On Labor

“One of the greatest mysteries in the world is the success that lies in conscientious work…Our country does not believe in idleness. It honors hard work” — Calvin Coolidge, The Autobiography, p.100, 243. America cannot honor the worker and believe in indolence or sloth at the same time. Work is the prerogative of intelligence and measure of civilization, as Cal said, and no nation can embrace idleness and survive.

All future progress will belong to those who honor hard work. Decay and death await both individuals and nations who neglect effort, presuming its rewards will forever come by someone else’s labor. Lincoln knew no house could stand which adopts the regime that says, “You toil and work and earn bread and I’ll eat it. No matter in what shape it comes, whether from the mouth of a king who seeks to bestride the people of his own nation and live by the fruit of their labor or from one race of men as an apology (justification) for enslaving another race. It is the same tyrannical principle.” Embracing this ideology of laziness is the road back to despots and tyranny not forward to any semblance of the Founders’ vision of liberal progress.

The Importance of the Obvious

In Robert A. Woods’ fascinating little book entitled, “The Preparation of Calvin Coolidge,” the author recounts the numerous ways Coolidge advanced American labor. Coolidge backed policies that improved conditions for everyone, not merely one interest group over that of another. Through cutting state executive government down from 120 agencies to 19, Coolidge enabled the people of Massachusetts to keep more of their wages every week for themselves instead of sending up increasing quantities in taxes to Boston. He supported the decrease of work hours because it helped those who worked…not simply those who led unions, even though, ironically, it originally had the firm opposition of organized manufacturers. Known for his principled stand for law and order, he not only backed Commissioner Curtis for refusing to reinstate 19 police officers after they led most of the department on strike in September 1919. Having become affiliated with the American Federation of Labor…

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