols. The benefits are enumerated below.


What better way to meet new people than to cross swords with them? Underground dueling rings would be the perfect way to make fit, motivated, and slightly unhinged friends. Right before killing them. The system isn’t quite perfect, but it’s better than a Saturday night alone.


Isn’t it about time that methods for setting the curve beyond sabotage and outdated “studying” were put on the table? An entry-level understanding of rhetorical questioning provides a resounding “yes”. Commentators consistently describe the modern academic environment as cutthroat. This would simply makes things a bit more literal.

Private Entertainment

Any monkey with a typewriter can suggest putting duels on television. I hate to disappoint the portion of the audience pining for “Bloodsport” or “Running Man” references, but the phase in our culture where the prospect was original or compelling passed with the mainstream broadcast of mixed martial arts bouts.

What I’d like to advocate is the potential of dueling for entertainment on a smaller scale. With a pair of sabers, a lazy afternoon between friends can quickly become the night of their (short) lives. Who needs a game console when you have the most dangerous game? It’s certainly no more adversarial than the average round of Monopoly, and stimulates essential blood flow.

Furthermore, instead of dragging students to pointless assemblies, high schools could entertain their sedentary student bodies by handing sports mascots lances. Please, try to imagine the repressed rage and fury of a man that dances in a bear suit unleashed for all to see. That is a breed of home-brewed magic that Disneyland could never hope to imitate.


Impressing the opposite sex can be hard, especially in the modern era when the average person’s skillset can be summed up with “social networking comments” and “maintaining homeostasis”. Our generation’s Casanova is most likely too busy vegetating in front of a monitor to meet the standards of his predecessors. Perhaps he’s even wasting time reading the work of a misanthropic black humorist.

A well-staged duel provides a foolproof method of showing off. If one wins, the prospective paramour is impressed (and potentially aroused by the recent murder; it takes all kinds). In the event of a loss, one doesn’t have to live with the embarrassment.

Naturally, mortal combat isn’t only applicable to the beginning of a relationship. Fights to the death would provide a decidedly final conclusion to any floundering relationship or fiery divorce. After all, a dead man can’t hold back child support payments.

Community Service

Everyone has a short list of local individuals that they believe the world could continue turning without. Whether this is due to generations of unwarranted self-importance or the fact that most people can’t spell “moral relativism” is debatable, but the end result is the same. Reinstating dueling would convert this self-righteous impulse into a chance to shape one’s environment. There would finally be a method of community service requiring nothing in the way of generosity, human interaction, or time investment. Only a warm gun and anachronistic white glove.

Anger Management

Let’s jump past the ham-handed John Swift imitation and cut to the chase. Dueling provides a socially acceptable context for first degree murder. I doubt I need to explain why this would do wonders for stress levels. If I do, then there’s a good chance that you’re part of the problem.

-Dennard Dayle ’13

You May Also Like