by Hank Martin

“There are two ways to conquer & enslave a nation. One is by the sword. The other is by debt.” — John Adams, 1826

You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred. You cannot build character and courage by taking away people’s initiative and independence. You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves.” — Abraham Lincoln

The President is so extremely fond of quoting Lincoln, however, I have never heard him quote from the aforementioned passage. It is strange to me, how far we’ve devolved in our society and culture, particularly in the manner in which we view hard work, industry, and discipline. The regards we give to people who are imaginative, creative, and able to translate that into a business that provides goods and services to society, these days, is nothing short of criminal.

Growing up, I was indoctrinated to hard work, at least as hard as it could be in the early 70’s. As opposed to what my father and grand-father experienced, I am sure it was nothing. However, thanks to the first energy crisis, I knew what it meant to go into a forest and cut trees into sections, get them home and split them into pieces for the wood stove, and have them stacked in a cord for winter. I knew, from the age of ten, what cutting grass and trimming, and snow removal, and car washing and waxing were like. I was taught the discipline of taking pride in one’s work and doing each and every task with care and attention to detail. These same traits were also further inculcated into me from my experiences in both the Cub and Boy Scouts. We were taught that America was great, because it was made great by a hard-working, commonsense class of great people.

Over the years, I have met individuals of tremendous wealth. They had the nicest homes and the state-of-the-art vehicles and electronic devices and furnishings. I have never, ever felt as if they were not due the fruits of their labor. I have admired the tenacity and the effort that the attainment of such things required. I have been inspired to work towards goals that would allow me to do the same, but I have never resented them nor felt as if I were cheated by them, nor have I envied them, in as much as I were to believe that somebody owed such things to me. I have understood that I was seeing these individuals as they were culminating their work experience—the dues they paid by working 16 hour days, or more. They sacrificed in their past, to enjoy their present. I never denied them that. Anyone in possession of common sense is cognizant of the fact that these people did not achieve their status in life simply working an eight hour day and spending their time in pursuit of recreation. These people once served as guide posts of the American dream. They were people to be emulated, and honored, for their contribution to society. These days their contributions remain constantly in question. I do not know why.

I have never been employed by an individual on the government dole. I have never received a paycheck from such. Indeed, in those instances where previous employers performed work on such things as Section 8 Housing, what I usually witnessed, was the writing-off of the cost of service due to lack of payment from either the government agency involved or the tenant of the same. I have witnessed those to whom I have been employed being forced to expend more in the pursuit of payment than what the payment was worth. Something that the receiver of the service was no doubt banking on. Yet, we now see an entire election being predicated upon the kowtowing to the lowest and most basic of human nature, sloth.

Why is the agitation being demonstrated by the various grass-roots movements so surprising? WE THE PEOPLE are exhausted. We see the results of the misappropriation of our tax money. We are tired of going to work in the dark and coming home in the same to finance the laziness of others. We are becoming resentful of living within our means in order to allow others to live beyond theirs. The individuals, to whom I refer, are not the supposed wealthy one-percent. I refer to the numerous individuals that I witness purchase tasty treats I can’t afford—with a SNAP card. I see these folks piling their carts with DVD and video games, attired well, and then taking their goods to a vehicle less than five years old. We are tired of working our fingers to the bone, paying for others to live the lives WE THE PEOPLE are in pursuit of.

Until this country stops demonizing the wealthy for their contributions to the society, and until we stop rewarding sloth, then this gulf and the acrimony between the two will only continue to grow. Until we acknowledge the wisdom our founding fathers knew so long ago, and return this nation to the original intent to which it was designed, then there is no hope of change.

