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And, Now, Today's Most Foolish Quote

Before crunchy cons rush to embrace Daylight Saving Time because it supposedly promotes outdoorsmanship and family values, read the piece in today's WSJ by Michael Downing (no free link) -- he points out that consumerism is a big part of the motivation behind DST, because it lets golf courses operate later and so on. But then again, as I understand crunchy cons, they like a lot of regulations. So why not regulate time itself? Just another thing, apparently, that the government can't leave well enough alone. ~John Miller, The Corner

Since some view me as a sort of spokesman for crunchy conservatism, even though I am really more of a crunchy sympathiser, I am obliged to address this frivolous post as a perfect example of the sort of criticism the idea of crunchy conservatism receives on a regular basis.

Mr. Miller distinguishes himself with one of the most irrelevant and uninformed comments on the crunchies yet, which takes some doing. The crack about regulating time is just stupid. Having hours and clocks is already regulation of time, Mr. Miller--God did not give Moses a Rolex on Sinai.

I suspect if there were a specifically crunchy view of Daylight Savings Time, it would probably be a hostile one. As near as I can tell, and as Mr. Miller's own post hints, DST was created and has been spuriously justified ever since as an aid to the more efficient use of energy, the mobilisation of a more effective workforce and as a means to increase consumption. DST is a glaring symbol of the sorts of idiocies modern man will engage in for the sake of privileging efficiency. It is an example of much that the crunchies reject in contemporary life. Personally, I have always found DST inane and pointless.

But, then, since Mr. Miller doesn't understand anything about crunchy conservatism, he would have had no idea about any of that. He heard from somewhere that "crunchies like regulation," so he shut down all critical thinking and lapsed into precisely the ideological mindset Rod accuses so many contemporary conservatives of having. Mr. Miller serves as a good example that this critique is not that of a strawman or caricature, but of conservatives who have their passel of slogans and will not be bothered to think about what any of them mean or whether they are true or not.

For a much more intelligent and fair response, see Maxwell Goss' response to Rod's book at Right Reason here.

Update: As I have discovered, Mr. Miller is no fan of Daylight Savings Time (who is?). He tells us one of the reasons for the adoption of DST:

As Michael Downing points out in his new book, Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time, urban businessmen were a major force behind the adoption of DST in the United States. They thought daylight would encourage workers to go shopping on their way home.

Can anyone think of a more anti-crunchy, consumerist thing to do than fiddle with everyone's clocks to get them to buy more junk? No, of course not. Everything Mr. Miller catalogues about DST is a confirmation of the lunacy that the cult of efficiency imposes on ordinary people. Crunchy conservatism proposes a remedy to that lunacy--not that Mr. Miller would know about it. Had Mr. Miller had bothered to invest five minutes in learning something about the crunchy view of things, he would not have made a fool of himself.

Daniel Larison | March 31, 2006


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