Is the pen really mightier than the sword?

Recent tragic world events have got me wondering if that old axiom has any truth in it. I get as angry as anybody else when terrorism lifts its ugly head, and want to bring out the bombs and missiles.  Certainly bombs and missiles have their place, and sometimes they need to do what they do.  I think we can agree that when military force is required, bombs are altogether more effective than pens.
But pens have their place too.  In every war, crisis, and disaster there have been writers – like steady clocks ticking away in the midst of the thunder and lightning – who not only  gave voice to our fears and our spirit, but on occasion warned us of things needing to be corrected.  Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle brought about sweeping changes in the meat-packing industry. And when President Lincoln met Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which depicted the horrors of human slavery, he said “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war.”  Nearly a century later another president, Franklin Roosevelt, was all in favor of John Steinbeck writing a novel to showcase the evils of the Nazi regime (read more about it in John Steinbeck Goes to War: The Moon is Down as Propaganda  by my friend and old English professor Donald V. Coers).  And one of the quotes that most inspires and humbles me belongs to young Anne Frank, the little girl who took up her pen and scribbled it in her famous diary not long before she was sent to the concentration camp and her death.  “In spite of everything,” she wrote, “I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
It’s that faith, that hope, that must sustain us in dark times.  There is great evil in the world, to be sure.  But there is also great good.
And powerful, well-chosen words oftentimes, in addition to warning us  of of storm clouds looming,  communicate that faith and hope when we most need it.


3 thoughts on “Is the pen really mightier than the sword?

  1. Yes, I am angry. Yes, I am afraid.
    Trying really hard to have faith and hope win out.
    I am strong in my faith and working on having my faith lead me in my everyday life; more kindness, less judgement (that’s a hard one) and praying that in some small way, I will be a part of the solution in my words and actions.


  2. Gotta Love the Dutch😀. I don’t know why, but like Anne Frank in the attic during WWII, when her people were being persecuted, and she was trapped in a small space, so do I, today, with a terrorist inside of my body, ready to blow up at any time, only contained through nasty medicines that can cause as much damage ( or more) as the cancer itself, remain positive and hopeful that there is indeed much more good in the world than bad, and that the pen is indeed mightier than the sword because it can unite us like no bomb ever could!!! Sadly though do I watch the pen divide us as much as the bombs do, and for that we only have ourselves to blame.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s