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HANK MARTIN is an Albemarle native, a graduate of Albemarle High School and PVCC majoring in Business Management. He has an extensive history of participating in the local Cub and Boy Scout Programs, both as a Scout and later as Scout Master, as well as having been a member of the Monticello Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol. He has also served as a leader in church youth character building programs, such as AWANA's and the Royal Ambassadors. He is an avid student of both Biblical and world history as well as Biblical prophecy. He participated in the adoption of the school anti-bullying legislation sponsored by delegate Rob Bell. In 2006, in response to proposed ordinances by the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors regarding property rights, he founded and chaired Forever Albemarle, a personal property rights group. He resides in Albemarle County with his wife, and one of their two sons, the other now a resident out of state.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Some people are rich because they’ve worked very hard. Some are rich because they’ve been very lucky when it comes to brains, talent, money, social connections and educational opportunities, but they haven’t actually worked any harder than millions of middle and lower middle class people without those benefits.

    Why is the agitation being demonstrated by the various grass-roots movements so surprising? WE THE PEOPLE are exhausted.

    You don’t speak for the people. The Founders, whom you claim to revere when they’re useful to you, didn’t make a distinction between true Americans and “we the people.” You don’t really love your country if you call 47% of it lazy and irresponsible. You don’t even know it. Resentment isn’t patriotism.

    “You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred. You cannot build character and courage by taking away people’s initiative and independence. You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves.

    Do a little research. Lincoln didn’t say this. A Presbyterian minister named William J. H. Boetcker wrote it in 1942 in a pamphlet which also contained a Lincoln quote.

  2. Ken, this quote was cited from a church bulletin dated Sunday, 3 July 1938, at my father’s church in 1938, from his hometown in North Carolina. It was tied in to a sermon delivered for the 4th of July weekend. I shall practice my faith and forgive once more, this continued predilection of arrogance and presumptive superior knowledge.

    “Some people are rich because they’ve worked very hard. Some are rich because they’ve been very lucky when it comes to brains, talent, money, social connections and educational opportunities, but they haven’t actually worked any harder than millions of middle and lower middle class people without those benefits.”-Ken

    Conversely, many people are less well off than they would have been, had an over sized federal government not taken from them, the prizes earned in the pursuit of happiness so fondly spoken of by our founders. Prizes seized through coercion and awarded to those undeserving, in order to garner votes by offering the property of those of industry, to those who, in far too many instances, simply are guilty of sloth. I have read many older works, regarding government. Dated prior to 1922, there were many instances where the Bible was quoted for substantiation as the founders were crafting our government. Particularly Ezekiel 46:18 “Moreover the prince shall not d take of the peoples inheritance by oppression, to thrust them out of their possession; [but] he shall give his sons inheritance out of his own possession: that my people be not dispossessed every man from his possession. ”

    As a Christian Constitutional Conservative, I would be far more comfortable with a federal government whose activities regarding social actions of conscience were curtailed, allowing the church the freedom to practice the divine discharge as it has been mandated by scripture. I would much rather have the choice of assisting my fellow man in becoming truly successful with his life. Certainly not cut his knees out from under him, that he may forever be permanently bowed to the state for his subsistence. That is nothing less than evil.

  3. What following is taken directly from book ‘How should Chirstian Vote? by Tony Edward page 18. When civil government attempts to do more than that,it typically ends up infrining on other divinely authorized governments (individuals, family, and/or church). When the government tries to act as someone’s parent and pay someone’s bills while they do not work, the government has beomce more than the government was designed to be. The Bible says if a man does not work, he ought not to eat (2 Thessalonians 3:6 – 8, 10). It is not talking aobut when a man cannot work. It is talking aobu twhen a man won’t work. If a man does not work, you don not offer him a welfare check to pay him for his irresponsibility. You don’t look to the government to pay for laziness while taxing others to cover the bill. This is what President is saying when he get up and made the statement the rich should pay more in taxes. That is what Occupiers want to be pay for their laziness. Laziness, solth. In closing Every vote that pertains to the sphere of civil government should be schosen based on the ability of the candidate or policy to promote civil government in such a way that it will support the other three governments (personal, family, church), rather than infringe upon them. Likewise, the candidates and policies that create a just environment for freedom to flourish should be preferred. We need to think like the a kingdom of God citizen as we shift throught issuses and candidates, and consider what God says in HIS WORD about what matter. Vet the candidates based on their competence, how closely they are alinged to SCRIPTURE, as well as the quality of their character and reputation (Exodus 18:21). Hank is right and several other individuals. Government has taken on roles as GOD, parent, family etc. Government was never set up by our founding father than to more this this, government was mean to be seen and not heard. Not the other way around.

