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The Pen is Mightier than the Sword

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/17/2012 Category: Society
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,610 times Debate No: 25163
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (8)
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True, This! -
Beneath the rule of men entirely great,
The pen is mightier than the sword. Behold
The arch-enchanters wand! - itself a nothing! -
But taking sorcery from the master-hand
To paralyse the Caesars, and to strike
The loud earth breathless! - Take away the sword -
States can be saved without it!

- From Richelieu; Or the Conspiracy, By Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1839

Resolution: That the use of diplomacy, politics, writing, etc. (the pen) is a better means of solving conflict than violence and physical warfare (the sword).

  • Rd 1 is for acceptance,
  • Rd 2 & 3 for arguments and rebuttals,
  • Rd 4 for conclusions and any final rebuttals, no new points.
  • The burden of proof is shared, Pro will argue fro the resolution and con must argue for the opposite.
  • Please respect the intentions of the debate, in other words, don't be a smart arse, it's no fun.
  • 72 hours to argue and 6000 character limit
  • Any type of conflict may be used as an example, from playground bullying to WWII
  • Any historical or real life examples must have sources.

Definitions for this debate:

better:of superior suitability, advisability, desirability, acceptableness, etc.; preferable :a better time for action

solve: Find an answer to, explanation for, or means of effectively dealing with

conflict: A serious disagreement or argument


Challenge accepted, but even you know yourself obi-wan things still require "aggressive negotiations" from on point to another.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you too my opponent for accepting this debate, and for his touch of wit.

This debate is a personal take on the classic adage, The pen is mightier than the sword. As pro, I will prove to you that peaceful, diplomatic methods are a more effective and desirable way of dealing with conflict than physical confrontation.

There are many examples of where diplomacy has been used to solve solutions that conflict simply could not. One famous example of this being the Cuban Missile Crisis. While I believe it is important to cite history when trying to prove any point, be it in a debate or not, I will be leaving this element of my arguments until round two. Before I begin to use concrete evidence I would like to first of all establish the more philosophical side of my arguments as this will provide a sound foundation to be build upon later on.

The one thing above all else, that we as human beings need to accomplish more than anything is the preservation of human life. The more actively this goal is pursued, the more we are able to pursue the rest of man kinds great interests, such as exploring uncharted space, find new and exotic particles, building strong economies and maintaining social a vast social web and means of interactions.

The urge for self preservation is one thing that everyone on this planet can share in. We are all selfish beings at heart and many aim to protect themselves from harm. While we may start out believing this, or at least experience it at one point or another in our existence, it must also be said, for the purpose of fairness, that when person dedicates their life so that another may benefit it is one of the most touching acts that any living being can do for another.

However In 1796 Thomas Jefferson sent a letter to Thomas Paine which contained the following passage: "Go on doing with your pen what in other times was done with the sword." [1]
We have, in the last few centuries, reached a point where human sacrifice no longer requires violence, but instead involves the dedication of the mind to ones ordeals. Thomas Paine inspired more people to join together and may their cries for freedom be heard, with the use of pen and paper than he ever would have been able to with a sword in his hand. [2]
The views of the world post-renaissance was changing. No longer was brute force or senseless violence the way to resolve disputes. With the invention of the printing press came the ability for greater numbers of people to access information that had once only been available to scholars. A cultural shift took place during the renaissance. True human achievement was celebrated not as glory on the battlefield but as wonderful works of art or new scientific ideas.

As the human race has become more civilised have realised that true achieving comes through the mind (in the form of art, literature and science) and through incredible feats of the body (you only had to watch the London Olympics to see this demonstrated) and not through the act of killing or violence as a means for resolving disputes. To put it more simply, the human race, as a whole, has grown up. We are now much too intelligent to squander our energy on violence, when we are able to resolve matters through communication and diplomatic means.

While this quote from Jefferson provides us with an insight into how the outlook of fighting may have changed amongst the higher order thinkers of the world it may fail to have relevance to all people on the globe. I assure you that spread of diplomacy is relevant to all aspects of human life.

To do this I would like to provide a simple anecdote. Imagine one child has accused another of stealing his last cookie. The second child says that he didn't but the first child does not believe him so they come to blows in the schoolyard and must be separated by a concerned teacher. This outburst of violence has accomplished nothing. The students return to class that afternoon and both tell their respective friends about it. Resentment build between the two camps until the whole class is involved in a two sides war, although everyone has now forgotten what the original fight was about. Spitballs and paperplanes fly around the classroom, no one gets any work done (except of course for the Swiss exchange student) and fights are a common occurrence at lunchtime, although the fighting solves nothing.

Now let us go back a week. After the first child tells the second he does not believe his innocence the second child decides to tell his teacher what has happened. The teacher then sits both students down and they talk it out, realising that it was infact a third class member who stole the cookie. Feeling guilty about what has happened the third student decides to bake the entire class cookies to make up for it and they continue on a happier and still fully functioning class thanks to the diplomatic solution.

So as you can see, violence is not the answer, no matter who you are, from Thomas Jefferson to an average school student, we can all reap the rewards of peaceful, diplomatic and logical solutions to conflict. The human race has come to far in its cultural evolution to still hold a need for violence. We are an intelligent race and, as such, must seek intelligent resolutions to our problems as they will provide the most benefits for all parties involved.



joshuaXlawyer forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Unfortunately Con has forfeited this round of the debate. It can happen to the best of us.

I was intending to use this round to further pursue my argument, however If Con does not return then I do not want to waste my time. I carry my arguments through from the previous round. As they are unchallenged my burden of proof is still fulfilled.


joshuaXlawyer forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Unfortunately this debate is over, vote pro or don't vote at all.


I encourage people to vote for pro due to me being absent due to illness, those who look forward to a debate on the subject I will make offer obi and rematch this time not being absent. Thank you and Deepest apologies.
Debate Round No. 4
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by ObiWan 4 years ago
That's ok I understand! I'm in a couple of debates at the moment and have a bit of school work, so give me a week or so and I will send you a rematch :)
Posted by joshuaXlawyer 4 years ago
Damnit can I rematch this I been out do to an illness.?
Posted by McBraas 4 years ago
Oh, I am looking forward to this
Posted by yuiru 4 years ago
It seems like you have a mightier position in this debate...
Posted by ObiWan 4 years ago
apologies, I meant to make it 4, i guess it must have slipped my mind.
Posted by THEBOMB 4 years ago
If you add another round, I'll take this :)
Posted by imabench 4 years ago
you framed it for four rounds but only made it three.....
Posted by Nur-Ab-Sal 4 years ago
I always thought "is mightier" meant "is more powerful" raher than "is better means of solving problems"...
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