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DEBATE FINAL. Phoenix V BlackJackal: Pen is Mightier

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posted on Jul, 25 2004 @ 08:55 PM
The topic for this debate is "The pen is mightier than the sword."

Phoenix will be arguing for this proposition and will open the debate.
BlackJackal will argue against this proposition.

Each debator will have one opening statement each. This will be followed by 3 alternating replies each. There will then be one closing statement each and no rebuttal.

No post will be longer than 800 words and in the case of the closing statement no longer than 500 words. In the event of a debator posting more than the stated word limit then the excess words will be deleted by me from the bottom. Credits or references at the bottom count towards the word total.

Editing is Strictly forbidden. This means any editing, for any reason. Any edited posts will be completely deleted.

Excluding both the opening and closing statements only one image or link may be included as part of the argument in each post. This does not include references, no more than 5 of which can be included at the bottom of each post. Opening and closing statements must not contain any images or links in the argument, and must have no more than 3 references.

As a guide responses should be made within 24 hours, If the debate is moving forward then I have a relaxed attitude to this. However, if people are consistently late with their replies, they will forfeit their replies and possibly the debate.

Judging will be done by an anonymous panel of 11 judges. After each debate is completed it will be locked and the judges will begin making their decision. Results will be posted by me as soon as a majority (6) is reached.

This debate is now open, good luck to both of you. The winner claims the title of ATS debate champion.

Oh also, no Celebrity Jeopardy gags.

posted on Jul, 26 2004 @ 08:22 PM
Welcome BlackJackal my opponent for this championship debate. Thanks to the Judges and Spectators. Special thanks to Kano for his work organizing the debates.

"The pen is mightier than the sword"

Yes... the lowly pen. An instrument not given much thought as we go about our daily business. We don’t think twice about misplacing them, chewing on them, or (for that matter) accidentally borrowing someone else’s pen... never to be seen again by that person.

That simple pen has, within it, unimaginable power.

Yes, that lowly unappreciated pen in your pocket, or on your desk, has the power to change everything – one only has to pick it up and wield it as many others have done before.

The pen is a simple instrument with the power to communicate ideas with an epoch- defying and never-ending strength that cannot be denied by the sword of repression.

Of course the “pen” is an allegory for ideas, communication, discovery and freedom.
The “sword” is an allegory for repression, war, destruction and force of will.

Positive vs. Negative, Good vs. Evil, Truth vs. Falsehood, Education vs. Ignorance, Moral vs. Immoral – these are the battlegrounds of the mighty pen.

Despots and dictators recognizing the power of the pen have even tried to subjugate its magical ability to sway the masses through the use of propaganda. Hussein, Hitler, Lenin, Stalin and countless others all throughout man’s history have attempted and failed to usurp the power of the pen. The pen as an instrument of truth will not tolerate long its use to spread lies. Alas, this truth the despots and dictators never understood.

Despots and dictators alike always revert to the beguiling, crude and temporary use of the sword only to suffer ultimate defeat in the war of ideas documented by the pen.

Even that great sage of warfare, Sun Tzu, knew this to be true and had these prescient words to say long before others made the error of using the sword as a tool to sway ideas.

Sun Tzu,

“Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.”


“Therefore the skillful leader subdues the enemy's troops without any fighting; he captures their cities without laying siege to them; he overthrows their kingdom without lengthy operations in the field.”

Sun Tzu’s words point out that true and righteous belief (the power of the pen) to sway opposition to ones views is a superior victory, and that the use of the sword is a failure in ideology.

Imagine a world where the power of ideas, the power of the pen, did not prevail over the sword. Take yourself back to the Middle Ages where the power of the church was backed by the sword. A time when Kings and kingdoms existed in fear of Rome and the Pope, the time of discoverers like Galileo.

Pope Paul V and the Cardinals of the inquisition condemned Copernican theory in which Galileo had based his findings. If there had not been a change in Popes soon after, and that Pope had been as close minded as Paul V, then history may have been quite a bit different with other discoveries delayed by the withholding of Galileo’s works. The power of the pen combined with Galileo’s sharp intellect won over the day.

Wars, if fought at all, demonstrate the failures of the sword when favored over the pen.
War, is itself, a failure of conviction in ideas that are miss-communicated by the weak minded and feeble... falling back on the all too handy but seductive sword.

Some have shown promise in modern times. Witness Reagan’s gambit of using economic intelligence combined with the fear of a “star wars” system to hasten the collapse of the Soviet Union without firing a shot (true to the power of the pen and Sun Tzu’s words written centuries earlier).

