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.
. . . in the last 60 years this prosperity decalogue has been attributed to Abraham Lincoln. But alas, they were penned in 1942, decades after Lincoln, by an obscure Presbyterian minister, William J. H. Boetcker. He released a pamphlet titled Lincoln On Limitations, which did include a Lincoln quote, but also added 10 statements written by Boetcker himself.
People who got the pamphlet thought the 10 statements were written by Lincoln and they have been distributed widely under Lincoln’s name.
The error was cemented when Ronald Reagan attributed some of these to Lincoln at the 1992 Republican National Convention. Reagan said:
I heard those speakers at that other convention saying “we won the Cold War” — and I couldn’t help wondering, just who exactly do they mean by “we”? And to top it off, they even tried to portray themselves as sharing the same fundamental values of our party! What they truly don’t understand is the principle so eloquently stated by Abraham Lincoln: “You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot help the wage-earner by pulling down the wage-payer. You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.”If we ever hear the Democrats quoting that passage by Lincoln and acting like they mean it, then, my friends, we will know that the opposition has really changed.
Good list, regardless of who came up with it!