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Posted September 21, 2012 | comments 12 Comments

Letter to the Editor: 'The 10 Cannots'

Editor:

I recently read the "The 10 Cannots" which were written by Presbyterian minister William Boetcker in 1916. They are oft attributed to Abraham Lincoln. They remain the classic common-sense formula for good governance.

1. You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
2. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
3. You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
4. You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
5. You cannot lift the wage-earner by pulling down the wage-payer.
6. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
7. You cannot further the brotherhood of men by inciting class hatred.
8. You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
9. You cannot build character and courage by taking away a man's initiative.
10. You cannot really help men by having the government tax them to do for them what they can and should do for themselves.

Having read these, please think long and hard before voting for president in 2012.

Marty Helsley

12 Comments | Leave a comment

    Couldn’t have been Lincoln Mr. Helsley. Lincoln was pro labor. Note the following.

    Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.
    ABRAHAM LINCOLN: First annual message to Congress, Dec. 3, 1861

    A worker has the right to participate in the decision making process that effects his or her working conditions. That’s why I am voting for Obama.

    1. You cannot replace the constitution with your bible.

    2. You cannot bring about economic prosperity by constantly engaging in wars.

    3. You cannot lift the wage earner by sending his job to China.

    4. You cannot help the poor by calling them moochers who feel they are entitled to food.

    5. You cannot keep out of trouble if you keep spending more than your income. (I kept that because un-paid for tax breaks IS spending more than income)

    6. You cannot further the brotherhood of men if you decide their basic rights are determined by a religious belief.

    7. You cannot strengthen the weak by constantly demoralizing them.

    8. You cannot establish sound security on lies and misinformation.

    9. You cannot build character and courage by robbing the weak of their only lifelines to benefit already bulging pockets.

    10. You cannot really help men by having the government tax the living out of working families so that corporations and multimillions can hide behind loopholes while utilizing off-shore accounting to hide their assets.

    WE CAN NOT HAVE A "UNITED STATES", IF YOU FAIL TO REMEMBER WHICH PARTY PLACED ITSELF OVER THE GOOD OF THE COUNTRY!

    *AND Not only is this falsely attributed to Lincoln due to a misprint of literature, this was also written to combat workers from unionizing as grigelon touched on.

    Thank you, Mr. Helsley, for the good advice: "Having read these, please think long and hard before voting for president in 2012." You convinced me that I need to help also, so I just sent the Obama campaign a $100.00, and asked my husband to do the same. Thanks again.

    http://www.barackobama.com/obama-for-america-2012-campaign?source=om2012_LB_G_core-search_campaign_&omtype=ovf&subsource=mkwid|L5XPV761|kw|obama%20campaign|matchtype|p|pcrid|13630425963|pl||&gclid=CJTQ4oK7x7ICFUje4AodMVAAng

    "Every so often we hear people clamor for a change. Let’s change the Constitution, change the form of Government, change everything for better or worse except to change the only thing that needs changing first: The human heart and our standard of success and human values." -- William J.H. Boetcker


    I became curious about the origin of "The 10 Cannots" and turned to Wikipedia, which attributes Ronald Reagan as one of many mistakenly crediting Lincoln for the list:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_J._H._Boetcker

    Quote:

    "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 genuine Lincoln quotations may have been from an address on March 21, 1864 in which Lincoln said "Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another; but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built." The mistake of crediting Lincoln for "The Ten Cannots" has been repeated many times since, notably by Ronald Reagan in his address to the 1992 Republican National Convention in Houston"


    But then I read further and came across another list Wikipedia attributes to Boetcker called "SEVEN NATIONAL CRIMES".

    As a description of todays far right low information dingbats, Boetcker was prophetic:
    · 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.

    Thank you Mr. Marty Helsley for your false quote reference. You unknowlingly led us to a better, more descriptive explanation for what is wrong with listeners of Limbaugh, Hannity, Savage, Fox Noise, Rupert Murdoch, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Karl Rove, et. al.

    For those who aren't familiar with William John Henry Boetcker, he was born in Hamburg, Germany and became an ordained Presbyterian minister soon after his arrival in the US as a young adult. His claim to fame, however, was not of minister but rather that of being a motivational speaker.

    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.


    “In religion and politics people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other” ~ Mark Twain

    Ah, Mr. Helsley, my husband just completed his donation to the Obama campaign, matching mine. Good work!

    The mistake of crediting Lincoln for "The Ten Cannots" has been repeated many times since, notably by Ronald Reagan in his address to the 1992 Republican National Convention in Houston

    I'm amazed that there are a few regulars on here that continuously attack those whose OPINION you disagree with! I understand putting out facts that you dispute, but the beauty of living in the good ole USA is that we have freedom of speech so that we may state our opinions without fear of being thrown in jail or worse. I wish we would all see the continued debate and presentation of facts with out the hateful attacks on individuals that do not share the same opinions as the attackers.
    I think most of the above comments came from a misread of the letter; or maybe it's my perspective, but it seems to me that Mr. Helsley stated that the above 10 Cannots were written by William Boetcker in 1916. Mr. Helsley did not state whether or not that they were correctly attributed to Abraham Lincoln-only that it had happened.
    Thank you Mr. Helsley, for sharing your opinion of common sense.

      Gail, as I have said before to others, you can't on the one hand say, "-------but the beauty of living in the good ole USA is that we have freedom of speech so that we may state our opinions without fear of being thrown in jail or worse" and then in the next breath complain about people on here who have done just that----express THEIR opinion. You might not think it is "right" that they, in your words "continuously attack those whose opinion they disagree with" but that is their right whether anyone agrees with it or not. And, I might add, you have exercised your right to express your opinion of them.

      Believe me, there are many people on here with different political views and not only have these same people you criticize been attacked numerous times by others, but I also have been attacked for my opinion by others. That is just the way it goes, I don't always like it, but if someone does not like this particular type forum, they have the freedom to just not participate or find another type of forum more to their liking.

      I just don't understand how anyone can advocate freedom for us to express our opinion, but then turn around and complain that the "other guy" is not "acting right" or exercising their right in a way that we approve of.

        I gladly welcome the differences in opinions, what I consider offensive are those that are on here calling others names and insulting their intelligence because of the difference of opinion and perspective. This letter and it's comments are not showing the worst of what we see, it just shows the general attitude of attack the difference of opinion, but at times the commentors here online get pretty nasty and that is when I don't have any interest in weighing their opinion.

    Gail;
    Please excuse me for asking, but do you happen to live in that sleepy little town of Paw Paw?

    OK Gail, That seems reasonable. The next time "Katybug" and or "Jane Mackie " are "attacked " on this forum by someone of the conservative persuasion, and it happens fairly frequently, I'd like to see YOU get indignant about their rights being violated. Do we have a deal?


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