The Instigator
Noblethe3rd
Pro (for)
Losing
6 Points
The Contender
LaSalle
Con (against)
Winning
18 Points

On Balance, the Pen is Mightier than the Sword.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/12/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 5,349 times Debate No: 3610
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (8)

 

Noblethe3rd

Pro

"I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent."
Mahatma Gandhi

No one has proven the point that violence is not the only option, nor is it the best option better than Gandhi. Because he was able to accomplish so much without using violence, I proudly stand on the Pro side of this topic. Resolved: On Balance, the Pen is Mightier than the Sword."

At this point I will provide my interpretation of the topic.
"On Balance" - when weighed against each other, the one that holds any advantage, no matter how substantial, is the best option.

"The Pen" - the use of words and/or non-violent means to accomplish a desired goal

"The Sword" - the use of force by means of inflicting physical harm upon one or more people to achieved a desired goal

And with these things in mind, I would like to move to my first point of analysis -

1."Sticks and Stone may break my bones, but Words will forever haunt me."

Let's take a look at a simple scenario. As a child, you are on the playground with your friends and you are pushed to the ground and scrap your elbow. You call your friend a name. This very moment that occurs on a daily basis is one of the fundamental issue at debate in this round, whether or not emotional damage is more devastating then physical damage. At the point of the incident, both kids have caused harm to each other, one in the sense of physical and the other in the sense of emotional. But which will have a more lasting effect? It should be clear that the physical damage, the scratch, will heal rapidly(assuming worst case scenarios aside like saying the kid is anemic or contracts a terminal virus from the scratch), but the emotional damage cause by the kid calling another kid a derogatory name has the potential to last for long periods of time. One need only to evaluate ones past and more often then not to realize that people remember the hurt caused by a friends words versus the hurt caused by a friends physical aggression.

With that point stated, I would like to move on to my next point-

2. "The Pen" or words have the ability to start as well as end or prevent conflicts.

Though I make the point that violence is a bad thing in my quote, it is just as easily instigated by words as it is by actions. But violence in and of itself, is incapable of stopping violence. On the other hand, the ability of words to be versatile in this manner makes them far superior to that of violence. Words have the ability to change and create. Words hold the ability to tame the most violent of psychopaths and to aggravate the most calm of pacifists. More often then not, violence is created by words

3. The Pen or words have the ability to educate.

Not only do words have the ability to influence people and conflicts, but they lead to the advancement of mankind. Fighting does not teach you anything other than how to win at fighting. Words on the other hand, have the ability to teach you all the sciences, aspects of the arts and humanities, and communicate with other people in a way that is far more universal than aggression. Let's also take into consideration what makes one successful and powerful in life. Being educated in itself leads to a person being a more powerful individual. I will admit that violence through the form of military force may make one more powerful, but in order to gain that military force, one must be skilled in the art of persuasion and manipulation; basically one must be good with words.

Thus this leads me to my next point...

4. Words can control Violence, but Violence will never control words.

Violence begets violence, and the only way to stop violence for words to resolve the conflict or for those that are in conflict to perish in their violent ways. One need only look to history to realize that violence in the long run fails to suppress words. Important figures such as Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and many others used words to gain what they truly desired, without the use of force. Others used words, not violence to advance the human race to new heights of intellectual thought. Look to the examples of Galileo, Copernicus, Kepler, The Venerable Bede, Albert Einstein, Plato and many, many more that I do not have the time to list. The list goes on and on of people throughout history who used the power of words to accomplish great deeds. And even if force does at the time suppress words, in the long run we see that words prevail.

And so, with these 4 thoughts in mind, I hope that it has become evident that the power and versatility of words absolutely outweighs the power of violence.
LaSalle

Con

My position as Con does not call for me to prove why the sword is mightier than the pen, but rather oppose the resolution that the pen is mightier than the sword. In this round I will refute all four of my opponent's arguments and prove why, according to his reasoning, the pen is not mightier than the sword.

