1) Labor Day and the New York Times

Yesterday was Labor Day in the United States, an annual, national dedication to the social and economic achievements of America’s working public. In an age when the science of economics seems to mystify the Left, an age when some popular ideologies seem to see working as optional – an age when politicians are being elected who will help ensure that working is practically made optional – Labor Day is a welcome tribute to the contributions made by workers to their own economic strength, prosperity and social health.

The New York Times sees it a little differently in yesterday’s editorial. “Labor Day is a perfectly nice holiday, as good as a Monday off ever gets. But a Monday off is really just a wrinkle in time. … What we really need is Labor Week, a seven-day antidote to the very American habit of overworking.”

I had decided to try and respond to this editorial, until I realised how little it actually says and how redundant is the message between the lines. Suffice to say this: most Americans work because they know that they are inherently responsible for themselves, because they have the freedom to work and because they enjoy its results. I don’t expect the New York Times to know this, since those who make up its editorial staff appear to define the economy, like so many other characteristics of a free society, in purely negative terms. Oh to bask in the happiness of the companionship in that office.

2) Steve Irwin: Stingray Bait

I was refreshing my news feeds just before midnight on Sunday and saw the news that Steve Irwin, Crocodile Hunter, was killed after being hit by a stingray at the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Queensland, Australia. I don’t mean to be cavalier here, and I liked Steve Irwin, but I’m not sure that we should be so shocked that a man who made a name for himself deliberately flirting with the danger of the animal kingdom finally met his demise in such a manner. Nor am I sure that Steve Irwin would expect any sympathy; he seemed to take responsibility for himself in the face of society’s unbridled delinquency of that particular quality. In the original version of this post, I made a comment that some took as insensitive. That’s the last thing I want to be, since I thought Steve Irwin was a great entertainer and I wouldn’t like to dishonour him in any way. So I’ll leave you with two morals of this story. First, stand in awe of the amazing power of the natural world once in a while. Second, live life as Steve Irwin did: to its fullest.

3) How much for dead dinosaurs?

Gasoline prices have been dropping further here in the United States following a happy series of non-incidents, including the non-hurricanes that were supposed to happen this summer because of global warming, as posited by Andrew Sullivan (to whom I responded in this post on August 6th). Prices are currently around $2.70 per gallon in the immediate area here – about 37 pence per litre (compared with the UK’s average today of about 94 pence per litre, or $6.77 per gallon).

And Americans think $2.70 is expensive. In actual fact, the price of gasoline in the United States is cheaper now than it was in most previous decades in real terms. Don’t let the doom-mongers getcha down, folks. And don’t listen to those who claim that the oil companies are price-gouging. Firstly, it would be entirely within their rights to charge whatever they like for their product. Secondly, they don’t. The price of gasoline is determined by the price of crude oil, which is determined in turn by oil trading markets, which is based on the speculation of many rather than the control of a few.

Third, if you’re reading this from the United Kingdom, blame your government for the horrendous price of petrol: the difference (over $4.00 per gallon!) is accounted for wholly by taxation. Without wishing to sound like a raving insurrectionist; they don’t want you driving your cars, and they’re stealing from you in an attempt to stop you doing so. Don’t like it? Change your damned government. The world won’t end if you do.

John Wright