Thursday, March 27, 2014

A. Lincoln on Capitalism

These words are the words of Abraham Lincoln, a Libertarian before his time.
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.
You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.
Here are the words of former President Reagan, spoken at the Republican convention of 1992 that re-nominated George H. W. Bush as the Republican candidate for President.
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."
So, so much for what Lincoln said.

But he didn’t say it.

Here are the words from the snopes.com article on the “Lincoln Hoax.”
And any chance of genuine history winning out over the faux version in this case was probably set back at least a generation when another U.S. president, Ronald Reagan, stood before a nationwide audience at the 1992 Republican National Convention and delivered a speech in which he also erroneously attributed four of Boetcker's maxims to Lincoln.
But this post is not about ignorant or lying Republicans, this post is about the job of politics.  The prime directive (with apologies to Star Trek) of all politicians is to get elected and to get re-elected.  Doing the public's business or telling the truth to the public is secondary to that prime directive.  I don't know if President Reagan was lying or was misinformed, I don't know if his speech writers were lying or were misinformed.  I do know that this particular misattribution had a life of its own as others have claimed it as Lincoln's words, without malice.  I also know that Democrats are as guilty of misattribution and of lying as Republicans; it's an equal opportunity way to get votes.

So, why this post?  Because, dear reader, you will be lied to over and over and over again by politicians who want your vote.  If they can get away with it, they will be motivated not to care so much what is true and what is not.  Don't believe everything you see and hear and read.  Don't believe a word that politicians and their partisans say without fact-checking them.  It's not just your vote; it's your country's future too.  Imagine the difference in our democracy if every politician knew that he was being fact-checked by every voter!

Imagine the difference!