Imagine my surprise when the Economist told me that President Duterte made two quotes in his inaugural speech: “Abraham Lincoln, expressing mildly laissez-faire views; and Franklin Roosevelt, expressing gently left-leaning sentiments.”
Oh, I wasn’t surprised that Duterte made contradictory quotes! No, I was surprised that Abraham Lincoln expressed “mildly laissez-faire views.” What might those be? Well, here is the quote from Duterte’s speech: “And from Lincoln I draw this expression: ‘You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong; you cannot help the poor by discouraging the rich; you cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer; you cannot further brotherhood by inciting class hatred among men.’”
That certainly would be mildly laissez-faire! The thing is that the quote isn’t from Lincoln. Nope, it’s from William Boetcker, a Presbyterian minister, written in 1916.