1. My opponent's first example is flawed, to say the least, and I can counter it in two effective ways. First, I can just as easily provide an equal example in which the outcome is the exact opposite. Two kids are fighting on a playground and Child #1 calls the other a derogatory name. Child #2 responds by pushing #1 to the ground and as a result he (#1) lands harshly and winds up causing damage to his spine. Now Child #1 is paralyzed and will not be able to walk for the rest of his life. So who was mightier (caused the most damage/was the most effective) in this example? The "pen" (Child #1) or the "sword" (Child #2)?

Second, my opponent is merely assuming that being teased caused more long-lasting damage to the child than being pushed, even if the fall did only result in a scratch. Instead of quoting some fancy medical journal to prove my point, I ask that the judges recall their own childhood. Surely each of you has been verbally insulted at least once or twice as a kid. Did that sort of rite of passage teasing have a long lasting impact on who you are today? Or is it just nonsense that almost everyone has to deal with at some point or another? Many of us have probably even forgotten all the names that we were ever called throughout our young lives. On the other hand, I bet that each of you still has at least one scar on your body from a wound that was "just a scratch" at one time. Thus in this example, simple name-calling or the use of words to hurt another is not as long lasting as a physical wound.

2. My opponent contests that words are superior to violence because, "violence in and of itself, is incapable of stopping violence." I completely disagree. Take WWII for example. Were Hitler and the Nazi's stopped as a result of peaceful pleas on our behalf? Or was the use of force entirely necessary to end a tyrannical regime?

My opponent also writes, "Words hold the ability to tame the most violent of psychopaths and to aggravate the most calm of pacifists." This is true. But I argue that violence can have the same effect. For instance, if a violent psychopath is tormenting others (eg. domestic violence), it is entirely possible to use violent scare tactics in order to intimidate them into ceasing their behavior. Similarly, even the most calm pacifist is liable to be at LEAST "aggravated" by someone who acts violently towards them. Thus violence in these situations are equally capable as words, and therefore words are not mightier.

Finally on this point, my opponent says, "More often then not, violence is created by words." Again I have to disagree. I believe that violence is created by action. Usually if people are bickering and name-calling, for instance, or using words as weapons, there is a good chance that one or both of these individuals will succumb to the mentality "I will not strike unless I am struck first." In this case, violence is created by violence. However, if one wishes to project that the entire conflict came about because of words, again I will have to disagree. There would usually be some type of specific action or measure taken to lead to the words that can lead to the violence.

For example, Jane kissed my boyfriend so now I'm going to call her names. As a result, she may or may not strike me. But the point is that it was the action of Jane kissing my boyfriend that started the fight, not just random words. On a larger scale, say during time of war, violence also results from a particular action. The main catalyst for WWI for example was the assination of Austria's Archduke Ferdinand. During WWII it was Hitler's invasion of Poland in 1939 that sparked the war, not his bigoted commentary about Jews.

3. I agree that the pen or words have the ability to educate, however, I disagree with my opponent when he says, "Fighting does not teach you anything other than how to win at fighting." On the contrary, "fighting" or physical force can teach you skill, discipline, the usefulness or necessity of war, a way to dominate or control others through physical means (I'm not saying that's a good thing but it is definitely a lesson learned), the effectiveness of using violent torture tactics when questioning enemies, the consequence or punishment for disobeying rules and more.

4. Con's fourth and final point states, "Words can control Violence, but Violence will never control words." First of all it is never a good idea to use the word never. That said, suppose an individual insists on doing something incredibly annoying over and over. One might beg and plead with this person to stop, and they may or may not comply. Another option is for one to simply strike (or even kill?!) this other person in order to get them to stop. Hitting them may or may not work as well. However it is entirely possible (and even probable) that the use of physical violence would be more likely to attain the desired effect than the use of words. Even if it weren't, at best it would produce the same result (the individual choosing to continue their annoying behavior).

So you see, Pro's hope that the evidence of the pen being mightier than the sword is unfulfilled, let alone absolutely apparent. At best, Pro has proven that the pen is equal to the might of the sword, but not greater. On the contrary, I have provided specific examples in which it is entirely possible or even probable than violence is preferable over words in terms of achieving a desired goal.
Debate Round No. 1
Noblethe3rd

Pro

In keeping with the general format, I am going to list my opponents arguments based on the order in which they were presented and in what order they were said.

