Or to be engaged in “cowardly” hit-and-run asymmetric warfare in the wilderness rather than lining up a bunch of young men on an open field to face deadly fire for your “honor” – the sense of which is evinced by this disgusting essay on George Washington’s “elite honor culture” that motivated Washington to “duel” with King George.
George Washington had to prohibit duels – real duels – among his men for very good reasons, not the least of which is that he couldn’t very well fight a war without troops temporarily giving up their individual sovereignty to the superorganism called a “military”.
This, by the way, should point toward a definition of peace as the state in which individual sovereignty is upheld among men including the appeal of last resort recalling the 600M year old “honor culture” that detonated the Cambrian Explosion.
The Tale of Lin Tse
An enormously big lumberjack, who was also a bully, took a delight in tormenting the Chinese whenever they appeared at the company store. He thought it especially hilarious to trip them when they were loaded with supplies and going out the door. Also he kept alive and continually embellished the mistake of the intended bride being placed in the brothel. His joy in that joke on these small stature people, when his only pride was his bulk and strength, reached to inexhaustible extremes. The hatred that the Chinese felt for him is fully understandable when the stories told show that the other loggers were ashamed that he was one of them. The Chinese had become well enough acquainted with the logger’s ways to understand most of the foul jokes and to understand that this man’s attitude didn’t represent that held by most of the others. The other loggers continually admonished the bully with “you wouldn’t talk like that to a man who was big enough to challenge you to a fight.”
Then one day when this remark was made after the usual taunts from the giant logger it brought a memorable response from one of the Chinese. The target at the moment was a slight, sensitive-faced Chinese man named Lin Tse who had come into the store alone. The fury that had been burning showed itself in this man who contained it with the patient endurance that countless centuries had bred in his being. It didn’t leap into flame; it glowed with a small controlled dignity like some unearthly fire.
Lin’s purchase was only a small package and although there was a big audience of men gathered in the store the bully didn’t think it worthwhile to trip him as he went out. He contented himself with foul worded jokes. Lin heard the other loggers disapproval expressed in “you’d be more careful with a man who was big enough to fight you.” Lin Tse knew the full meaning of the fight to which the words referred and his understanding and deliberation created drama when he turned and faced the bully and the roomful of men with dignity.
The surprise of his turning to meet them instead of hurrying out the door as unobtrusively as possible caused a hush to fall. In the waiting silence his words were clear and in fully understandable English, “If you gentlemen will ensure a fair fight, I will meet this man.”
There was only a short pause before someone said enthusiastically, “Let’s give them guns. That’s the only way to make a fair fight in this case.”
The foreman was there and spoke up. “No. We’ve all agreed. No more guns. I’d like to see the little guy have his chance, but the judge said if there’s another suspicious shooting every man here will face trial as an accomplice of a murderer.
Before an argument developed on the point Lin announced, “I do not want guns. Fifteen meters of strong cordage in addition to a knife will make an equal fight if there’s a big area that has not been logged clean.”
The big man didn’t like the sound of things and, with a guffaw, he tried to go back to the joking game, “He wants to tie me up before he fights me.” He pulled the end of the rope from a nearby coil, threw it at Lin, and held out his wrists with, “Here, let’s see you do it.”
No one laughed. The men were all on their feet and approaching the little man with an interest that was clearly that of a wolf pack moving up on a fight, but also with a silence that verged on becoming a reverent calm. They asked what he could do with a length of cordage.
Lin answered, “Man is intelligent. His intelligence makes him a fit opponent for a bear or even an elephant. With a knife and a cord a man can make a spear, or a bow and arrow, or a trap. He can do many things. He can fight with his intelligence, not just his bulk or his skill in handling a gun. But surprise is necessary to use intelligence. Man does not show the bear how he plans to trap him. I think it is fair that I and this man-bear have equal knives and lengths of cord but do not tell how we will use them.”
The trap had been sprung. A man had used the weight of a mob for an intelligent purpose by appealing to fair play rather than the usual half-sleeping mob tendencies toward turning a fight into mob entertainment. The bully tried all the jokes and tricks he had learned in his attempt to put a laughing, leering mob behind him, but the mob weight was all used to make him accept the challenge on the fair terms stated. He wanted to reduce the size of the combat area but they insisted on making it big enough to give strategy its due weight.
The fight lasted a day and an night and well into the next day. Three times the big man tried to come out but the jeers of the others drove him back. At twilight on the second day, when everyone was preparing to go into another all night vigil, Lin appeared at the designated place and said calmly, “A man is dead in the woods. Would some of you gentlemen help me carry him out.”
If the method Lin used to bring down the big man was ever known, it isn’t of record, but the occasion touched the imagination of the men. An area big enough to permit strategy, a knife with a 25 cm blade, too short for sophisticated swordsmanship, and a fifteen meter length of cordage, strong enough to jerk up a big man’s weight, became the criteria of a fair fight.
Whether it was: (1) Simple fear of the unknown when contemplated through light and dark hours in the forest or (2) a new respect for the unknown in people, when meeting those different from oneself; would be hard to determine; but the number of deaths by unstated causes in Camp 38 decreased after the establishment of those criteria for fairness.
p. 123-125 “Camp 38: Current Model of Northern European Lifestyle Before Christianity” by Jill von Konen