Ever wonder where the great legal tradition of the West came from? Lots of reasons for it. But one of the main drivers of the use of lawyers and courts and the cause of our over-legislated modern culture was a civic campaign to cut down on urban disturbances, and public brawls.

Back in the day, even noblemen settled their disagreements with fist fights or duels. Get the stereotype of the foppish wig-wearing “gentlemen” out of your head, your ancestors would throw down often and over just about anything. Disagreements were settled in the streets. Here’s what wikipedia has to say on the subject:

In Western society, the formal concept of a duel developed out of the mediaeva ljudicial duel and older pre-Christian practices such as the Viking Ageholmgang. Judicial duels were deprecated by the Lateran Council of 1215. However,  in spite of Church disapproval, there were nevertheless seven capital crimes that were still commonly accepted as resolvable by means of a judicial duel. Most societies did not condemn dueling, and the victor of a duel was regarded not as a murderer but as a hero; in fact, his social status often increased. During the early Renaissance, dueling established the status of a respectable gentleman, and was an accepted manner to resolve disputes. Dueling in such societies was seen as an alternative to less regulated conflict.

The process of gentile-ization came hand in hand with attempts to curb excessive blood-letting in European cultures. The war-like tendencies of almost all European peoples however, were also tied up with their understanding of masculinity.

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Men were expected to fight to earn their keep, win renown, and of course to secure a mate. The nobility of Europe was founded on the warrior class, unlike in other places such as China, or India, or South America, that all had priest-led societies. Some more history:

During the reign of Henry IV, over 4,000 French aristocrats were killed in duels “in an eighteen-year period” whilst a twenty-year period of Louis XIII‘s reign saw some eight thousand pardons for “murders associated with duels”. Roth also notes that thousands of men in the Southern United States “died protecting what they believed to be their honour.”

There you go. This doesn’t even mention the number of your run-of-the-mill fist fights. Governments had to work hard to promote new mores and laws to stop the fighting, working hand in hand with the clergy to promote the central authorities as the sole arbiters of conflict. It took several millenia to stamp out the blood-thirst that our ancestors had, to get rid of that red-blooded craving of Western males to dominate and fight.

Forget your “guns, germs and steel” explanation, the West became what it is at the tip of a bayonet. This was all done of course, with practical considerations in mind as well as religious ones. Losing 4,000 of your nobles to duels is a staggering statistic, and rising nation-states as well as absolute monarchies had a practical reason from the position of strong state-craft to begin reining in this pagan holdover tradition.

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Still, I always wonder. Will any of us ever experience something this profoundly masculine ever again? Some will say it was a grotesque tradition. I say that it was a life-affirming one. Others, that all human life is sacred and these acts of killing were wrong. I reply that this thinking stems from a fear of death and a view of death as the absolute terror, when in fact there are far worse things that can befall you.

Warrior based-societies lived closer to death than we ever will, and so had a deeper understanding of it than we ever will, hidden as we are behind the safe veil of secular humanism.

I am not advocating for the wanton death and destruction that characterized so much of our collective human history. All I ask, is that we consider whether getting a black eye from time to time is really such a scary possibility that we had to spend the better part of the last century insulating ourselves from all the harsh realities of the world.

This is dangerous because our children increasingly do not what it means to fight. When they grow up, they will move from one safe white neighborhood to another, go to university with other bubble-wrapped children, and move into safe gated communities after they get that promotion. Their disputes are handled by the courts.

Their security is handled by an increasingly bigger and more heavily armed police force. Their wars are fought for them by legions of underclass contractors, and now by autonomous flying killing robots. The attitude that fighting is wrong, in and of itself has now been wired into the brain of almost every white westerner I’ve ever met. Like Jack answers in that iconic scene from Fight Club:

Tyler: Have you ever been in a fight?

Jack: No, but that’s a good thing.

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It is almost a badge of honor to have never been in a fight. Even though deep down we know this is not true. As men, we crave the feeling of power, of knowing that we can handle ourselves when shit goes down. Often times, we fear that we can’t and so with a little mental acrobatics we convince ourselves that our cowardice is in fact a virtue. “Real men don’t have to fight,” or some similar drivel.

Here’s a newsflash: real men don’t wear pink, real men don’t make crying displays of being in touch with their feelings, and real men don’t run from a fight.

By all means, take the advice of literally every person who has ever been in a fight, ever, and be smart about it. Don’t pick bad fights. Don’t get yourself killed over a girl. Don’t talk big and then not back it up. But also, don’t be so fucking afraid of standing up for yourself. Getting in a fight has real-world consequences, everyone knows this, in fact everything is geared to punish you if you do end up in one. You, dear reader, surely realize this as well as I realize it.

And yet, it is a profoundly religious experience. The feelings you feel while in a fight are nauseating, but after the fight, you feel so alive. You want to cry, to shout, to laugh, to eagerly inspect your body for bruises…

Try it at least once in your life.

Read More: Fighting Another Man Could Change Your Life