  4. Hank, when someone says you’re wrong on the facts, don’t check the facts yourself and admit it if they’re right. Just fault their motives, and make a public display of forgiving them. Sadly, I’m not surprised to find that reaction on this blog, because it’s typical of extremists on the Left and the Right. Each side faults the other for arrogance and other moral failings. You guys are just more obnoxious about it because you do so in the name of the Christian religion. But what the Bible actually says is that liberals and conservatives alike are morally guilty before God.

    And here’s why the federal government is not like a prince enriching himself: liberals in government don’t get pay raises when they vote for higher taxes. There is no money in it for them.

    Prizes seized through coercion

    If high taxation is a form of coercion, then all taxation is a form of coercion. That’s basic logic. That’s 2 + 2 = 4. It cannot possibly equal 5. Do you understand? If you’re going to oppose high taxes because they are taken by threat of force, then to be consistent, i.e. to stand on principle, you have to oppose any level of taxes, because taxes at any level are taken by threat of force.

    So that argument fails. Now I realize that you won’t stop making it, because you have demonstrated here and elsewhere that facts and logic don’t change your mind. But that’s why no one else takes you guys seriously. There are plenty of smart, intellectually honest conservatives around, of course. Ross Douthat, David Brooks, and Rod Dreher come to mind. But they’re the smart, nice kids on the block compared to you guys. They read textbooks. You read comic books. They make arguments. You make charges. Liberals listen seriously to Douthat, because they can tell he knows the facts. They don’t listen seriously to guys like you because – see above – you just deny all the facts you don’t want to know.

    Certainly not cut his knees out from under him, that he may forever be permanently bowed to the state for his subsistence. That is nothing less than evil.

    “Bowed to the state” Here we get to what seems to be the attitude really driving you guys – not what the Founders said or what the Bible says, but your own pride. The Bible says that all good things are gifts of God. You guys say you’ve earned everything you’ve got.

    area58 – what percentage of Americans do you think don’t want to work? 47? 30? Please cite your evidence.

  5. No one know for sure? There is no sure way to find out. Again on page 18 — The Bible says if a man does not work, he ought not to eat (2 Thessalonians 3:6-8). It is not talking about when a man cannot work. It is talking about when a man won’t work. You don’t look to the government to pay for laziness while taxing others to cover the bill. Best example is for yrs someone gets out of prison, the first thing they do is file for SSI. Why, odd are the individual getting SSI. Yes, they can work because they were working in prison to get money to buy food etc at cantent. The individuals who needed disability we the staff help offender apply for it and 90% of time they got full disability or partial. Who really know what % of individual who can work and decide that they can get money from government is easier. I do read testbook but not the type you read. I am Christian but the question Ken are you? The other problem Ken is everyone view the Bible differently and live their live according to how they either view the Bible or not……… I was told a many a time while I working that God was going to punish me for doing my job………… I have faced death and realize dying is easy, it is living that is hard…….For some reason beyond my understanding that was once taught to in school is — Bibical Justice aims to protect individual liberty while promoting personal responsibility.. I guess that is problem — personal responsibility has become a convoluted term as social justice has….

  6. area, yes, I’m a Christian.

    If you don’t even know how many people are taking advantage of you, why are you so focused on them? Think about it. Is it possible you’re being manipulated and you’re pride is being played on to get you all hepped about these people when in fact there aren’t that many of them? Yes the Bible says a man who doesn’t work shouldn’t eat, but it says it, what, once? On the other hand, it’s full of commands to care for the poor and needy and not exploit them as powerful people naturally exploit the weak.

