Daylight Saving Time and Benjamin Franklin

Daylight Saving Time is a thorn in my side.

Politician: What time is it?
Scientist: What time would you like it to be?

It is my firm belief that

  1. Daylight Saving Time doesn't do any real good.
  2. Daylight Saving Time does real harm.
  3. Politicians love Daylight Saving Time because it's easy and at least it looks good.

One of the points that my congresswoman brought up is that Daylight Saving Time was originally proposed by a founding father of the US, and that therefore it must be a good idea.  (Exercise: what logical fallacy is this?)

Today I decided to actually look up the original proposal and found it quite enlightening.

Benjamin Franklin's 1784 letter to the Journal de Paris (English translation)

The full article is well worth reading, but this quote will illustrate my point:

I believe all who have common sense, as soon as they have learnt... that it is daylight when the sun rises, will contrive to rise with him; and, to compel the rest, I would propose the following regulations...

let a tax be laid... on every window that is provided with shutters...

[let] no family be permitted to be supplied with more than one pound of candles per week...

Let guards also be posted to stop all the coaches, &c. that would pass the streets after sunset...

Every morning, as soon as the sun rises, let all the bells in every church be set ringing; and if that is not sufficient?, let cannon be fired in every street, to wake the sluggards effectually, and make them open their eyes to see their true interest. 

Yes, Benjamin Franklin was the first to propose a law encouraging people to get up early.

But he was joking.

Comments (1)

  1. Ed Hird says:

    Benjamin Franklin had a remarkable impact in so many ways. A Benjamin Franklin article just received the ‘Top 100 Electricity Blogs’ Award

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