We agree on a lot. We disagree on at least parts of this. Office Space is hands down one of my favorite movies (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4OvQIGDg4I). And, I am all in favor of people working non-traditional hours as it fits their life. If people want to work four ten-hour days. I am all in favor. If people want to work 7-3 so that they can then run errands during the week or help coach a child's sports team. Also in favor. Or if people want to use the Google model where you must complete a certain number of projects every six months and if you want to work 80 hours a week and get everything done in four months so you can take two months off, I am in favor of that as well. But I am not in favor of people working less

Like every catholic pseudo-intellectual, I have read Piper. Obviously he makes some good points, or else he would not be so popular. But he also romanticizes. He imagines a pre-industrial past that never existed. Ask any farmer if they work a tight nine to five. They don't. The 40-hour work week was revolutionary precisely because it mandated so "little" work. People worked much longer hours prior to labor legislation in the 20th century. Granted, agrarian work is unevenly distributed throughout the year. There is less work and more leisure in the winter (which is why children go to school in the winter, as they are not needed in the fields during that time), and the work is often 18 hours a day, every day, in the summer. This work ethic was initially translated into the factories after the industrial revolution. The results were disastrous. Without the lull in work during the winter, people burned out. Our betters decided to simply redistribute the work more evenly over the course of the year. And, for manual labor this seems to have worked.

But we are at a second major kind of industrial revolution, and I guess this is my point here. The solution is not to do less work, but rather to redistribute the intellectual and/or digital labor in a better way. I just think it is really important to emphasize not working less. Industriousness got us the material prosperity we have today, not Piper. A material prosperity we too often take for granted. And I would point out that other countries seem to know our history better than we do. People complain about how much Chinese citizens have to work, and yes there are major problems here (mostly the absence of free will and self-determination), but they are really just following our playbook. It is dangerous for us as a society to start working less. To do so, in my opinion, is to admit defeat. It is decadence and decline. We often talk about the decline of Europe. Is it because they have no children? Is there a malaise? But then you have places like France where much of the population is guaranteed an entire month of vacation every year. Can you imagine a group of people taking an entire month off every year and then having the audacity to wonder why it is that their society is falling behind? I am not interested in being next in line for that insanity.

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Just to clarify, the “pseudo-intellectual” comment was not directed at you, Steve. If anything, it was directed at myself (especially since I misspelled his name). Pieper is just one of those 20th Century authors that other people told us to read (along with Senior and Von Hildebrand). And if we aren’t careful, we tend to think we know something about “tradition” or the “Catholic intellectual tradition” or about rebuilding a properly ordered society, merely by having read one of those texts. I am sure that is an encounter you have had many times, the “I read Trojan Horse in the City of God and let me now teach you about things” encounter. I apologize for the snark. An author who usually has decent ideas shouldn’t be so triggering. But here we are.

I enjoyed the essay. I hope all is well!

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