Free Markets, Free People

Eternal Truths?

In 1942 a Presbyterian minister named William J. H. Boetcker issued these 10 statements (they’ve at times been incorrectly attributed to Lincoln):

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

Those all seem pretty self evident don’t they? Yet we seem to be engaged, at very high levels of government, in going against every one of them and thinking (at least among those pushing the agenda) we can succeed in making life better.

~McQ

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14 Responses to Eternal Truths?

  • Don’t you know, McQ, 1936 changed everything. Once “General Theory” was published, such thoughts about saving and consideration of wage payers became antiquated. You have to make sure that money is spread around equally, and if government must take on debt to stimulate people’s insufficient demand, so be it! It creates jobs.
    Moreover, Boetcker was another evil white man. You can’t consider the opinion of someone whose original country was a major subjugator of African nations. Nor can we consider his opinion when he couldn’t possibly emphathize with the plight of the poor, then or today. It’s easy for him to talk about thrift when he had money. The Man continues to oppress ethnic minorities today by preventing them from saving, from achieving empowerment.
    Only after all racist white men like you and Boetcker die out will all people willingly share their wealth for the betterment of everyone, living by the motto, “Government knows best.” The great Saint Obamus continues to teach us that we must be helped and encouraged, from our individual decisions to volunteer (especially with Democratic fundraising) to running banks and automakers. O ye of little faith, these deficits are only temporary. Taxpayers will soon realize the profits from the nationalized companies, so don’t worry about the debt.

    • Amazing that they don’t perceive government to be synonymous with “the man”.

      Happily replacing the man who has money & power through his own initiatives with the man who has money & power through government.

  • Well, we’re only violating numbers 8 and 9 — and indeed those are the areas I’m most uncomfortable with the current policy.   In the rest, though, one would have to be a tad paranoid to think that there is class warfare or attempts to tear down or weaken anyone.   A slight tax increase on the rich (still at levels far below most other countries) doesn’t exactly “tear them down” — the rich will still be quite rich, businesses start, fail or thrive, and Obama’s rhetoric seeks to unite rather than divide both Americans and the world.  Rhetoric alone can’t do it, but it’s better than divisive class warfare or “you’re with us or against us” speech.

    • One can only conclude, Scott, that you either don’t watch or read the news, or that you don’t pay attention if you do, and simply sit there and rock back and forth with that goofy look on your face.

      The class warfare elements of the Obama campaign and his presidency are at their highest point since Father Coughlin proclaimed FDR Our Savior from the moneyed interests.

      Gosh, Scott, how I wish your students would check in here, not just before attending class, but before enrolling in the first place.

    • Haven’t we also been doing #1 on the list, by encouraging people to borrow and spend more in order to stimulate the economy, instead of saving more in order to try and rebuild a sane economic foundation?

      • Fair enough — credit is being kept artificially low.   OK, we’re doing “1″ as well.

        • It’s amazing how inbreeding within the academy produces the instantaneous imbecile. Thank you so much, Scott, for being willing to “tell your story” publically. I’d be willing to believe that the number of people who would refuse to pay for their children to attend an American university has increased appreciably because of you, and that is a start for cultural and intellectual renewal in this country.

        • Are you serious?  Only #s 1, 8 and 9? 
          How about Obama’s “Pitchfork” reference to the bankers for #2?
          Or Obama’s “Redistribution of wealth” discussion with Joe the Plumber for #3?
          At the risk of repeating myself, again the Pitchfork statement by Obama for #4?
          Demonizing IAG executives for bonus money for #5?
          Firing CEOs right and left for #6?
          Increasing taxes on small businesses for #7?

          And you can say none of these could fit?
           
           
           

    • Sorry Scott – but by my count we are CLEARLY breaking 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9, AND 10

  • I thought it would be a fun little lunchtime exercise to see if I could come up with somewhat recent news stories to match up with each of these points, at least in my own mind.  This took all of 20 minutes, including the 10 minutes I spent looking around for a satisfactory story for #1 before settling on what I did.  A good number of the links came right from this blog, the others were a quick search away.  I’m sure not everyone will agree, but here they are:

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

  • It surely must be a prank that Erb has any responsibility teaching anyone anything, except perhaps as an object lesson.

  • [quote]1. You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.[/quote]
    Of course you can.  If people are saving too much and spending too little, the economy can stall.  The correct solution in this situation is to encourage spending.
    [quote]2. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong[/quote]
     Of course if the strong get weaker, the weaker appear stronger by comparison.  Ina  competitive economy the weakening of the strong directly strengthens the position of the weak on the supply side, increasing their bargaining power.
    [quote]3. You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.[/quote]
    Take away the rich and you unblock resources and markets that were previously barriered off to the poor. The presence of the rich is what keeps people poor. In fact, the entire economic system is designed to maintain a status quo whereby the rich get to live off the efforts and work of the poor, while ensuring that the poor never achieve economic freedom.
    [quote]4. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.[/quote]
    Indeed.  Ban country club exclusivity today ! No door policies anywhere !
    [quote]5. You cannot build character and courage by taking away man’s initiative and independence.[/quote]Independence and freedom for all !
    [quote]6. You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.[/quote]Unless the big men are in the way of the small men, or they need something to stand on.
    [quote]7. You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.[/quote]
    You can if it releases the market to a better payer…
    [quote]8. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.[/quote]
    You can if you’re borrowing from the bank to pay back a loan with a 20% vig to Big Vern and Jimmy Hatchet..
    [quote]9. You cannot establish security on borrowed money.[/quote]
    Yes you can.  You might not get away with it….but it can work..
    [quote]10 You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they will not do for themselves.[/quote]Yeah you can.  Ina  civilised society there are always people who are driven to do more than others, and those who have no drive at all.  Those who strive to put in place the basic processes of civilised living (sanitation, communication etc) permanently improve the lot of those who do nothing.  They are permanently helped.