Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Ten Cannots

I ran across these 10 statements while doing some reading about our Founding Fathers and the struggles they endured putting together the U.S. Constitution. The actual listing of cannots was published much later in a pamphlet in 1916 by a minister, William J. Boetcker. He was obviously an outspoken advocate for liberty and had done much thinking about the American people’s way of life.

The statements, to me, apply much more to my personal and business life than to my beliefs about political matters.

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 incentive 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.

I am also reminded, by reading this, of one of my favorite quotes attributed to Abraham Lincoln,

“The best thing we can do for the poor is not become one of them.”

Abe, I’m trying.

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