The subject “The pen is mightier than the sword” is intriguing in its breadth. Potentially covering all recorded history and works of the human mind but I think it can be condensed down to its elements successfully showing that the pen is indeed the mightier instrument when allegorically compared to the sword.

In this debate, I intend to demonstrate the power of the pen, by covering the various and vast battlegrounds in which it has been used.

The pen is an instrument of truth. It can even be compared to one of its modern equivalents, AboveTopSecret, in that both strive for knowledge and truth - even though controversial. And both (the pen and AboveTopSecret) have been victims of attempted suppression by those that would profit from lies, deceit, and the “sword.”

Over to you BlackJackal and good luck in this debate contest.


795 Words

posted on Jul, 27 2004 @ 08:16 PM
Firstly, I would like to salute the contestants in this tournament for they all are accomplished debaters. Secondly, an obeisance is due for phoenix is an extremely talented fighter deserving of the respect. Good luck!

“The pen is mightier than the sword”

Many reading this debate may believe that I am in a no win situation because I am arguing against a truism. On the contrary, this statement is in fact only a delusion of the reality in which we live. To fully understand this concept it is imperative to discover the roots of the statement itself.

These words were first penned in 1839 by the English novelist Edward George Bulwer Lytton. However, as often is the case, the whole truth is lost in the slow passage of time. The original quote as penned by Lytton is as follows:

Beneath the rule of men entirely great, the pen is mightier than the sword

For the pen to truly be mightier than the sword a world must exist in which all men, friends or foes, listen to the gentle inscription of the pen for the common good. In such a world anything could be solved through diplomacy, laws, and discussion. Yet, the annals of history have never recorded such an era of entirely great men.

We deceive ourselves into believing that such a world can exist yet, this is not our reality and it never will be. In this world the pen is only effective if the audience is willing to listen. In our reality, as much as we may despise it, the sword is the prime mover of the world. The true power of the sword lies in the action it represents.

The success of the pen is nothing but a façade for the fear of the sword. Laws that are not enforced are as worthless as the paper upon which they are written. Declarations hold zero value if no action follows. Resolutions are empty if not enforced. The sword gives birth to the effectiveness of the pen. The pen can inspire nations to a common goal but it is the action of the sword that brings resolution.

The scope of this topic leaves me with great liberty of time and dimension upon which to discuss. Despite this extensiveness the sword is still the victor no matter how great or small the arena.

Examples on a large scale include: Since the dawn of mankind swords have been used to form and defeat countries. Swords have been used by the oppressed to throw down tyrants. Right or not swords have also been used to spread religion. The face of earth has been shaped and reshaped many times by the edge of the sword.

Examples of a small scale include: If an intruder breaks into your house will you wield your Mount Blanc penning an eloquent dissertation asking the assailant to cease and desist? Or will you brandish your .44 magnum and do your best rendition of Dirty Harry? Which is more effective or in this case which is totally ineffective?

Ronald Reagan would have never been successful in the overthrow of the Soviet Union if it had not been for the fear of the sword. Reagan could have used as much rhetoric and economic pressure he wanted but if it had not been for our nuclear arsenal the US would not have stayed in the cold war long enough to make a difference. The fear of the sword, and the knowledge that the US has used the sword in the past, is what allowed penmanship to win the cold war.

While we all wish to live in a world governed by the wholly just, free of wars, and filled with harmony the actuality is humanity has not evolved to this epoch. Possibly at some point in the future humans will all work together and respect one another but for the present and the past we are still too divided. Additionally, the past has shown us no hope for change in the future. All Humans have their own set of priorities in which they believe to be the most important, causing deaf ears to fall upon the pen of those you might disagree with.

This strength of the sword causes the change in this world. We may sugar coat things from time to time and give the credit to the pen but the sword is always in the background. By itself the pen cannot win independence; it cannot inscribe freedom, and cannot correct wrongdoings. The action the sword gives is needed to accomplish change.

Succinctly, the sword is the dominating force of this world and the pen is but the sharpening stone.


posted on Jul, 28 2004 @ 08:04 PM
A carpenter had a vision to build a house on a hill.

The carpenter used his hammer day and night until a beautiful home was complete. Townspeople came from near and far to admire his work. Unbeknownst to the carpenter a very jealous and envious farmer lived nearby. When the carpenter left home to do some distant work the jealous farmer tore the carpenters house down with his hammer. Seeing this, the townspeople came together and helped the carpenter rebuild his beautiful home. Thereafter, the townspeople watched the carpenter’s house while he was away, making sure the jealous farmer stayed far away from the carpenter’s house.

