757. Can dueling be classified as a legitimate self-defense? “No, it is murder and a ridiculous practice worthy of barbarians. When civilization is more advanced and more moral, people will see that dueling is as ridiculous as the fights that were once regarded as being God’s judgment.”
758. Can dueling be considered murder on the part of the individual who, knowing his own weakness, is realistically sure of being killed?
“That would be suicide.”
a) When the chances are equal, is it murder or suicide?
“It is both.”
In all cases, even when the chances are equal, duelists are guilty. In the first case, they are guilty because they make a levelheaded and deliberate attack on the life of a fellow human being. In the second, they risk their own lives for no reason and without serving any benefit to anyone.
759. What is the real nature of the point of honor in duels? “Pride and vanity, two plagues of humanity.”
a) Are there cases where a person’s honor is really at stake and a refusal to fight would be an act of cowardice?
“That depends on customs. Each country and every century has a different way of viewing such matters. When people are more morally advanced, they understand that the true point of honor transcends all human passions. Reparation for a wrong cannot be obtained by killing another or by getting yourself killed.”
There is true greatness and honor in confessing our wrongdoing when we are wrong, forgiving when we are right and, in all cases, ignoring insults that cannot touch those who are superior to them.