Brief column about modesty, culture, and politics.
Full column here, bits below.
As a conservative, I dislike the idea of government taking upon itself the right to measure pant length or hip exposure. Yet such intrusions are inevitable if people lack the common sense – and common decency – to dress with at least some semblance of normality and decorum. People only stand for so much before they call for legal fences to protect them against bad neighbors.
That should serve as a broader warning for a society enmeshed in narcissism, immorality, and the general abandonment of truth. Moral erosion leads to anarchy. Anarchy threatens lives, which results in a popular call for the restoration of order. And, thus, fascism emerges in the guise of strident leadership proclaiming “bread and peace” (Bolshevism) or “one people, one empire, one leader” (Nazism) or “socialism builds and capitalism destroys” (Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez).
In his book Twelve Types, G.K. Chesterton wrote that “politeness … is everywhere understood and nowhere defined.” Such definition really is unnecessary, since the rites of courtesy are only the formalization of intuitive conscience, of the moral stirrings that cause us to help an elderly woman up a staircase or open a door for a mother with a stroller. Or keep one’s pants pulled up over his briefs.
How oft, in nations gone corrupt,
And by their own devices brought down to servitude,
That man chooses bondage before liberty.
Bondage with ease before strenuous liberty.
– John Milton