In the short story above the carpenter used his hammer as a tool to accomplish his vision.
Likewise, the jealous farmer used his hammer as a tool to destroy something that he did not have the vision to create.

In both cases, however, the hammer did not create nor destroy the carpenter’s original vision of a beautiful house on the hill. The hammer was an inanimate tool with no power of its own accord. It took a carpenter’s vision or a farmer’s envy (first and foremost) to cause any action whatsoever. The hammer held no vision or enmity of its own until wielded by a person with ideas either positive or negative.

Because the carpenter’s vision of a beautiful house on the hill brought positive change to the community the townspeople had no qualms allying themselves in support of the carpenter.

Now substitute countries in place of the carpenter, farmer and townspeople. Substitute the sword in place of the hammer. The sword is a tool subservient to mans ideological beliefs as represented allegorically by the pen in the statement; “the pen is mightier than the sword”.

BlackJackal even agrees when he said; “the pen can inspire nations to a common goal but it is the action of the sword that brings resolution”, does one need any clearer statement proving the swords subservience to ideology?

In this debate no one can claim the sword is not useful as tool. My claim is that the sword is a useless tool in the face of self-evident ideology that any reasonable person would follow.

For examples where the sword has been shown to be a useless tool, lets start with four entirely great men and their corresponding movements that have shown hope for change in the future.

1. Jesus of Nazareth: Christianity
2. Mahatma Ghandi: Pacifistic movement that gains India’s independence.
3. Martin Luther King: Civil Rights Movement in USA.
4. Nelson Mandela: Apartheid government of South Africa capitulates.

Three of the men named above stand as proof of the sword’s inability to oppress the will of positive ideology by the very fact that their achievements still stand in the face of violent assassinations by those wielding swords in fear of the ideas promoted by these great men. It is self evident that the pen did in fact prevail over the sword, it only takes morally strong people believing in the wrongs of injustice to change the world.

BlackJakal has implied that the pen is a utopian ideal to strive for but that the sword prevails when it comes to the issue of real power. My opponent could not be more wrong in his assertion. Let me point out others, who have erroneously shared this belief in the false power of the sword:

1. Napoleon Bonaparte attempts subjugation of European continent, England and
Russia. Napoleon dies powerless and imprisoned on the Island of St Helena in 1821.
2. Hitler attempts subjugation of Europe, Russia and North Africa. Hitler commits suicide on eve of final defeat.
3. Stalin subverts Soviet Union with terror campaign killing millions of his own people in the process. Thirty-six years after Stalin’s death the Soviet Union collapses in ideological and economic decay.
4. Pol Pot massacres millions of fellow Cambodians in an effort to indoctrinate the
country in Khmer Rouge beliefs. After 19 years of exile in the jungles of the
Thailand-Cambodian border area, Pol Pot died.

These men shared an ideology based on one or more of these negative motives: evilness, greed, genocide, falsehood, ignorance and immorality which they then translated into the use of the sword as a means to an end that was unachievable. Use of the sword has been proven by history to falter against the power of the pen (ideals).

The sword is a useful tool when used for just causes supported by goodness, morality, truth and education. Backed by these ideals the sword helps the pen prevail but this can never happen in reverse because people of ideals will not stand for it over time. The sword in and of itself holds no lasting power over people’s ideas – never has... never will.

Over to you BlackJackal

800 Words

posted on Jul, 29 2004 @ 07:43 PM

My claim is that the sword is a useless tool in the face of self-evident ideology that any reasonable person would follow.

This statement simply backs up my argument. The masses are not reasonable. The Nazi’s believed themselves to be reasonable. Terrorist’s believe themselves to be reasonable. White supremacists believe themselves to be reasonable. Reason is relative to the individual thus, the pen is powerless to influence everyone whereas the sword can touch one and all.

Jesus- Christianity would be nothing is Jesus did not bear the sword. Christianity hinges upon Jesus fighting Satan and Death returning from the grave victorious(Revelation 1:18). This action not written word united the disciples who were, disorganized, in denial, sorry for themselves mourners, into men energized to immediate post-resurrection evangelism that gave birth to the Christian Church. Also Christianity was spread at sword point during the Crusades.

Mahatma Ghandi- His civil disobedience was but one of the many spokes in the wheel of Indian independence. The main causes of independence were the Sepoy Mutiny and the British weakening due to WWI and WWII all of which actions of the sword.

Martin Luther King- Again but a part of the whole. When President Kennedy voiced putting civil rights legislation through to Congress it was first met with apprehension. It was not until after he was assassinated the people rallied behind the cause leading to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. If he had not been assassinated who knows how long it would have taken the American people to listen to the cause of civil rights. Also the civil rights movement was not entirely civil remember Malcolm X, The Black Panthers, and the Black Liberation Army.

