2010 – Most Philosophical 5th Grader in America :

Joey Farber, New York.

Is the Pen Mightier than the Sword?

The Small, The Mighty, The Pen

Although the pen represents peace and writing, the pen also represents not using the sword. When others are fighting and using the sword, the man who stands back and controls himself uses the pen best. One of the men who has done this best is Martin Luther King Jr. he will prove to you that the pen is mightier than the sword.

Throughout history, the pen proved to be a wise choice over the sword. Martin Luther King Jr. is a great example of this. Segregation was with him his whole life. But unlike others of his era, he restrained himself and used not the sword, but the pen. In his case, as an orator, he used his voice. He thought about segregation, told people about it, and convinced others of how he felt about it. He felt that although we shouldn’t fight, we need to make it clear that segregation is unacceptable. Not only did Martin Luther King Jr. convince others to how he felt about segregation, but he also convinced them to use the pen, not the sword. He would agree with me because he never fought, he used his mind, and that’s using the pen. In the present day, laws are also a good example of using the pen over the sword. The government makes laws so that there’s no confusion. If the police were allowed to just make the decision on the spot of whether or not what just happened was a crime, they would get nowhere. It would be chaos, and like Thomas Hobbes once said, “Humans would prefer tyranny over chaos.” Making a simple law would prevent all of that. It would also prevent the police fighting with the so-called “criminal.” In other words, having no laws would just lead to more violence. In this case, laws would represent the pen, and having no laws would represent the sword because of what it would lead to. Martin Luther King Jr. wasn’t the only man to use the pen over the sword, and government isn’t the only society to do so. You could write a large list of those names and groups that used the pen, but don’t forget the philosophers.

Time and time again, philosophers have chosen the pen over the sword. Take Edmund Burke for example, the father of modern day conservatism. He believed that some people are naturally good and some naturally bad. So if someone does a bad thing, don’t use the sword, and remember that they are bad naturally, and that’s their nature. You’ve just got to accept it. That that’s the way it’s going to be. He would agree with me because instead of punishing someone severely because he did a bad thing, just put up with him because that’s the way he’s going to be. That’s using the pen. If there were a bad person in Edmund Burke’s community, he wouldn’t hurt them, because they are naturally bad. But he also wouldn’t just let the bad person do what he wanted. He would make a law that would say that if the person violated one of those rules or regulations, that person would be imprisoned. Another good example of using the pen, not the sword is the Stoics. They were one of the four schools of Philosophy from the Hellenistic Age. They believed that everything is guided by reason. So if something bad happens, or if you get mad, don’t fight back, use reason. The Stoics would agree with me that the pen is mightier than the sword because the pen is thinking, and they always used reason. I know some of you may disagree that the pen is mightier than the sword, so I’ll explain.

When you really think about it, the pen can do no wrong, if you use it wisely. Some of you may be thinking, “Of course the sword can overpower the pen,” and you are right, but only at the spur of the moment. If you use the pen before that, the sword can’t even come into action. For example, if someone knew he was going to get in a street fight, and he didn’t want to, but didn’t do anything about it, the street fight would come. As he was in it, he couldn’t try to talk about it, as he would get nowhere. However, if he thought about a way to get out of the fight before then, he wouldn’t be worrying anymore because he wouldn’t be in the fight in the first place. As Terry Pratchett said, “The pen is mightier than the sword if the sword is short and the pen is sharp.” Meaning if the pen is sharp, you use the exact words and phrases you would like, at the precise moments you wish. If you speak wisely, the sword can never be as sharp, and is no match for the pen.

The people who are wise enough to use the pen have it “sharpened” at all times. The pen makes you giving and flexible, while wielding the sword makes you greedy and unforgiving. Writing is more powerful than violence.


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