On radio this morning, Glenn shared teachings of Rev. William J. H. Boetcker. Boetcker was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1837, and he was ordained a Presbyterian minister soon after he arrived to the United States. Perhaps his best-known works are his lists of ‘The 10 Cannots’ and ‘Seven National Crimes.’
‘The 10 Cannots’ are often mistakenly attributed to President Abraham Lincoln, but it was Boetecker who first published them in 1916.
- 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.
“Now, this a very complex guy. I’m not an expert on him, so if anybody is an expert on William John Henry Boetcker, I apologize,” Glenn said. “But from what I can gather about ten minutes of looking into him, he was a very complex man, who stood up for Germany – saying at the very beginning at least that Hitler is making things better. So he was not necessarily on the money, but some of the things that he has said are absolutely true.”
When you consider Boetcker’s German heritage, his list of the ‘Seven National Crimes’ is even more interesting:
- I don’t think.
- I don’t know.
- I don’t care.
- I am too busy.
- I leave well enough alone.
- I have no time to read and find out.
- I am not interested.
“The reason why he’s saying they are crimes is because it happens almost every generation. We sit here, and we are silent on things. We are silent on rounding up the Indians, rounding up the Germans, rounding up the Japanese,” Glenn explained. “Crimes like these happen every single generation… every country and every group of people commit them, until things become so horrific that there’s no way around the crime… Eventually causes everybody says, ‘Okay, wait a minute. I do care.’”
While in theory these crimes should be self-correcting, Glenn feared that present day America, much like Nazi Germany or Communist China, is not well-versed enough in history to understand the mistakes and correct them.
“Not enough of us have done enough history. We don’t know where we really did the bad things. It is easy to point to Germany and say, ‘Look what happened’… They did not want to see [the horrors of the concentration camps],” Glenn said. “How many of us are doing that right now? How many of us are doing that with the GOP?”
“We are committing these seven national crimes. And they will end exactly the same way it does in every generation, unless we say: I do think. I do know. I do care. There’s nothing more important to do with my time. I will not leave well enough alone. I will find the time to read and find out this answer. And unfortunately, I may not be interested because I’m tired. But because I am in the family of man, I must be interested, I must make the plight of all man’s freedom my plight.”