Nelson Mandela- Realizing peaceful actions alone would not remove apartheid in 1961 he led the Umkhonto we Sizwe into plans for guerilla war.[1]

Phoenix is attempting to polarize the pen into all that is good and the sword into evil. The pen and the sword are but tools which both can be used for either good or evil.

Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot all have been recorded by history as evil. However, if Hitler was not defeated by the sword of the Allies would he still be regarded as evil? If the Battle of Waterloo was the beginning of Napoleon’s European domination and not the end would he still have an unsavory place in history? If the USSR had won the cold war would Stalin be regarded as evil? Understand the pen is only capable of recording the actions of the sword it cannot create real change. The ideals the pen has whispered through time would be much different if any of these men were successful in wielding their swords.

Also, was it the pen that stopped these men? Obviously not, the pen was incapable at slowing Hitler’s march across Europe. The pen could not halt Pol Pot’s killing fields. The pen did not prevent Stalin’s murder of millions. The sword was the only force that could impede these men. Ultimately, the sword carves the world while the pen awaits enslavement by the victor in the battle of swords.

The US Declaration of Independence was a proclamation of freedom from British rule. However, this work of pen did not grant the US the independence it proclaimed. For that Americans had to pick up their swords and fight.

In Rwanda April 1994 the Hutu Faction began an ethnic cleansing of the Tutsi. In a few days hundreds of bodies could be seen floating down the Kigara River into Lake Victoria. The UN passed a resolution condemning the action but no one listened. The UN pulled out its peacekeepers and the Hutu went on a killing spree that would make Pol Pot proud. The UN passed two more resolutions but the conflict did not end until rebel Tutsi defeated the extremist Hutu. 800,000 people were murdered because the UN picked up pens rather than swords.[2]

The League of Nations is more than likely the largest example of pen incompetence. The league chose to pen appeasement instead of taking up the sword and preventing a firestorm that engulfed the entire world. The choose words over action when Japan invaded Manchuria, pen over sword when the Germans rearmed in the face of the Treaty of Versailles, vocabulary over blade when Italy overran Ethiopia. The leagues false belief in the power of the pen allowed Hitler, Mussolini, and Hirohito to obtain the clout they required to instigate a major war. The pen could not prevent WWII nor end it.[3]

Bottom line, change the victor of a war and the ideals of this world change accordingly. The pen is subservient to the conqueror; thus real change only comes from the sword.


Words- 800

posted on Jul, 30 2004 @ 07:44 PM
What came first the Chicken or the Egg?

People are being led to believe this debate is over something imponderable like the question above, this debate is not like that at all.

The statement “the pen is mightier than the sword” is an allegory that cannot be used literally therefore this argument is one of opposing ideals; not weapons versus ideas.

History has shown people of high ideals and moral convictions overcoming on every occasion over those holding ideals based on various forms of oppression and fear.

My opponent has latched onto an argument that says the weapon is supreme in all affairs human. To believe that argument one must accept the debate statement as literal in meaning - condemning all men to unending oppression by those wielding the greater weapon. One also has to subscribe to the idea that all people holding greater weapons are inherently evil in their nature and want nothing more than total domination over the world. Many have been liberated by powerful but morally good ideals making the above statement untrue. Weapons do not have ideals - people do.

Lets slide down BlackJackals slippery slope for a moment where the sword is all-powerful. Let’s theorize the ultimate outcome. In that nightmarish world starting early in our history men would first have dominated small groups that would have in turn been assembled into larger and larger formations. These rapacious formations would ultimately defeat and absorb lesser powers until a final battle occurred between two powerful dictators. In the end one would be left to control all. This would have had to occur centuries ago leaving the mantle of world dictatorship to the heirs.

Three is only one problem with this fantasy... it never happened! It never happened because people of higher ideals (even though murdered, oppressed and subjugated at various times) always passed on their beliefs to others. The sword could never cut the ideal of freedom from their minds.

Using an extreme example I will point out the illogical belief that the sword (in and of itself) maintains any power at all.

At this time the USA is arguably the most powerful nation ever to exist when an inventory of its weapons is considered. Remove its people from the equation and what have you got? Inanimate, impotent weapons having no ability to act either in defense or offense of their own accord. Swords are useless objects without people and their ideal’s whether good or evil.

This debate IS about ideal’s and ideology not powerless weapons.

