Jon Sanders

Toward the end of Hamlet, the Queen remarks, "One woe doth tread upon another's heel, so fast they follow." I was reminded of her doleful remark Wednesday as the president promoted his latest inane budget-busting panacea.

In the president's remarks and his press secretary's attempted clarification, the rapid succession of woeful comments were treading all over themselves.

While tweaking Congress its vote last night to re-affirm America's motto, "In God We Trust," Obama responded, "I trust in God, but God wants to see us help ourselves by putting people back to work."

 This afternoon [White House press secretary] Jay Carney expanded on the president's theological musings, by repeating the truism, "Well, I believe the phrase from the Bible is, 'God helps those who help themselves.'"

I won't waste time on what to our readership is obvious (it's not a Bible quotation, the president doesn't speak for God, etc.) and what by now should be obvious to any even remotely sentient being: government is patently awful at job creation. Still, not only do the American president and his mouthpiece not know that the proverb "God helps them that help themselves" entered the American conscience by one of the Founders of this nation, Benjamin Franklin, but -- more importantly -- they have no inkling that it instructs self-reliance, not government dependence.

In short, Obama and Carney got the proverb's origin and meaning completely, absolutely, fully wrong. They took a liberating maxim from one of the nation's Founders and processed it into a state-enslaving command from God. This compounded foul-up is perfectly emblematic of the Obama style of governing, a religion of ignorance.

The Way to Wealth

Writing under the pseudonym Poor Richard Saunders, from 1732 to 1757 Benjamin Franklin published Poor Richard's Almanack annually, packing it with the expected calendars, weather tips, stories, poems, etc. Franklin also added many proverbs he gleaned and honed from the collected wisdom over the years along with some of his own invention. They praised industry, thrift, and sensibility, and they did so with a fetching wit. They include:


Jon Sanders

Jon Sanders is associate director of research at the John Locke Foundation in Raleigh, N.C.