So to start off with, I would like to draw the judges' attention to her first argument off my first point, which I will label 1.a. and the next 1.b. in hopes of keeping the flow organized.

1. A. The example of the worst case scenario of a playground skirmish. Lets honestly look at this as a worst case scenario. If every fight on the playground left a child a paraplegic then I am sure everyone of us would be in a wheelchair. Its the idea that NOT all, in fact very few, conflicts end in such a crippling action, but yet there very likely the potential for serious harm beyond the physical. What about the situations where no one is shoved or struck, but words are exchanged? Is there not damage done when people exchange harsh words? I find that my opponent's arguments take out the consideration of the mental health of the people involved and only deals with the physical harm. Bones can be mended, scars can disappear with a little help from a bottle of Neosporin, but there is little treatment for the harm dealt to the mind. Just because words to not harm some one physically, does not mean that one is not harmed by them. The long-term emotional damage from verbal conflicts has a substantial effect on things beyond what can be visually seen.

1. B. Her argument about how teasing has no long term effect. Against this I am going to ask the judge the same question. Have words had long term effects on you? Judges, I ask you to consider the idea of who you are today. Do you think that words had no effect in shaping you into who you are today? If you honestly believe that words in the form of teasing or harassment did not influence your life whatsoever then I must say that maybe it has never been considered in retrospect. Words are dealt with on a daily basis, and thus words shape you in ways that are likely not even considered. That was the basis of my argument in the first place, that words have much more long lasting consequences than one realizes.

Next lets go to 2.a., her argument about WWII where "violence solved violence." I must take this time to point out that all though Hitler killed himself in the end, it wasn't violence that pacified the remaining loyal German men, but the fact that treaties were signed, new laws were formed and a different order was established. Violence may have led up to this point, but it was the power of words that eventually quelled and resolved the conflict. So in that sense, violence did not solve violence, it only made it easier for words to solve violence.

On to 2.b. the arguments about the example of the Psychopath and the Pacifist. I agree that violence has the potential to lead to the results my opponent states. BUT it more often then not will never achieve the ends it desires. In the case of the Psychopath, you find there are more stories of murders or people who have done cruel and inhumane things, be educated about their actions and thus feel guilt and remorse or in the least decide to discontinue their present ways. Lets take the example of Attila the Hun. Violence did not quell his actions, but only fueled his desire for power. But it was the words of Pope Leo I that stopped the barbarian from continuing his devastation of Europe. Basically what I am trying to say is that in this situation, words are more successful and thus mightier than violence.

On to 2.c. The argument that "I will not strike unless struck first." In sense, she is agreeing with me here. This example proves my point in that she explains how words explode into violence and only then does violence create violence. The fact is, what caused this conflict and lead to the eventual "violent action"? Words did, because words were being used as a weapon. People steel themselves with powerful and hurtful words more often then violence because words themselves hold sway over the situation. I may be going out on a limb here, but the fact of the matter is that WORDS are controlling the situation. Why do you know you should not randomly attack some one? It is because some one TOLD you not to because it would break rules or laws. Thus words create order. The laws, which were formed by WORDS control and prevent violence and anarchy from breaking loose. I need not prove that words are 100% effective here, but that words do have the power to control violence.

Against 2.d. her example of how actions cause conflict, I would first like to say that again, words are used to prove her point. What I mean is that when situations get out of control and things occur that are not what we desire, we more often then not result to using words instead of violence. When some one scratches your car, do you immediately go out and attempt to physically harm that person? No. More than half the time we use words as the next course of action. We rather talk ourselves out of the anger by venting and complaining, or if we witness the crime we demand answers and may or may not use words to harm at this point. This is something I stated in the beginning of the debate and I find is one of the general themes of my arguments, that words have versatility. But I will elaborate more about that in my closing.

