A little Idle Theory:
The One Good of Idle Theory is idle time, or free time. Freedom is free time, and it’s measured in hours. It’s what most working people experience at weekends. And a weekend is an extended Sunday sabbath day. It’s a day of religious observance that has expanded into a fuzzy period of not so much going to church, but instead sitting and watching TV.
In fact most working people have quite a lot of idle time during their working week. They’ll typically work about 8 hours a day, and then have 8 hours of free time in the evenings, and finally 8 hours of sleep. So the whole 7 day week looks a bit like this:
Each of the 7 days of the week is broken into three 8-hour periods of time. And so a typical working week has 40 hours of work (black), 72 hours of idle time (white), and 56 hours of sleep (grey).
Sleep is something that everyone seems to have to do. It’s pretty much a fixture. In one sense, sleep is idle time: you’re not doing anything. But in another sense, sleep is work, because it’s something that has to be done, even though you’re not actually doing anything when you sleep. Sleep is compulsory inactivity.
So the waking week has 7 days of 16 hours each, totalling 112 hours. And during this period 72 hours are are spent idle. So working people are 72/112 or 64% idle.
I’m different. Now that I’m past the age of 65, and (semi-)retired, I’m 100% idle. Writing this blog isn’t work. Nobody pays me to write it.
Children under the age of 18 are also 100% idle. They may be going to school during the same hours that their parents are working, but they’re not working to produce anything like their parents are. The only people working in schools are the teachers who are trying to hammer a little knowledge into the schoolkids’ heads. They’re being paid, and the schoolkids aren’t.
And so, using the same colour-coding as above, a 70 year working lifetime looks a bit like this:
These are all very rough outline numbers. Everybody’s life is different. Some people work a lot more than 8 hours a day, and some people a lot less. Some people start their working lives earlier than at age 18, some later. Some people retire at age 60 or earlier, and some never retire at all.
In the past, it was very different. In Britain during the industrial revolution, factory workers sometimes worked 12 – 14 hours a day, and went home to simply fall asleep exhausted. And many of them were children much younger than 18.
In antiquity, slaves were kept busy working for their entire waking lives. They were 0% idle. In Athens there were 13 slaves for every free man. And so the idleness of Athenian society was about 7%.
If we live much idler lives these days, it’s almost entirely thanks to science and technology. We don’t need slaves because we have machines to do most of our work for us. For example, I’ve got a washing machine in which I wash my clothes. Outside my flat, I’ve got a car that I drive to supermarkets to go shopping. I’m writing this blog post using another machine. I used once to have a TV set. None of these machines existed 100 years ago. Social idleness in advanced civilisation has risen from 7% to 76% over the past 2300 years. Economic growth is above all growth in social idleness.
Rich people are idle people. Someone who makes a fortune frees themselves of the necessity of doing any work. Donald Trump is a very rich man. He made his money by making and selling something: buildings. He’s not working as President of the United States because he needs the money. In fact he’s waived the salary that comes with the job. He’s doing the job because he wants to do it in his idle time, much like I write my blog because that’s what I want to do in my idle time.
And that’s the great thing about idle time. You can do whatever you want in it.
And one thing that people do in their idle time is make things that enable idle time to be passed more pleasantly. They make chess sets to play chess games. They make footballs to play football. They make movies for people to watch. Or music for people to listen to. Or write works of fiction for people to read, Or beer for people to drink. Or cigarettes for people to smoke. And they sell these various products to people who want them. If all our science and technology has liberated us from most of the work we used to have to do, we can then use the same science and technology to invent amusements and pastimes in which to happily fritter away our idle hours.
…unless we are banned from smoking. Or banned from drinking. Or banned from reading books. Or banned from listening to music.
Such bans remove freedom. They don’t add to it: they subtract from it. They hedge it around with restrictions.
Tobacco Control is a thief. It is stealing our freedom. It is attempting to enslave us.
And that’s why Tobacco Control must be destroyed.
Tomorrow I’ll continue looking at Tobacco Control’s smoking bans, but from a slightly different perspective, to show another way in which smoking bans subtract from freedom, rather than add to it.
Speaking of bloggers, Bucko the Moose has just started writing his blog again. I’ll add him to my blog roll. The more the merrier.