Weapons are but a tool of those holding differing ideologies. The debate is really predicated on which of the following two ideologies is superior. An ideal that holds freedom of the mind and spirit sacred, or an ideal based on oppression of the mind and spirit. I believe the former to be true. The “pen” is the ideal of the human spirit to create, achieve, and give birth to ideas, philosophies, and great truths. The “sword” is the ideal that power OVER a thing (or the power to destroy it) is superior to the act of creating it.

In the never-ending struggle man has experienced between his ability to accomplish great works of good or evil, the concentration cannot be on the individual outcome of any one battle. One must keep the focus on the over-all results achieved. Good or evil will always find followers; we have to determine which is the stronger of the two.

BlackJackel kindly pointed out the words of Edward George Bulwer Lytton preceding the debate’s statement “Beneath the rule of men entirely great” - Lytton was correct.

“The rule of men entirely great” is symbolic of those leaders (men or women) whose mind, spirit and talent have given them the ability to express and communicate ideals based on the human desire for freedom. They have communicated these ideals via the “pen” to a great many people, and many of these leaders were willing to give up everything to achieve the goal of freedom... not necessarily for themselves, but for others.

These are the great men referred to by Lytton: men such as Jesus, Ghandi, King, Mandela, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Churchill and many others of their ilk.

These are the types of men holding higher ideals representing freedom that stand between the masses and men such as Bonaparte, Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot who desire power through oppression.

Luckily for all of us great men do rise to the occasion.

745 Words

posted on Jul, 31 2004 @ 10:50 PM
Once again Phoenix is attempting to polarize this debate into good versus evil yet as he admits above swords and in effect pens are simply instruments. These instruments can be portrayed as ideals or ideologies yet they still must be wielded and good or evil comes from the manner in which they are used.

Also Phoenix argues we cannot debate the literal meaning of this debate and decrees we must argue which ideology is greater. As I have shown previously and will in the future the sword is still victorious even in a symbolical sense.

Although deciding representation for the pen and sword is exceedingly subjective I will attempt to symbolize both ideologies as objectively as possible. Phoenix stated in his opening the pen stood for ideas, communication, discovery and freedom and I think that to be fair. The sword stands for action, deeds, change, and accomplishment. Now the question is which is mightier?

  • The US Declaration of Independence was the idea of freedom the American people attempted to communicate to the British, yet the British did not wish to listen so the pen failed. However, the actions and deeds of Americans in the Revolutionary War led to the change the pen failed to obtain.

  • The Civil War was not won by the communication of ideas set forth in the Emancipation Proclamation or the Gettysburg Address. The war was ended by the accomplishments of the United States military achieved through actions and deeds.

  • If you are diagnosed with cancer doctors don’t cure you through communicating ideas about the discovery to you. You are cured through the actions of drugs, chemotherapy, and surgery.

Again even symbolically the pen is weaker to the power of the sword. The sword accomplishes what the pen fails to. The sword is the driving force not the pen.

In this world as I have stated previously the sword is more effective at changing mindsets, ideals, and ideologies. The pen attempts to communicate ideas however, by itself the pen can only reach those ready to listen. The sword however, can make everyone pay attention.

December 6 1941- The world was going to war. Hitler and Mussolini were marching through Europe conquering everything in their path all the while sending millions to death camps. Hirohito had invaded Manchuria and China. The pen had attempted for several years to communicate to the American people the seriousness of the current events yet still not many listened. Although on the morning of December 7 at Pearl Harbor a single action of the sword changed an entire countries mindset and the course of history in one fell swoop.

September 10 2001- Americans went about their lives oblivious to the gathering peril. The pen pointed out the dangers of terrorism to the public but few listened and even fewer acted. Americans believed terrorism harmless even though the pen said otherwise. On the morning of September 11 however everything changed because of the mighty power of the sword. Americans no longer believed themselves to be safe, terrorism was no longer a distant disease, and Americans emerged resolved to defeat it.

Only 7.75% believed nothing changed due to 9-11[1]

August 5 1945- America was winning the war in the pacific yet the Japanese still refused to listen to the pen and surrender peacefully. Japan was expecting an invasion they could not stop yet, they would still fight to the death because their culture and mindset was to never surrender. America was faced with hopeless diplomacy, a costly invasion, or dropping an Atomic bomb. On August 6 the first atomic weapon used in warfare was dropped on Hiroshima and a second August 9 on Nagasaki. These actions of the sword changed a mindset and a culture and 5 days later the Japanese agreed to the Potsdam Declaration surrendering.[2]

My opponent states that ideas, ideals, or ideologies cannot be altered by the sword yet, I have outlined three well known examples in which all three were molded by the power of the sword. As unfortunate as it may be in this world communication, ideas, discovery, and freedom can only accomplish small change on their own. In order to accomplish major change the action, deeds and change of the sword are required.