Next lets look at 3.a. The idea that fighting can educate you. I will concede that fighting has the potential to do these things and there is no sense in arguing that it is impossible for some one to learn something from fighting. On the other hand, what I would like the judges to do at this point is weigh in the educational potential of words versus violence. Do you honestly think that we could learn such a wide range of things through violence as we do through words? Pull this idea at the end of the round, judges, for I feel this should be a deciding factor in the whole debate. IF we are to assume that knowledge is power, then which means do we gain more "power" in this sense? Is it through fighting and violence or through words and the variety of forms of education that spring forth from it?

Now let us move to 4.a. the argument "The idea that Words can control violence but Violence can never control words." Ok, so possibly the word never is not appropriate. Allow me to rephrase that in a manner more fitting to the realm of reality. The fact is that words are rarely if ever controlled by violence. Even in the situation of torture, violence is prone to failure simply because the one being tortured still has the ability to lie or withhold the truth. Lets take the example of protesters, them being a perfect example of when words and violence often clash. If you use violence on the protesters, do they give in and say "Ok, you're right, my thoughts, ideas, and words are not worth it anymore"? More often then not, people will die proudly for what they believe in and the fear of violence does not overpower the desire for individuals to express themselves. Thus I see again that violence fails to control words.

Also, my opponent presents the idea about the "possibility" of violence dealing with the problem of some one annoying you. I find this argument should hold no weight either way, for the fact is words just as well as violence has the "possibility" to achieve the end desire.

And so judges, I would like to draw your attention specifically to one key argument of this round. Look to idea of the versatility of words that was only lightly refuted by my opponent. Words have the potential to educate, to harm, to change and to create more things than violence could ever hope to accomplish. Violence has the ability to destroy, to harm or to escalate itself, but never can it solve nearly as many problems nor can it hope to create as much as words can. I find this to be a strong issue for all 3 of you to consider when you weigh in which you find to be mightier.
LaSalle

Con

1 A&B.

I agree with my opponent - MOST fights that occur on the playground will not leave a child paralyzed or seriously physically harmed. However the topic of debate isn't about probability factor or which gets used more often (pen or sword). This debate is about which is MIGHTIER. So even if a child only gets seriously hurt with violence one out of every 1,000,000 times, again I ask which caused MORE damage - the "emotional scarring" of being called a few names, or the reality that one might never walk again. The logical answer is that a child will much more quickly get over being called "stupid" or any other childish slander than they would if they were paralyzed or seriously injured for the long-term as a result of violence.

Also, my opponent is exaggerating the "harm" caused by being teased on the playground as a child. It is true that some people are forever effected by the names they were called in 4th grade, however, I would argue that more often than not that is not the case. Pro points out, "there is little treatment for the harm dealt to the mind." I disagree. What are therapists for? What are parents for? What are principals and teachers for? All of these individuals can and should assist a child in getting over whatever feelings of inferiority they might feel.

I acknowledge that a teacher, for instance, typically does not use violence in trying to get her point across say to a playground bully who verbally terrorizes other students. However this is only true of recent years; as recently as the 50s (up to the 1970s in private schools) corporal punishment was used to keep kids in line during school hours. Since then schools have become less and less safe and students have more discipline problems than ever. Plus, since the 1950s teenage suicide has tripled. It is fair to assume that as teachers lost "physical control" over students that more and more bad seeds began to terrorize other students driving them to suicide. Going back to what I mentioned in a previous round, usually it is an act of violence that sets a feud off... For instance I might not mind so much if someone called me names (sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me), however, I might deem it TOO FAR if someone were to actually use physical violence against me. Thus the power of violence affects me greater than the power of words.

2A.

Pro suggests that it was words, not violence that put an end to WWII after Hitler killed himself. I could not disagree more. It was iminent death (via war and violence) that caused Hitler to commit suicide and ultimately lose the war. As far as the "remaining loyal Germans" go, yes it is true that treaties were signed and that is technically what ended the Nazi regime. My opponent writes, "violence did not solve violence, it only made it easier for words to solve violence." This is completely false. After WWI, words were written and constructed to forbid certain action that would lead to more violence and war (the Treaty of Versailles). However people (Nazi Germany) completely disregarded the restrictions put forth by the treaty and continued to violate its policies causing WWII. They did not concede until they were VIOLENTLY STOPPED through physical force. Thus violence in this case and in most cases has more weight than words.

