Why do (horrible) Republicans want us to work all the time?

Why do (horrible) Republicans want us to work all the time?

[Ed. –  Drinking game.]

The fuss will doubtless soon die down, but this bit of political theater has resurrected a very old debate about working hours, and could conceivably reawaken what I have called the forgotten American Dream. …

During the Industrial Revolution, Americans worked incredibly long hours. It was common for people to work from dawn to dusk, often into the night, six days a week—better than 60 to 70 hours a week with no vacation and few holidays. It was all very Dickensian— remember Bob Cratchit’s appeal to Scrooge for Christmas day off? …

The birth of the labor movement changed that. …
Through the last century, observers such as John Maynard Keynes, Julien Huxley, Dorothy Canfield Fisher and Eric Sevareid regularly predicted that soon America would enter an age of leisure in which we would chose to devote more and more of our lives to the “pursuit of happiness” promised in the Declaration of Independence. As technology created “labor-saving” machines and the economy grew, they reasoned, we would gradually be able to buy back more of our time from our jobs, preferring leisure to new goods and services that we had never needed, or even seen before.

Then real progress would begin. Humane and moral progress. Instead of perpetual consumerism and the infinite increase in material wealth, we would naturally turn to improving the human condition, learning how to live together “wisely, agreeable, and well,” as Keynes put it.

Progress would then take the form of healthier families, communities and cities—the increase of knowledge, the enjoyment of nature, history and other peoples, an increasing delight in the marvels of the human spirit, the practice of our beliefs and values together, the finding of common ground for conviviality, expanding our awareness of God, wondering in Creation.

These lofty sentiments mixed with the ordinary delights: slow meals together (Ralph Waldo Emerson), conversations in the evening (Henry David Thoreau), dancing the night away (William Ellery Channing), singing in the choir (Jonathan Edwards), “observing a spear of summer grass” (Walt Whitman), reading and talking about books (Robert Hutchins), playing amateur sports (Fannia Cohn) and walking around Central Park in the dead of winter (Elizabeth Hasanovitz).


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