On March 11, 2012, in Danielson, Connecticut, there will be a boxing match between two men who are training hard with boxing trainers for the match, which will be a heavyweight bout with a weight limit between 190-215 pounds. There will be proceeds taken at the door for a school scholarship as Guillaume and Ryan face off, and an audience of at least 300 people is expected for the match. There has been bad blood between these two men, and so they decided to settle it like men by taking their problems into a boxing ring. I happen to know about the match because I am friends with the sister of one of the boxers involved.
I have commented elsewhere on the fact that one of the beneficial results of the custom of dueling was that it strongly encouraged people to behave in an honorable way and not to treat others with contempt . And I am certainly candid about my own problems with disrespect from others, as well as the fact that I’m a fan of sports like mixed martial arts and boxing. As far as intellectuals go, I’m a pretty fierce one.
In fact, I have even pondered and imagined how it would work to settle some of my own beefs with other people in the boxing ring. To be sure, as someone who has never trained at boxing I would need trainers to work on tactics like how to close off the ring, whether to be aggressive or do counterpunching, how to work on combinations and keeping my defense strong with a good jab to keep a rhythm going. I take such matters pretty seriously. I fight to win–not merely a points battle for a decision (though if someone wants to be tactical about it I have the discipline to do so) but a knockout.
I happen to think that if people understood that making slanderous and libelous comments would mean the high possibility of their being bloodied and knocked unconscious in front of a crowd, possibly to be put on Youtube under “brutal knockouts” for the world to watch, then even those who were not so bright would learn to keep their mouths shut and avoid spreading lies about people or wishing them dead 490 times. Consequences help people behave in a moral fashion, and I’m glad that my friend’s brother decided to shut someone’s mouth in a boxing ring. It’s something worth emulating, and hopefully this sort of action becomes enough of a trend that it serves as a deterrent to those who lie and slander others.
There are some people in this world who are not motivated by lawsuits and who care nothing about the truth but love to spread lies about others, especially pseudonymously or anonymously. For such people embarrassment and physical violence is sometimes the only language that they understand and when that is the case we need to speak in such a way that we cannot be misunderstood. If people understand that attacking the honor of others will probably lead to a lot of pain, they will be less likely to attack the honor of others. And that makes the world at least a little better of a place for those of us who care deeply about honor and respect.