2B.

My opponent uses the example of Attila the Hun to demonstrate how the power of words supercedes the power of violence. I argue that I can counter this by providing just one example in which violence was used to have the same effect (eg. the murder of Julius Caesar prevented him from invading any more territory). Additionally, history tells us that it may not have been Leo's WORDS that dissuaded Attila but rather the large sum of gold he bestowed upon him in exchange for his mercy. Furthermore, "Other sources of Catholic hagiographical information cite that an enormously huge man dressed in priestly robes and armed with a flaming sword, visible only to Attila, threatened him and his army with death during his discourse with Pope Leo, and this prompted Attila to submit to the Pope's request" (http://saints.sqpn.com...). So ironically, it was a SWORD in this example that actually tamed Atilla.

2C.

This is where the debate gets tricky as my opponent decides to use words vs. violence in a whole other context. Rather than arguing words vs. violence as a means to achieve a desired result, Pro instead begins reminding us that words create laws and whatnot in order to establish the effectiveness of words over violence in society. To an extent I agree with my opponent (how can you not)? After all we would not even be debating right now if it weren't for the usefulness of words. But usefulness is not what we are debating here. We are debating which is MIGHTIER, definition being "showing superior power or strength" (http://dictionary.reference.com...). We are discussing this in relation to achieving a result.

Pro writes, "The laws, which were formed by WORDS control and prevent violence and anarchy from breaking loose." Yes, laws were created by words but WORDS do not uphold these laws. Fear of punishment uphold laws, and punishment does not come in the form of words. Nobody steals from someone and as a result gets called a bunch of names in order to suffice as justice. In this country the use of fines or jail time are used to deter crime; we don't provide counseling or therapy to thieves in order to stop them from stealing the next time around. However in some countries, violence IS used as a form of punishment and absolute deterant. If you look at Muslim countries that regularly practice extreme corporal punishment, and compare their crime rates with ours (keeping in mind that what they consider a "crime" is definitely not how we define the word), you can clearly see the usefulness and effectiveness as violence as a deterant over words.

Finally on this point my opponent says, "I need not prove that words are 100% effective here, but that words do have the power to control violence." At the same token, I need not prove that violence is 100% effective but rather the fact that violence does have the power to control words (eg. "Say that one more time and I'll punch you")... So again, my opponent has maintained why words can be equivical to violence but not mightier.

2D.

Pro argues the versatility of words as opposed to violence. Again I concede that words are used more frequently in our society than violence. However that does not make it MIGHTIER. When violence IS used, it is more effective than words. To reiterate this point, Osama bin Ladin has been bashing the United States for years. But it wasn't until he used violence that we decided to go after him. Thus his violence has had a greater impact than his words.

3A.

Pro states "If we are to assume that knowledge [words] is power, then which means do we gain more "power" in this sense?" True, but Pro is talking about a specific type of power. In another instance, if we take a look at Alexander the Great, for example, was it his WORDS that gave him so much power or the fact that he violently conquered most of Europe?

4A.

Pro says, "More often then not, people will die proudly for what they believe in and the fear of violence does not overpower the desire for individuals to express themselves." If someone is dead, they are silenced even if their message is not. And their message is amplified by the fact that someone VIOLENTLY took their lives. Thus violence in this scenario is again more effective than words.

In conclusion, Pro states, "the fact is words just as well as violence has the 'possibility' to achieve the end desire." Again, I maintain that words are equivical to violence but not mightier.

And finally, consider the fact that the use of violence and weapons are against the law whereas slanderous words are often not... why do you think that is?
Debate Round No. 2
Noblethe3rd

Pro

To keep things brief, I hope to prove that at least on one of these arguments, that words are mightier(possess more strength or power) than violence.

