MAJ Cosmo Taormina and I were having a bit of a philosophical conversation the other day. I was upset… deeply upset (Actually, that is not true. I was, frankly, somewhat amused.) at a poor Yelp review we had received.
The author, “Mr. B,” had emailed me last week after the blog email went out demanding that he be removed from the email list. He was outraged that after purchasing a Groupon, and coming in for a Pistol Series class, we would have the temerity to email him “right wing propaganda”.
Confused at his assertion, I emailed him and informed him that I would be more than happy to remove him from our email list. I queried him as to what exactly I had said that could be construed as “right wing” since I have always fashioned myself as more of a devotee of classical liberalism.
He never responded to me directly, instead turning to Yelp to voice his displeasure… and to suggest that “Orange County was blue.” (I am assuming he was referencing the last election and not a psychological state.)
“This feigned outrage and casual throwing around of labels has got to come to an end!” I yelled, slamming my empty whiskey glass down on the Queen Anne table.
The Major looked up from his reading, framed neatly in his wing-backed chair, and gently removed his cigar from his mouth. Looking at me over his reading glasses, he dismissively waved his cigar…
“That is why we need to bring back dueling.”
“Settle this as we have done for centuries: weapon of choice, each combatant with his (or her) second… and satisfaction at ten paces!”
“Yes! You see it! There is an elegance in this, no?!” The Major leaned forward, becoming more excited. Clearly, I had taken the bait.
“Think of the social benefits! If someone says something that offends someone… really offends him, then the aggrieved party is entitled to demand satisfaction! When the offended class realizes that if it publicly acts on its outrage, it may very well be meeting the object of its ire in the misty early morning along the banks of the river!”
“What if the aggrieved party asks for satisfaction and the offender refuses to participate?”
The Major slumped back in his chair and looked toward the fireplace. He took a draw on his cigar. He thought about my question for a few minutes then, finally, sadly uttered, “You’ve got me, Captain. I’m not sure anything can be done, save the loss of honor of the offender, and I am not sure he had any to begin with.”
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“Wait! We are looking for classic nongovernmental remedies in a post-modern environment, correct?”
The major leaned forward seeing where I was going.
“What is the one thing that the modern offender yearns for more than anything?”
“Perhaps… but more specific to the individual?”
“The feeling of moral superiority?”
“Yes!… and how does he or she seek out that moral superiority?”
“Posting on the internet!”
“Exactly, Major! So… along with reestablishing the ancient tribunal of the duel, we also legislatively mandate that all profiles on the internet be ‘true’ identities so that the authors are knowable and traceable. If the author is challenged to a duel, and he fails to participate, then he becomes persona non grata on the internet. He is prohibited from having a profile on any platform… for a poster without honor deserves no right of forum.”
The Major puffed on his cigar.
“I am being persuaded. What weapons are to be used?”
“We are modern creatures, are we not? For those with a certain elan, swords and muzzle-loading pistols to be sure. For those who are not devotees of the romantic… semi-automatic pistols.”
“Pour yourself another whiskey, Captain. We have much to discuss!”