William J. H. Boetcker's Ten Cannots

It has become fashionable for our politicians to give us lists and pledges about things they will do or will not do to improve our well-being. A friend in Northern Ireland pointed me to this list, which is filled with great wisdom. I wonder if our politicians would do better to look at this, rather than promising another bonfire of red tape and more jam tomorrow.

  • 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.

Can you improve on it?