1. Lets take into consideration this debate about probability. My opponent's argument revolves around the worst case scenario of a child being physically impaired because of a scuffle. Her argument about my "over-exaggeration" of the harm has no ground when her argument as well is based on exaggerating the harm towards the most depressing possible outcome. Well if we are going to deal in worst case scenarios, then I too shall suggest my own worst case scenario. Take a child, who is constantly harassed and belittled on a daily basis by his peers all his childhood. From that point on he is demoralized, anti-social and beats himself up mentally whenever he fails and when he works with others. His mental health goes down the toilet as he plays mind games with himself until the point where he goes clinically insane and loses touch with reality. In all actuality this should balance out our arguments and thus judges should not consider this a major issue in the long run because it is obvious that both words and violence have the potential to do incredible harm.

At this point, I would like to discuss the "Lack of teacher discipline = loss of control" argument. First off, the argument has no backing to the outrageous claims it makes. It provides no evidence to prove that children are more out of control now then they were 50 years ago. Second, even if you believe her claims, there are far too many outside factors to consider when explaining why children may be more out of control then in the past. I mean there is widespread drug use, pop culture influences that express rebellious attitudes, poor parenting, overcrowding in schools leading to an inability of teachers to maintain classroom, etc. Do not be so quick to assume that just because there may be increased problems in schools that a lack of discipline is the primary cause or even a substantial cause. I ask the judges to disregard this argument for there is little evidence for such bold claims.

2A.
All I can say is "What? Imminent death?" Seriously, the likelihood that he would have been killed on the spot is outrageous. Most likely he would have been convicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity, where he would be humiliated and have to serve a punishment for his actions. Violence wasn't what he was afraid of, otherwise he wouldn't have killed himself. If I am not mistaken, taking one's life is a form of violence. And even if you want to consider Hitler killing himself as the "end of WWII" have you to realize that the fighting did not stop when he died. There were still factions of loyal Nazis that put up resistance against the Allies and thus you see that violence did not end the conflict in its entirety like Con claims.

Secondly, I would like to point out the flaw in my opponents arguments. She claims that words "failed" with the Treaty of Versailles. The fact is, if you hold Pro by those standards, you must also hold Con to them as well. What I mean is that if you claim words failed to prevent WWII then violence as well failed to prevent WWII.

My final argument against this point is the idea that words do not solve conflicts. So the ending of WWII is debatable whether words or violence truly solved it. But here are 3 conflicts in recent American history that WERE solved by words. Korea - a stalemate ensued after years of fighting and fighting could have continued if not for negotiations. Vietnam - The US could have continued waging war in the jungles of Vietnam but the words of the President to pull out troops(which by the way, his actions were strongly influenced by the WORDS of the people). Cuban Missile Crisis - Cuba was gaining nuclear weaponry from the Soviets and violence wasn't going to stop them from using them. What ultimately ended all these conflicts? Words. Like I have stated before, words have the power to control violence.

2B.
Wait, let me get this straight. Are you trying to say that because Caesar was murdered he could no longer conquer and destroy? Well it is true that while he was dead he couldn't lead armies anymore, but that doesn't mean that violence was stopped, in fact that lead to more and more violence. I don't see how this proves the point that violence can control violence. The only way violence controls violence is through death, but that doesn't mean that the action of murder doesn't cause more violence. Its an endless cycle and to be blunt nothing can stop that cycle but words. Off the Attila argument, all I ask is that the judge take a serious look at the arguments claims. I find little or no reason to believe that argument to hold any weight simply because of the absurdity of the statement. Also, do you think that the leader of the Huns would be frightened by a big guy with a flaming sword? Lets be honest here, Con, do you really think that is what persuaded him to negotiate peace?

2C.I see that the definition of "mightier" has been called into question at this point. What I do not see is how by that definition I have been arguing this debate all wrong. Have I not been trying to prove the power and strength of words? Have not my explanations of words are used not achieving a result? I would also like to clarify the fact is that all I must do is convince you that Words are mightier(more power or strength)than violence.

2D.After reading this, I would like to focus the attention of the judges on the fact that my opponent concedes to the idea that words are more versatile. Like I stated before, words have the ability to create, to harm, to destroy, to help, to educate and many other things that I don't have the space to list. To me, words versus violence in this situation is like poker. Violence MAY have the Ace in some situations, BUT words are like a pair. It doesn't matter that words may be a pair of 2s or a pair of kings, they trump the single ace. By having all the mentioned ways words can be used, you have to consider that each one in itself has its own power and own strengths.

