Saturday, 10 September 2011

The Naked Truth and Public Nudity in San Francisco

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Selwyn DukeThere currently is a debate raging over public nudity in San Francisco.

It’s not what you think.

It’s already entirely legal to parade about in the buff on the city’s streets, and no one is discussing the resurrection of indecent-exposure laws. Rather, the question is whether sanitary behavior — namely, posterior protection for public seating — should be required of nudists by law.

Reports the Los Angeles Times:

Retired math teacher David Goldman and his husband, Michael Koehn, were sharing a pleasant alfresco moment at a public plaza in the heart of the Castro district this week, passing a slender joint between them (medicinal, of course), as Eric Anderson sunbathed one table over. Naked.

Resplendent in flip-flops, hoop earrings and a sheen of Coppertone, the out-of work retail manager, 44, had draped a lime-green sarong between flesh and public seating.

Naturists call such posterior protection “normal etiquette.” But San Franciscans soon may call it the law.

Given what is casually related in the above excerpt, it’s clear that, regrettably, public nudity is quite congruent with San Franciscan norms. Yet, while some may not know enough to cover up in Western Civilization, they certainly know enough to don a lexical cover-up. That is to say, notice how the Times refers to these nudists as “naturists.” But what is a naturist? Is this someone who believes in eating only organic foods or living deep in a forest sans the trappings of modernity? My point is that when one euphemizes, when he discards a word that describes well what he does in favor of a far less specific term (think “pro-choice” in place of “pro-abortion”), it often indicates that what he does isn’t something of which to be proud. It often means that he has to use slick marketing language to sell his agenda because it doesn’t sell itself.

It’s also clear that, if I may get snarky for a moment, any term applied by these nudists would likely be prettier than they are. Why is it that those who feel compelled to parade about au natural never seem to be pulchritudinous young women or Adonis-like lads? Why do they always seem to be – and an example is found in a picture accompanying the Times’ article – long-in-the-tooth AARP rejects halfway to prunedom? A lot of these folks would indignantly say that they’re not ashamed of their bodies. But, to steal a line from Jerry Seinfeld, that’s their problem. They should be.

Yet treating this topic with only mockery would be a shame, as it raises a very deep issue. Notice how no one is debating the morality of public nudity; rather, the only worry here is how it may impact upon health. This phenomenon is all too common nowadays. For example, San Francisco cannot do enough to advance the homosexual and transgender agenda. Yet the City by the Gay, that supposed font of tolerance and personal freedom, prohibits smoking in virtually all public areas – even outdoors.

Then there are the statists who have outlawed spanking. It doesn’t matter if a parent thinks it’s necessary to prevent transgression against morality, they’re told that it’s a transgression against the body. We’re also informed that if parents allow their nine-year-old son to wear dresses and make-up because he “feels like a girl deep down,” they’re enlightened and open-minded. Yet if junior feels like a glutton deep down and wears 10 extra layers of fat, statists say that he should be seized by social services because his parents are endangering his health. Does anyone see a pattern here?

This is the replacement of traditional morality with Cult of the Body concerns.

And it is absolutely, positively a result of godlessness.

Anyone well-schooled in philosophy understands that a corollary of atheism is moral relativism, the idea that what is called “morality” is simply a function of consensus opinion. Of course, if this is the case, we cannot really say that right and wrong exists. After all, we wouldn’t say that chocolate was “wrong” upon learning that 90 percent of humanity prefers vanilla; all we could logically say is that most people don’t happen to like it. We understand that it’s a matter of taste. Yet how does it make any more sense to say that murder is “wrong” if the only reason we thus contend is that most of humanity prefers that one not kill in a way we label unjust? If it’s simply a function of preference, then, as with flavors, it is also just a matter of taste.

Secular statists (SS) — and that term is almost redundant — tacitly acknowledge as much all the time. It is precisely what they mean when parroting mantras such as “Don’t impose your values on me!” “That is your truth; someone else’s may be different” or “Right and wrong is a matter of perspective.” It is why they avoid the term “morality” and instead speak of “values,” which is more associated with human opinion.  

So, denying the existence of a spiritual realm, the SS cannot believe in that transcendent thing originating within it: morality. Yet they certainly believe in what they see, the material realm. And they certainly care about material things — one of which is the body. Oh, “sin” (especially the sexual variety) may just be a concern of superstitious knuckle-draggers who worship sky fairies, but sins against the body are very real. And they must be stamped out with the zeal of a medieval inquisitor.

So, while the SS are the first to complain about the imposition of values, it really is only your values that they have a problem with. Theirs should just naturally become the stuff of laws.

Of course, this is contradictory. For if everything is a matter of preference, the SS’s “values” cannot be any more “right” than yours and violating them cannot be “wrong.” However, in their relativistic, if-it-feels-good-do-it universe, inconsistency and hypocrisy cannot be wrong, either. Like occultist Aleister Crowley, they must logically believe, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.” And this explains the absolutist behavior of professed relativists.  

The SS’s obsession with health is easily explainable, too. Not only is the body certainly real, to them death is frighteningly final. Not believing in anything beyond this world, they often become obsessed with staying in this world as long as possible. So while a Christian may quote Jesus and say “Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul,” the body is all the SS have. And anything that threatens it — smokers, socialized-medicine opponents, global-warming skeptics, or bare bottoms — can become the Devil in their minds.