Benjamin Franklin (January 17, 1706 – April 17, 1790) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. (from here)
“Instead of cursing the darkness, light a candle.” ― Benjamin Franklin (from here)

AccuWeather has a poll (here) with this question.

Do you think daylight saving time is necessary?

When I saw the results, I just laughed. What is the primary reason for daylight saving time? Some merchants like it because they think it leads to an increase in sales for outdoor products, but this just illustrates the ease with which some politicians can be bought.

Did you know daylight saving time started as a joke?

American inventor and politician Benjamin Franklin wrote an essay called “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light” to the editor of The Journal of Paris in 1784. In the essay, he suggested, although jokingly, that Parisians could economize candle usage by getting people out of bed earlier in the morning, making use of the natural morning light instead. (from here) credits someone else with the idea, but observes that Franklin had a role.

The creation of DST is usually credited to George Vernon Hudson, a New Zealand artist and amateur bug collector who first proposed the idea in an 1895 paper, but 100 years earlier, Benjamin Franklin, inventor of all things useful, pondered a similar question in a letter to the editor of the Journal of Paris.
Here is the letter.  It is a priceless example of deadpan humor.

Benjamin Franklin’s
Essay on Daylight Saving

Letter to the Editor of the Journal of Paris, 1784

The Journal of Paris



You often entertain us with accounts of new discoveries. Permit me to communicate to the public, through your paper, one that has lately been made by myself, and which I conceive may be of great utility.

I was the other evening in a grand company, where the new lamp of Messrs. Quinquet and Lange was introduced, and much admired for its splendour; but a general inquiry was made, whether the oil it consumed was not in proportion to the light it afforded, in which case there would be no saving in the use of it. No one present could satisfy us in that point, which all agreed ought to be known, it being a very desirable thing to lessen, if possible, the expense of lighting our apartments, when every other article of family expense was so much augmented. (continued here)

What Franklin proposed as a joke is now reality, but I doubt he would be surprised. After his long life, it is good bet Franklin well understood the foolishness of which we are capable.


    1. @Shadowfax

      Works for some people, but the point of setting a common standard, which the Constitution charters the Federal Government to do, is so that when we talk about time, weight, distance and so forth, we are all talking about same thing. When our government uses the standards it sets for time, weight, distance, and other measures to manipulate our behavior, that’s a dubious practice, at best.

      Imagine, the sake of safety, some bright politicians decide to halve the length of a mile. Therefore, when you read the speedometer and it says 80, you are really only going 40 mps. Those guys just figure we would be too dumb to figure it out. Of course, some people would be, unfortunately.

      Anyway, I doubt you need DST. Most bosses permit flex time these days. Odds are your boss would be happy to let you come to work early.


      1. Obviously DST is not necessary. Like you say, I could just wake up earlier. The problem is most people in our country are night owls now, so I figure keeping DST wouldn’t hurt anyone.


        1. @Shadowfax

          Thanks for the comment.

          DST is relatively harmless, but a house is destroyed by termites one nibble at a time.

          We each have our little fetishes, things we treasure. What politicians often do is buy our votes by forcing other citizens to accept our fetishes. Meanwhile, they buy the votes of those other citizens by forcing us to accept the fetishes of those other citizens. That is, government empowers fetishes by forcing everyone else adopt them. Thus, politicians love fetishes most of all.

          Want some examples? Same-sex marriage. Mortgage deduction. Money for Planned Parenthood. Social Security and Medicare. Affirmative action. Subsidies for “clean energy”. Government subsidized sports stadiums. Roads for developers. And so it goes. Obviously, some of the nibbles can get quite big.

          Government exists to protect our rights. It does not exist so that we can force someone else to do something they don’t want to do. Yet we have reached the point that most of what our government’s activity involves giving us our rights (our fetishes) at someone else’s expense.

          Liked by 1 person

  1. Ha! What a fun post.

    I dislike daylight savings and would very much like to move to Arizona or somewhere where people are sensible and have rejected the whole notion. Hawaii would be even better however, because their sun pretty much rises and sets at the same time year round.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @insanitybytes22

      It is a seemingly trivial little thing, but it can be expensive. When the rascals started moving the DST start and stop dates, it ruined an expensive alarm clock. Had to buy another.

      Not many people care much for DST. Yet there it is. To me it is just a solid indication of the problems that arise when we give politicians too much power. The more we let them buy our votes, the harder they are to control. The greater the busybodies they become. Really, that is the reason for identity politics. The scoundrels among them love to divide us into little groups. They want each group so madly focused on one stupid issue they lose sight of everything else. Of thousands of seeming trifles like DST.

      Hawaii definitely has the better weather, but I expect Arizona has a better political climate.

      Liked by 1 person

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