3a.Judges, keep in mind the knowledge is power argument. Why did Alexander the Great prove to be a successful commander? Knowledge. Where did he get that knowledge? Education. How is one educated? WORDS. In the end, I find that all the advantages and strengths of violence that is in any way, shape, or form organized or thought out has in some way words to grant it it's power. The simple fact is, the versatility of words to educate and strengthen violence.

4a.I would like to point out that even if you buy the interpretation that violence inflated the power of words, you must take into consideration that STILL words are not being overpowered by violence, but in turn using violence as a means to strengthen themselves. Again, we see the versatility of words in action.

I know it probably seems odd to attack my opponents conclusion, but the fact is the statement she highlights and focuses on is taken out of context and argues only the part in which she can lodge a actually argument against. Read my previous conclusion in its fullness to understand the argument.

For my closing arguments judges, I want you to look at all the examples that the Con provides where she tries to prove that violence is more powerful then words and you will find that both have their advantages and disadvantages. Violence or words may solve certain situations more effectively, depending on the situation(Though I believe I provide more examples where words are more effective, it is ultimately up to the judges to decide this). But I want the judges to focus on the argument of versatility and consider that each of the various abilities of words is in itself a strength. The fact that words possess more strengths in the form of various uses, than violence should prove that the Pen is mightier than the Sword.
LaSalle

Con

1A. My opponent opens up this round by conceding that his first example of words causing more damage than violence in the instance of a playground fight is flawed, and cannot be logically argued to prove his point. He notes that in this scenario the power of words is equal to the power of violence in the sense that either can be used to damage another, and depending on the situation one can be more harmful than the next. This result of a "tie" is important to keep in mind for the remainder of the debate.

1B. I'd like to address his next point linking a lack of corporal punishment in schools to behavioral patterns in society. Perhaps Pro misunderstood; my intention was to note that the lack of physical punishment not only in schools but also in the home is (not all, but) partially to blame for the current societal issue of bad behavior in schools. Indeed Pro agrees that parenting issues are a cause for improper school conduct.

Additionally, Pro cites the media and other references of pop culture as a source of children's behavior. In that case, it is easy for me to point out that violence is portrayed in the media in addition to words, yet the theme of violence seems to always prevail and get more attention. This is because violence is sensationalized and explicit. Consider video game popularity to prove my point. Some of the most popular video games today as cited on top 10 lists include Grand Theft Auto 4, Resident Evil 4 and God of War. Family Media Guide notes, "this year, some of the most ultraviolent video games ever created are being made available." Obviously violence is very scandalous and therefore exciting to the children of our society, hence drawing them towards the genre (as opposed to games like Scrabble, Wheel of Fortune, etc) and Pro admits that it is the forces of pop culture that contribute to some of the negative aspects of today's youth.

2A. All of Pro's points here are spent addressing his opinion of what ended WWII and something about Hitler and blah blah blah. What does that have to do with his argument? Nothing. The fact remains that he simply cannot argue that words put an end to WWII (or any war for that matter). Because WWII has already been introduced as an example, I'll put it this way... When Hitler began breaking the conditions of the Treaty of Versailles and disobeying (written) rules put in place in order to deter a second world war, leaders from other nations warned him to heed. Some even begged him to stop. But Hitler did not stop. He did not respond to people's pleas or threats. Rather it was the use of PHYSICAL VIOLENCE that put an end to his regime. Pro can argue all he wants that words ended WWII. But words did not prevent the war and words did not end the war.

Now if Pro wants to get technical (which apparently he does) and state that it was a TREATY or verbal/written agreements that ended the war, then fine. But the words that ended the war had absolutely no value without the violence that instigated the truce. Had not we physically stopped our enemy, they never would have just "given up" and given in to our demands. It was our violent attack that forced them to concede. So at best (and that's being generous) I will note that again this point ends in a tie. It also answers his 4A point.

