A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from May 11, 2012
“God helps those whom God has helped”

"God helps those who help themselves” is an old proverb (not in the Bible, as many assume) that means that God rewards people who help themselves by their hard labors. “God helps those whom God has helped” is a variant that New York politician Mario Cuomo popularized in 1981 and during his years as New York’s governor (1983-1994).

Cuomo, a Democrat, often said that this was the Republican philosophy that God helps those whom God has already helped. In other words, the rich have been blessed by God (or the government), so they will continue to be blessed by God (or the government) with more riches. Cuomo sometimes added a remark that he felt typical of Republicans, “Who are we to presume on His will by trying to help you?”

The saying “God helps those whom God has helped” is still mostly associated with Mario Cuomo and has had limited popularity outside of his speeches.


Wikipedia: God helps those who help themselves
The phrase “God helps those who help themselves” is a popular motto that emphasizes the importance of self-initiative.

The phrase originated in ancient Greece, occurring in approximately equivalent form as the moral to one of Aesop’s Fables, Hercules and the Waggoner, and later in the great tragedy authors of ancient Greek drama. Although it has been commonly attributed to Benjamin Franklin, the modern English wording appears earlier in Algernon Sidney’s work.

The phrase is often mistaken for a Bible quote, but it appears nowhere in the Bible. Some Christians have criticized the expression as being contrary to the Bible’s message of God’s grace.

Wikipedia: Mario Cuomo
Mario Matthew Cuomo (/ˈkwoʊmoʊ/; June 15, 1932 – January 1, 2015) was an American politician and member of the Democratic Party. He served as the 52nd Governor of New York for three terms, from 1983 to 1994, Lieutenant Governor of New York from 1979 to 1982; and Secretary of State of New York from 1975 to 1978.

28 June 1982, Boston (MA) Globe, “Breslin: Still saucy after all these years” by Mike Wilson, Living, pg. 1:
Wrestling with a platitude, he (Jimmy Breslin—ed.) says, “God helps those whom God has helped.” He means, of course, that God helps those who help themselves, but then, Breslin’s nobody’s English teacher.

7 July 1983, Los Angeles (CA) Times, pg. 24:
Reagan and his allies “operate from a new ethical principle for this nation: ‘God helps those whom God has helped, and if he has chosen not to, who are we to on his judgment,” Cuomo told his audience, bringing roars of laughter.

8 December 1983, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “Preview of Future Campaigns? Deukmejian and Cuomo Meet in Debate” by William Endicott, pg. B3:
The New York governor (Mario Cuomo—ed.) said the GOP philosophy is that “God helps those whom God has helped and if He has left you out, who are we to presume on His will.”

Google Books
Diaries of Mario M. Cuomo:
The campaign for governor

By Mario Matthew Cuomo
New York, NY: Random House
1984
Pg. 13:
It is this part of my background that has always made it difficult for me to accept the so-called conservative idea that, when it comes to government’s redistributive function, “God helps those whom God has helped, and if He’s left you out, who are we to presume on His will?”
Pg. 467:
There is a powerful move toward a new ethic for government, one that says, “God helps those whom God has helped, and if God has left you out, who are we to presume on his will by trying to help you?”

New York (NY) Times
Ruminating on God, Cuomo Talks of Politics (and Cuomo)
By ALESSANDRA STANLEY
Published: October 16, 1991
(...)
Very quickly he (Mario Cuomo—ed.) turned from God to Caesar, denouncing a new ethic in the land in which “God helps those whom God has helped.” Anyone in the audience of more than 500 who didn’t recognize that new ethic as Republican was helped with references to savings-and-loan bailouts and inadequate health care for the poor.

New York (NY) Times
THE 1994 CAMPAIGN: THE APPEAL; Cuomo Visits Black Churchgoers in Queens as Pataki Sets Up a New Base in Rockland
By IAN FISHER
Published: October 17, 1994
(...)
“God helps those whom God has already helped and if he left you out, who are we to presume,” he (Mario Cuomo—ed.) said. “That’s the ethic I’m struggling against.”

Google Books
Reason to Believe
By Mario Matthew Cuomo
New York, NY: Simon & Schuster
1995
Pg. 57:
To the little boy let loose onto streets ruled by drug lords, to the pregnant sixteen-year-old, to the young man who knows his struggling school will never give him the skills to hold a real job, to the grandmother raising the child of the daughter she lost to crack cocaine — to all these despairing Americans, the Contract delivers this crude new ethic: “God helps those whom God has helped, and if God left you out, who are we to argue?”

Village Voice (New York, NY)
Andrew Cuomo’s Biggest Rival Won’t Be the G.O.P.
It’s Shelly Silver and the old-school Dems in his race to Governor

By Wayne Barrett Tuesday, Jun 8 2010
(...)
“God helps those whom God has helped” was Mario Cuomo’s refrain about tax cuts for the rich. Now his son, the man who exposed the gargantuan bonuses Wall Street continues to pay, is against taxing them.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Friday, May 11, 2012 • Permalink


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