    God’s not a liberal or a conservative. That’s silly talk. But if you read the Bible, He talks a lot more about our economic concern than yours.

  7. God is not a republican or a democrat. The real question is “What does the Bible say about the real role of responsibilities of government?” In a republic, the people exercise rulership, as well as the people’s representatives. yet positioned above that rule in a constitutional republic is the constitution itself. throught this constitution, the powers of the government are thus limited to the original intent and working of the constitution. which means that 51% cannot vote out god’s agenda for limited, just, and righteous civil government in order that His other three realms of government (personal, family, and church) may not be infringed upon? When government becomes too weak to protect against intruders or too powerful in overtaking too many aspects of life, it beomces a threat to the very nation that its stands to govern. The other hard question is “Do we as a nation represent and reflict HIS will?” “Do we?” I would say no! We are afraid to speak for fear of having someone steal a sign out my yard or worse a brick through the window of my house, or someone keying my car, or someone from city government telling me I can’t put a sign in my yard or outside my business. The list goes on and on. I know I have spoken to these people and see and hear the fear in their voice. In closing as Bible say — if a man won’t work why give him money for him tostay at home. there is nothing I could find in Bible that say if a man is unable to work to illness etc, the community doesn’t help care of him. I pay taxes and yes a very small amount of that goes to someone who sit at home and could work, but choices not to because government has become the parent.YOu seem hung up on powerful people exploiting the weak do you have a list of who they are and what they have done? A list of people who are alive today?

  8. @Ken,
    ” Now I realize that you won’t stop making it, because you have demonstrated here and elsewhere that facts and logic don’t change your mind.”

    There was a time in these States United, that the educational process taught the actual three “R’s” of education. Reason, Research, and Record. You put forth the notion that I willfully, and I am quite sure in your opinion, woefully choose to ignore, both facts and logic. However, you have forgotten that last point of reason. Ken, I do not know how old you are, or where you were born and educated. So there may indeed be both a generational as well as geographical gulf, which would lend itself towards the contribution towards our differing viewpoints. This logic and factual evidence that you purport I ignore, I do not. Indeed, I temper the allegations of advancement made by those on the Left, by the actual evidence I see in the present. My father was fifty years of age in 1978, I was fifteen. He could look into my eyes, and reasonably feel confident that the eight years of military sacrifice he made in the United States Navy in WWII, and Korea, was worth it. He had every reason to believe, that if I were to apply the same work ethic and discipline that had heretofore made America the country that it was at that time, it would also allow me the same opportunity. I am now fifty years old, and I can not look into the eyes of neither my twenty-two year old nor my fifteen year old, and honestly lay claim to the same assurances. As I have said before in our previous correspondence, I have seen the past, and it worked. Growing up in Charlottesville, I never witnessed drunks and homeless sleeping in or around the bus stops. Urinating and defecating in public, on public property, in public sight. Never saw undisciplined teens running rampant throughout the city streets, knocking down and threatening citizens. Never felt the need to get home by dark, before the demons come forth to roam. I saw a city that was industrious. We had manufacturers such as Fran Ix, Stromberg Carlson, Sperry Marine (where my father was employed for more than three decades), Cutler Hammer, and other manufacturing plants that I cannot easily recall. We had places where a man could work and care for his family.

    We had all of that, but jettisoned it for the failed liberal do-good, feel-good policies of those whose apologetics you espouse. I have seen what was, and compare it to what we are now, and if I fail to reconcile what my eyes and ears daily record, to the supposed facts and logic you assert I ignore, the yes, I am guilty as charged. I can not in my reasoning, get them to peacefully coexist.

