Daylight time at last

Parvusimperator gave me an attaboy for writing something so topical as the go tournament posts, so here’s another topical one for you.

We come now to my favorite time of the year: that time when, at long last, we cast off the gloomy shackles of winter and leap forward into the boundless delights of spring and summer.

If you haven’t guessed, I’m in favor of summer time; or rather, I’m in favor of summer time year-round1. For this position I can cite manifold justifications.

First: when it comes to which hours are daylight hours, there is no clear economic benefit either way. Standard time and Daylight time are identical.

Second: switching between Standard and Daylight time results in, by some people’s figures, half a billion dollars of lost productivity. Now we’re getting somewhere: clearly, we shouldn’t switch.

Third: daylight hours are more useful in the evening than in the morning. This is so obvious as to require no explanation, but I’ll go into it a little bit anyway, in case you need convincing.

Nobody likes driving into work when it’s dark out. I understand this. At the same time, in any place where daylight saving time matters, if you wait until it’s light outside to drive to work, you’ll likely be driving home from work when it’s dark. The only time in which you’re truly free to use daylight, if you’re one of the vast majority of people who work during the day, is in the evening, and therefore you should not freely part with your evening daylight.

There are some people who like to run in the mornings, for which daylight is an advantage. Leaving aside that these people, who are looking to run outside when the weather is at its coldest, are clearly madmen (and I say that as a runner), permanent daylight time does not significantly change the calculus. If you wait until the sun comes up to go into work, you’re going to be coming back when the sun’s going down anyway; you don’t lose anything.

Then, of course, we come to summertime: a season defined in large part, for large parts of the world, by long, pleasant evenings. Those evening hours, especially for those of us living in places which see a lot of rain, snow, and cold during the rest of the year, are some of the most precious times of the year. Surrendering that time for four hours of daylight before work is perilously silly, and frankly un-American.

So yeah. I’m ambivalent-to-negative on the whole clock-changing thing, but if we are going to settle on one time, it has to be daylight time. If you want permanent standard time, well, I’m more than ready to argue that we should keep changing the clocks, because daylight time is just straight-up better.

1. I accept that there are places, like Arizona, where an extra hour of daylight in otherwise-usable hours of the summer evenings is a bad idea, but they can just take the opposite position that I’m taking here.

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