2B. My opponent says, "the only way violence controls violence is through death" which is untrue. For instance say two deaf people who don't speak engage in a physical dispute. Person #1 strikes Person #2 and #2 falls to the ground obviously hurt. Person #1 used violence to achieve his desired result. After his accomplishment he decides to walk away. This is an example of violence controlling violence without the use of words.

In a historical context, similar types of scenarios existed between warring peoples. Consider warring tribes who fought over land, food or money. It is pretty obvious to each clan why they would be fighting each other without the exchange of dialog. If these two groups fought each other and one group blatantly triumphed over the other, obviously the losing side would retreat and the fight would be solved/ended without any necessary use of words.

In response to my attack of the Atilla the Hun example, I am not surprised that my opponent responded so passionately. I too would have been embarassed had my own example come back to bite me. He tries to be clever here when he asks, "Lets be honest here, Con, do you really think that [a flaming sword] is what persuaded him to negotiate peace?" No, I don't. I think it was the gold - the money - that Pope Leo gave Atilla that convinced him to have mercy on the people. But what does that have to do with the pen being mightier than the sword? Nothing. All it does is prove that money is mightier than the pen in this case...

2C. My opponent points out, "I would also like to clarify the fact is that all I must do is convince you that Words are mightier(more power or strength)than violence." Yes, that is all you have to do, Pro. But unfortunately you have not been sucessful with that throughout this entire debate...

2D. I have already agreed that words are more versatile than violence; my argument is that they are not mightier. Now I have noticed a loophole to this theory, however, my opponent has not pointed it out and therefore it cannot be weighed in the decision. In fact all he has done is compare words and violence to a game of poker here in which he states that violence is an Ace and words are like a pair. Good analogy, except for the fact that it doesn't make any sense. For instance Pro doesn't explain WHY words are a pair and count for 2 cards whereas violence only counts for 1 card. In that case I disagree that words are 2 cards and I will provide my own example: Violence is an Ace and words are some other random card in the deck. Whatever the card may be, say a King, it will not overpower or trump that Ace. In fact the best case scenario for my opponent is that the random card was also an Ace, which it very well might be. But an Ace doesn't beat an Ace; they are of EQUAL value... like the pen and the sword are of equal value.

3A. In terms of Alexander the Great, Pro attempts to argue that words were the most important aspect of education. I disagree. Alex had to learn and be educated on warfare, fighting techniques, etc. in order to command the most powerful army of that time. Words are important but during that day and age the value and significance of words was MUCH less than it is today.

For instance Alexander's teacher could have told him that he presided over the weakest army of all time and that to attempt to conquer other peoples would be a huge mistake. Of course that was not true, but neither the teacher nor Alexander could prove otherwise without the actual action and presence of fighting in order to know a definite truth. This is not so with all scenarios, especially in modern day society. However my point is that there are other aspects of education in addition to words...

In conclusion, violence is more harmful than words. I can say "I want you to die" but would you actually die from that statement? No. However if I shot you in the head, you would probably die. In fact the likelihood that you would die from someone violently attacking you as opposed to damning you with words is pretty obvious...

I would also like to point out that my opponent did not address my question regarding legalities. I had asked if words were mightier than violence, howcome violent behavior/attacks against others are outlawed whereas we have freedom of speech? He failed to address this very important point.

I would like to end this debate by re-stating my stance against the resolution. I maintain that the pen is NOT mightier than the sword; at best they are of EQUAL value and often go hand in hand (eg. ending a war). However in this debate I have even given more examples to prove how violence is mightier than words...
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Derek.Gunn 8 years ago
Derek.Gunn
Read the first senctence of the debate.
Think of history; if you know much, you're going to vote Pro.
Posted by d-bate241 8 years ago
d-bate241
Read Animal Farm, and when Napolean kicks off Snowball, Napolean is sword and Snowball is pen
Posted by Anonymous 8 years ago
Anonymous
Heres a pen.

Hold on, let me grab a sword...

Ok, you wanna fight?
8 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Vote Placed by Derek.Gunn 8 years ago
Derek.Gunn
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Vote Placed by Noblethe3rd 8 years ago
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