The 10 cannots

In 1916, a minister and outspoken advocate for liberty, William J. H. Boetcker, published a pamphlet entitled The Ten Cannots .
“You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away man’s initiative and independence.
You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
You cannot establish security on borrowed money.
You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they will not do for themselves.”
I was speaking with a friend recently, a man who lived most of his life under the Communist regime in the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic. He has spent several years and continues to incur many legal expenses in his endeavor to become a U.S. citizen, but he has since lost his enthusiasm.
“The socialist goal back home was that everyone had equal wealth. They met that goal—eventually no one had anything. Any attempt to work harder to achieve a better standard of living for your family was considered contrary to the welfare of the state, and dutifully discouraged. Socialism is a big hole, easy to fall into and hard to climb out of.”
He lamented, “The American dream is not something I want to wake up from—but too many Americans have no idea what they have, and are about to lose it. Socialism seems an appealing ideal, collective ownership, equal society, ‘sharing the wealth,’ et cetera. But it has a downside: It doesn’t work.”
Indeed it doesn’t work. It creates wards of the state—slaves, if you will.
In the 1980s, I spent enough time in Socialist countries, including the old USSR, to know that we want to avoid, at all costs, a USSA. If we could gather up all Americans who, knowingly or unknowingly, support collectivist policies and transport them to the old USSR for a week, they could see the terminus of such policies—the walking dead—and the wisest among them would rethink their support for statist concepts such as “sharing the wealth.”