Sunday, August 24, 2008


The historian ran across this anecdote from a year-old issue of The Nation, in a review of Thomas McCraw's biography of Joseph Schumpeter, a great conservative economist of the early to mid-twentieth century:
While still in his 20s [Schumpeter] won an appointment to a chair in Czernowitz, an eastern outpost of the Austro-Hungarian Empire,where he found that his students were denied proper access to the library. Challenged to a duel by the school's librarian, he fought to help his students and, not least, to defend his honor--satisfaktionsfähig--as an Austrian gentleman. By virtue of his swordsmanship, Schumpeter drew first blood, and the library's collection was made fully available to his students. (Robin Blackburn, "Perishable Goods,"The Nation September 24 2007)
The historian has been mulling over other occasions where duels might be called for. Me, too. For instance, I have to renew my driver's license this week. What if my eye exam is dicey? Perhaps I will have to challenge the examiner to a duel? If the officers of the law insult my meadow again, definitely a duel, though I will call upon them to lay down their firearms. Fair is fair.

I can imagine all sorts of situations at work where duels might become necessary, which I shall not enumerate, but you go right ahead.

1 comment:

  1. I will duel the next MoFo who calls upon me to be a "brand ambassador."



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