In our world the pen requires clear lines of communication to be successful. These lines of communication are only open if both parties are interested in what the other wants or a common goal. Great men are selfless men that believe in lucid communications yet, a handful of them scattered through time is not enough for the pen to be successful. Thus in this world the sword rules supreme for it cares not if you wish to listen for it will force you to listen.



EDITED by Kano to shrink the image, some of the judges don't have your fancy high-res setups.

[edit on 1-8-2004 by Kano]

posted on Aug, 1 2004 @ 06:32 PM
Quoting BlackJackal,

“Once again Phoenix is attempting to polarize this debate into good versus evil yet as he admits above swords and in effect pens are simply instruments.”

BlackJackal is implying thoughts and words never said by me. What I said was this,

“Weapons are but a tool of those holding differing ideologies. The debate is really predicated on which of the following two ideologies is superior. An ideal that holds freedom of the mind and spirit sacred, or an ideal based on oppression of the mind and spirit. I believe the former to be true. The “pen” is the ideal of the human spirit to create, achieve, and give birth to ideas, philosophies, and great truths. The “sword” is the ideal that power OVER a thing (or the power to destroy it) is superior to the act of creating it.”

The “pen” representing the written word (in turn representing ideas and ideals) has always been resilient to the corruption those relying entirely on the “sword” have been susceptible to.

* Without the ideals of freedom espoused and communicated in the Declaration of Independence the
revolution would have gone down in history as a minor uprising quickly quelled by the British army.
It was the motivation provided by the “pen” that enabled an inferior non-professional group of civilians
assembled into an army to defeat a far superior British army and navy. Without the ideals of freedom
communicated by the “pen” this revolution never would have happened.

* Without the power of the “pen”slavery would have been just another fact of life for those ignorant
subjects blindly following the sword-masters. There would have been no Civil War to fight without the ideals of freedom communicated by the “pen”

* The “cure” for cancer (although not generally in existence) did not just “pop” into your doctors head.
It took many years of basic research and scientific proof arrived at by researchers dedicated to finding
a cure. I guess if you were my debate opponent, it could claimed that a quick thrust by the sword would in fact “cure” your cancer permanently (how convenient).

* Dictators and Despots relying on the ideals of action, deeds, change and a misplaced sense of
accomplishment have indeed tried to use the “sword” as a means to an end. They have always in the
end failed in their attempts because ideas, communication, discovery and freedom are the stronger
human motivator. The most recent example of WW-II is a prime example of good and true ideals
overcoming the sword (used as a means to an end) representing nothing but oppression of the human

I have in a very direct fashion throughout this debate communicated that the “pen” considered to represent ideas, communication, discovery and freedom is what drives people to overcome oppression, repression, war, destruction and force of will - all considered forces of evil by those of reason.

At times the “pen” (because its power was recognized by those with allegiance to the “sword”)
has been abused for short periods by Dictator and Despot alike to advance their positions. Interestingly they have always had to revert to the temporarily and false power they perceive the “sword” to hold in order to make short-term gains. One has to ask, “where are they now?” to know the truth of this statement

All by itself the sword holds no power at all, The sword wielded by the ignorant holds a very fleeting and temporary power that is an illusion. The sword when wielded as a tool by those enlightened by the power of the “pen” allows the seemingly weak to overcome the strong (moral ideals vs. immoral ideals) in the battle of the mind.

The attacks on 9/11 cited as a world-changing event by BlackJackel presents a good example of the forces involved in the struggle between good and evil. I have asserted that this is the true basis of this debate.

Bin Laden has as a goal, religious takeover of first middle-eastern governments by indoctrination and force then western nations by the same means, a “Jihad” if you like against ideas held by a religious minority.

If al-Qaedas sword was all-powerful why is Bin Laden hiding in the caves and mountains of Pakistan? Doe’s the almighty sword have no power to protect him from the stronger western ideals? One has to wonder what he is afraid of, why is he hiding? Could it be he knows he holds inferior ideals? That will not stand in the world court of opinion based on the power of the “pen” is that why he hides?

Maybe Bin Laden knows the truth; his movement can only succeed on the lie’s it’s based on and his “sword” is a false god.

No matter time passing the “pen” will always be victorious.