    Our progress is hindered by the guilt complex that the left has been somewhat successful at brainwashing our society into believing. We now have a system that “gives” something to somebody, yet asks for “nothing” in return. It ought to be contingent upon performance; at least one ought to have to meet a certain set of standards. It is up to the individual to pull themselves together and become competitive in American life, in our economic life. No one nor government can make you equal, one has to do that for one’s self. If you want to really help someone, you must first require something of them. You have to make any reform given, subscribe to a set of performance goals. If they fail to perform, they fail to receive assistance. The Great Society of Lyndon Johnson asks nothing of people. You can not ask one segment of society to put their nose to the grindstone, and not the other. Indeed, we are going to remove responsibility completely off your shoulders. That form of reform is as sick and absurd as it is perverted. It robbed American citizens of the basic need of self-respect and personal autonomy. It made America what it is today, and I do not mean that as a compliment.

    A healthy democratic society has one basic trait in its foundation. They treat their citizens with respect. The most oppressive of societies are judged by how little dignity they afford their citizens. Were America the true Republic it was destined to be, homelessnes and hunger would not exist, as Democratic Republics put the livelihoods of their citizens, in the hands of their citizens.

    We are in possession of the failed system we see today, due to the unbridled lust for power by those on the left, who make allegations that they stand in the gap for the very citizens they destroy. All the while perpetuating and assuring their continued power and domination.

  9. The real question is “What does the Bible say about the real role of responsibilities of government?”

    First of all, “If a man will not work, he shall not eat” doesn’t say that 47% of Americans don’t want to work. You claim you’re being taken advantage of by lazy people, but when I ask you to show me all these lazy people, when I ask you how many there are, you say “There is no sure way to find out.” So you lack evidence for what you believe, but you’re sticking to it anyhow. Since your belief isn’t based on facts, you might ask yourself what it’s really based on.

    And Hank, the same goes for you. I challenged you to facts and arguments, not anecdotes and rhetoric. Anyhow, you’re just changing the subject because you can’t admit you were wrong about the false Lincoln quote.

    Secondly, where does the Bible say that helping the needy is beyond the “real role” and “responsibilities” of government to help the needy? Please cite chapter and verse. You seem to think that the Trinity wrote the American Constitution. God didn’t give Israel a constitutional democracy. He gave them a king! He gave them laws that allowed the poor to glean the fields of the rich! He gave them Jubilee Years in which debts were forgiven and people who’d lost their property got it back! In your terms, God looks like some kinda Marxist tyrant. He obviously doesn’t respect “property rights.”

    Here’s something the Bible actually says instead: James 1:27 – “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” Now does it say help orphans and widows through individual charitable contributions but don’t let the government take your money to help them? No. It says to help them, period. And why do you think government programs have sprung up in the first place? Obviously, because an awful lot of widows and orphans and other poor people whom the Old Testament makes clear God cares about weren’t being helped. So when you want to complain about the government helping the poor, remember this: it has to help them because aren’t helping enough.

    Deuteronomy 15:7 “If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother.”

    Deuteronomy 26:12 “When you have finished setting aside a tenth of all your produce in the third year, the year of the tithe, you shall give it to the Levite, the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied.”

    Leviticus 19:9-10 “’When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God.”

    Psalm 12:5 “‘Because of the oppression of the weak and the groaning of the needy, I will now arise,’ says the LORD. I will protect them from those who malign them.” Do you hear any maligning of the poor on the Schilling Show? You hear it all the time.

    Psalm 140:12 “I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy.”

    Proverbs 29:7 “The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.”

    Luke 6:33-34 “And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full.”

    Acts 2:44 “All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.”

    1 John 3:17 “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?”

  10. Ken, unless and until one can distinguish the difference between real love, concern and pity from simple co-dependent enabling, there is no way to maintain a truly intellectual discourse.

  11. That’s true, Hank. And you seem to think that merely stating it demonstrates that you do it and I don’t.

    Here’s another precondition for “truly intellectual discourse” – honesty. Honest debaters admit it when they’re clearly wrong on the facts. Dishonest ones get huffy and point fingers. Or they change the subject. You’ve done both, and I’m done talking to you.

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