Liberty and the 10 Cannots

Perhaps more than ever, we have liberty and freedom on our minds. Between the economy, current events and burgeoning political movements it’s hard to know what to believe and what direction to go in. Although, the following strikes my fancy. It certainly is food for thought.

The Ten Cannots by William John Henry Boetcker (1873 – 1962)

An outspoken political conservative, Rev. Boetcker is perhaps best remembered for his authorship of a pamphlet entitled The Ten Cannots. Originally published in 1916, it is often misattributed to Abraham Lincoln. The error apparently stems from a leaflet printed in 1942 by a conservative political organization called the Committee for Constitutional Government. The leaflet bore the title “Lincoln on Limitations” and contained some genuine Lincoln quotations on one side and the “Ten Cannots” on the other, with the attributions switched. The mistake of crediting Lincoln for having been the source of “The Ten Cannots” has been repeated many times since, most notably by Ronald Reagan in a speech he gave at the 1992 Republican convention in Houston.

There are several minor variants of the pamphlet in circulation, but the most commonly-accepted version appears below:

* You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
* You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
* You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
* You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
* You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
* You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
* You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
* You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
* You cannot build character and courage by destroying men’s initiative and independence.
* And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.

Boetcker also spoke of the “Seven National Crimes”:

* I don’t think.
* I don’t know.
* I don’t care.
* I am too busy.
* I leave well enough alone.
* I have no time to read and find out.
* I am not interested.

I don’t know about  you, but I think this is something to really think about.


WC

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