800 Words

posted on Aug, 2 2004 @ 06:17 PM
Phoenix states this debate is predicated on which of two ideologies is superior. Either the ideology of the human spirit to create, achieves, and gives birth to ideas, philosophies, and great truths or the ideology to power over. Foremost, both the pen and the sword can be brandished for evil. The pen can create fallacies, give birth to immoral ideas, wicked philosophies, and great lies; the sword can power over the just. So the real question is which of the two when both used for good are greater. Allow me to show why the pen is inferior to the ideology of the sword.

The pen wielded by great men can outline problems, point out corrupt tyrants, and label discoveries. Yet, the pen cannot solve problems it expresses. In our world the only way a problem is ever solved by the pen alone is when both parties are interested in open communication. Sadly, this rarely occurs in our world because most people in this world are not interested in the concerns of anyone but themselves or those close to them. Thus, to solve most problems the sword is called to duty for the sword cares not if you wish to listen.

Declaration of Independence- Phoenix claims that without the Declaration the American Revolutionary war would have just been a minor uprising. Let’s review a little history shall we. The First Continental Congress met in 1774 penning a petition asking King George III to address their grievances. King George didn’t listen and the pen failed. In May 1775 organized armed conflict had begun most notably in Concord and Lexington. By July 4 1776 when the Declaration was signed the American Revolution was well underway. In effect the Declaration was an after effect of the revolution.[1]

Civil War- The Compromise of 1850, the Nebraska-Kansas Act, the Dred Scott decision, and the election of 1860 all outline the failure of the pen. At this point in history the north and the south had two different views of the world and could not come to a compromise of the pen. Neither faction was willing to listen to the demands of the other making the pen useless. Thus, as history shows the only way to solve this problem was through the sword. In the end, slavery was not ended by the success of the pen rather it was the failure of the pen leading to action of the sword.[2]

Bin Laden- No one is proclaiming Al Queda’s sword is all powerful yet, if it wasn’t for 9-11 would many of us even know what Al Queda is? More than likely not, the sword Al Queda used on 9-11 put that terrorist faction on the map and made the world fearful. Bin Laden is not hiding in caves because he is afraid of western ideals; he is hiding because we are finally coming after him with swords. Before the US invaded Afghanistan Bin Laden could care less about our anti-terrorism laws because they were only words spoken a world away they could not touch him. Remember it is not the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1996, or the Patriot Act he is hiding from it is the western sword he is afraid of.

In the fight against terrorism the pen has never trumped the sword. Do we fight terrorism with resolutions and laws or do we fight by capturing and killing terrorists? Obviously the later is the prudent course of action for terrorists care not to listen to anything but the total destruction of the western world. You cannot negotiate with those unwilling to talk. Against odds such as these resolutions, declarations, and decrees are futile. The pen fails us when the enemy refuses to come to common ground and only the sword can bring the impasse to a conclusion.


Many world religions have been considered non-violent or in other words wholly pen-like in their spread. However this is simply not true. Christianity, Islam, Chinese Traditional, and even Buddhism have all been spread by the sword at one point in time. Also, it is no coincidence that the largest religions are the ones spread by the sword the most. People realize that if they want others to believe in their philosophies the best way to convert others is through the sword not the pen. By using just the pen people could write off all of these faiths as nothing more than passing fads. On the other hand, if you convert people at the tip of the sword you are much more effective at grapping people’s attention. Again I am not condoning these actions just pointing out how the world in which we live works.[4]

Sadly, the sword is the strongest force in our world for most care not for others.



posted on Aug, 3 2004 @ 07:21 PM
The “pen” and its ideals are the motivating force the sword serves.

Never can the sword be considered a conscious entity that can act of its own volition.
A universe full of swords is nothing more than debris without ideals and people to act upon them. Whether for good or evil the sword serves its master the “pen”.

This brings the discussion and debate onto the decision whether or not good overcomes evil at the end of the day (meaning history). Ideals of freedom overcome those of oppression when using the sword as an outlet (tool) for dousing oppression, in no way does this imply that the sword is in any way supreme to those ideals as promulgated by the pen.

Graphs and charts citing irrelevant and misleading statistics have been introduced in an effort to deflect the discussion from the basic core issue of moral ideals triumphing over those that use force (force as an end) to impose their will.

The irrelevant is the view that a change in attitude is mistaken for a change in morality, the erroneous or shall I say misleading is the view implied that all members of a given religion support the most radical elements claiming that religion as reason to abuse the sword. These elements are a small minority generally held in contempt by the majority.
These elements would include anti-abortion advocates killing doctors as well as al-Qaeda. Besides when was the last time someone held a gun on you to go to church? - or not? My opponent would assert that it’s the sword that made you attend church because he makes no admittance of the pens power to make the historical progression provided.

