A Modest Proposal for a US Labor Day Every Month


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Happy Do Nothing Day.

By Edward Curtin


In a country with Mount Rushmore that celebrates ruthless and frenetic westward expansion, it might be a bit naïve to suggest a Do Nothing Day. National holidays are great – so many sales for stuff no one needs, and far too many people working on what is supposed to be a day off to honor work.

To rush less, to idle, and to do nothing sounds un-American, yet it might be a solution to many of the nation’s ills. Quixotic as it may sound, if every person in the country could be convinced to lay aside compulsive busyness for one day per month it would accomplish much.

Samuel Beckett said, “Nothing is more real than nothing.” It is the empty space out of which we come, the background silence for noise. Such a gift should not be shunned.

Doing nothing means: no work; no travel, except by foot or bicycle; no use of technology of any sort except stoves; no household repairs or projects; no buying or selling of any kind, including thinking of buying and selling. Simply being.

Businesses would be closed, factories would be idled, planes and trains grounded. Only emergency services would operate. Republicans and Democrats would add one more day to their monthly schedules of doing “nothing.”

Think of how much would be accomplished by doing nothing. People might dream, hear birds, even sing themselves; have conversations and feel the peace of a wild idleness.

Happy Labor Day.

Educated in the classics, philosophy, literature, theology, and sociology, Ed Curtin is a former professor of sociology. His writing on varied topics has appeared widely over many years.  He sees all his work as an effort to enhance human freedom.  


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