“The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword”

How many times have you heard that one simple statement?

Who is the mastermind behind that statement?

Is it really true?  Is the pen mightier than the sword?

“The pen is mightier than the sword.” This widely used saying, which originated in an 1839 play about Cardinal Richelieu written by novelist and playwright Edward Bulwer-Lytton, has become so common as to border on platitude. And yet, these simple words reflect a clear and enduring principle: writing, and by association information, is more influential than military might.

To wield the power of the pen effectively one must have power behind it. That power can be in the form of military might but, does not have to be. And as the most powerful nation in the world—not just militarily, but economically, in terms of political influence, soft power, and by virtually any metric—the United States should be in a position to capitalize by wielding information in the service of US national interests. And yet, we’re not very good at it, objectively or compared to other governments. Why?

Source: The Un-Mighty American Pen | RealClearDefense

What say you?


19 thoughts on ““The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword”

  1. Well, seems our preferred pen is a Bic; no style to it, it can come apart, and it’s disposable. There’s our “Bic diplomacy” for you. Get back to me when we can again present our prestige and commitment in a Mont Blanc sort of way.

    1. As a matter of fact I have a Mont Blanc and a Watermann and a Pelikan…I do love my pens….I will not write with a ball point…..chuq

      1. I admire your pen commitment. I’m afraid I am too harried in life for the patience of using the fountain pen. I suppose for me the important thing is communicating on paper and less about doing it with style. 🙂 I think also I have grown accustomed to having to press hard to make it through all the copies.

      2. I have been using a real pen since late 50’s….my fave is a handmade one out of olive wood….excellent craftsmanship…..chuq

  2. When some crazed fanatic comes at me with sword in hand I want something a little more trustworthy than a pen in my hand.

      1. I guess I could offer the attacker sexual favors and see if it would be enough to persuade an abandonment of the attack … but I am doubting it somehow.

  3. Excellent post… You restated a summary of my first thought, in answer to why our, and most governments aren’t very good at it, which goes “Trouble rather the tiger in his lair than the sage among his books. For to you kingdoms and their armies are things mighty and enduring, but to him they are but toys of the moment, to be overturned with the flick of a finger.” ― Gordon R. Dickson, Tactics of Mistake

    Yours, “the mind is the truest weapon.” is shorter for sure…

    gigoid, the dubious


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