Assertions that the revolutionary war; because it started prior to the Declaration of Independence would have been won on the battlefield (irrespective of motivating documents and ideas) is ridiculous. The war continued for another 6 years and 9 months until Congress declared an end to the war on April 11, 1783.

My opponent has throughout his argument pointed to actions of the sword as proof of its prowess when in fact every single example is based on ideals (pen) of one sort or another.

The pen (ideals) always precede action. If it was the other way around as has been attempted one will end up charged with crimes against humanity.

Alas, the sword is but a tool of the power held in the pen

The decision is one of freedom or oppression, freedom wins in the long run of history.

posted on Aug, 3 2004 @ 11:39 PM
Phoenix’s argument hinges upon the belief the pen is wholly good while the sword is purely wicked. Yet, as I have shown both the pen and the sword are implements of man which can be used for good or evil. Phoenix states the pen stands for ideas, communication, discovery and freedom nevertheless, the pen can create corrupt ideas, false communication, counterfeit discoveries, and transparent freedoms. Bottom Line, this debate is not drawn along lines of good and evil for both sides can create acts of good and evil.

Was the sword used to halt Hitler, Pol Pot, and Napoleon evil? In Rwanda were the Tutsi rebels evil because they used the sword to halt the genocide? Was Mandela wicked because he used guerilla warfare to remove apartheid? Is it immoral for the US to hunt down terrorists with swords instead of the pen? Was it wicked for the Indian citizens to rise up in the Sepoy Mutiny? Of course the answer is plain these are all justified uses of the sword yet phoenix contends the sword is in itself evil.

In 1783 was it the pen that gained sovereignty for the US or was it the blood, sweat and tears poured out by the American patriots. In 1945 was it pen that altered the entire culture of Japan into surrender? In 1865 was it the pen that won the Civil War for the north? On September 11 was it Al Queda’s pen that caused the war to fear? In 1945 was it the pen that crippled Germany into defeat? Understand history is littered with world changing events such as these. In many cases these actions are brought on by failures of the pen and more times than not the pen plays no part until after the sword decides an outcome.

The facts are simple the pen is toothless to cause real change on it’s on. The pen can create many things yet if people are not willing to listen the pen fails. On the other hand, the sword can grab anyone’s ear regardless if they wish to listen. The pen failed to prevent WWII, the Civil War, September 11, and the American Revolution among others. The pen failed to stop Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Hirohito, Civil War, WWI, WWII, Rwanda, and any other major conflict.

In our world the sword shapes countries, people, ideals, ideologies, and ideas. The sword gains this power due to the empty lines of communication we have in this world. Some men have attempted to clear these lines yet they are few and far between. Mostly, the world is filled with people who care only for themselves and their interests. Regrettably, our world will remain this way until all humans learn how to appreciate each others needs. In effect human nature erodes the power of the pen and gives rise to the sword.

When all people labor together for a common goal the pen will be mightiest, until then the sword is king.

posted on Aug, 3 2004 @ 11:45 PM
Excellent, great job guys. I'll get the judges to put on their finest judging robes and get to work on this one.

posted on Aug, 7 2004 @ 02:27 AM
Well, in a rare alignment of the planets, the judges have given a unanimous decision. The winner of this debate 6-0 is BlackJackal. Congratulations to BlackJackal and a hearty thanks to Phoenix for an excellent tournament.

Some comments from the Judges:

This was won straight out of the gate. It was a debate topic chock full of pitfalls that neither fell their credit.
However, it was also one which gave clear freedom to sieze upon any point for drive home-ability, and the Con argument did that the best.

BlackJackal defeats Phoenix
Both sides argued extremely well making me seriously consider and reconsider that old truism I always took as a given. No more.
The Sword is Mightier than the Pen.

It was plain to see why these two were in the final round. This was an excellent debate, well fought by both.
I placed my vote with BlackJackal because he did a superb job of making his case with eloquence and clarity. Both fighters addressed points made by their opponent and kept it a clean and respectful debate, and for that, I thank you.
I would like to congratulate all of those who entered and gave it their best throughout; this was one of the best series of debates I have seen. Thanks also to Kano for organizing this and for keeping us judges in proper working order.

A well done performance by both. BlackJackal earns this one, by composing a splendid argument.

Wow! Top notch debate, all the way! Kudos to you both, your skills were really shining through in this one. This was a tough one to decide, but BlackJackal gets my vote. He swifty countered Phoenix's points and won the debate in my opinion.

Again though, excellent job on both of your parts!

BlackJackal will soon have the ATS Debate Champions Pennant in his mini-profile until a new champion arrives to take it from him.

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