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Nothing but Pencils All the Way Down

Big fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite ’em,
And little fleas have lesser fleas, and so, ad infinitum.

If I, Pencil, were the only item that could offer testimony on what men and women can accomplish when free to try, then those with little faith would have a fair case.

However, there is testimony galore; it’s all about us and on every hand. Mail delivery is exceedingly simple when compared, for instance, to the making of an automobile or a calculating machine or a grain combine or a milling machine or to tens of thousands of other things. Delivery? Why, in this area where men have been left free to try, they deliver the human voice around the world in less than one second; they deliver an event visually and in motion to any person’s home when it is happening; they deliver 150 passengers from Seattle to Baltimore in less than four hours; they deliver gas from Texas to one’s range or furnace in New York at unbelievably low rates and without subsidy; they deliver each four pounds of oil from the Persian Gulf to our Eastern Seaboard—halfway around the world—for less money than the government charges for delivering a one-ounce letter across the street!

The lesson I have to teach is this: Leave all creative energies uninhibited. Merely organize society to act in harmony with this lesson. Let society’s legal apparatus remove all obstacles the best it can. Permit these creative know-hows freely to flow. Have faith that free men and women will respond to the Invisible Hand. This faith will be confirmed. I, Pencil, seemingly simple though I am, offer the miracle of my creation as testimony that this is a practical faith, as practical as the sun, the rain, a cedar tree, the good earth.

“I, Pencil: My Family Tree as told to Leonard E. Read”

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • BillH February 11, 2018, 9:57 AM

    Wake me when he learns to do this with a ballpoint pen.

  • Casey Klahn February 11, 2018, 10:21 PM

    Royal Sovereign, UK, makes a bitching pencil that hybrids charcoal and graphite into a serious drawing weapon. But, I find it too specific. Charcoals are the tool for me.
    One note: when sharpening a pencil, use a straight-edged razor held in your hand, and shave off the wood with the middle, and then shave the graphite, with the outer edges of the blade. You must be totally calm and relaxed when sharpening this way, because any tension at all and you’ll break it. When you get the desired amount of graphite exposed, now sand it to the finer point using a sanding block (sandpaper on wood). It’s good for the soul.

  • Larry Geiger February 12, 2018, 6:00 AM

    Too much time on his hands.