Culture War In A String Bikini – Asbury Park to be Invaded by Agorists!
Yesterday I posted about a fun little news wave sweeping the country, centered around my hometown of Asbury Park, New Jersey deciding whether to enforce a 50-year-old ban on bathing suits on the boardwalk. Some swimmers (posers, really) push the limits of decorum by limiting the amount of material they call a bathing suit, to the chagrin of the more high-browed and punctilious board walkers.
I wondered if this was indicative of a socially conservative backlash to the socially liberal policies of the Obama Administration.
In keeping with the scientific maxim that every action has an equal and opposite reaction, along comes a counter-backlash, but it’s not exactly from the American left.
Some folks in Asbury Park are scheduling Saturday, July 14, 2012 as a day where everyone should come to the boardwalk wearing “skimpy swimsuits” as an anti-statist measure of protest.
But look closely at their advertisement. The invite goes out not only to the usual Asbury Park rabble of artists and musicians (they’re always around anyway), but also to all “Agorists.”
Agorists?!?! What fun!
Agorism is a Libertarian sandwich flavored with market economy and anarchy. Picture a free market so free there is no government restriction on selling anything currently illegal (Counter Economy), a nation with no borders or foreign policy, unregulated pharmaceuticals and no social mores regarding relationships. Sort of like Sodom and Gomorrah, but with banking.
One wonders if this is how ghettos are created (I use ghetto in its Venetian sense meaning “like people in one place,” devoid of issues of poverty which attached itself to the definition in later centuries).
Assume Asbury Park becomes a place where skin is in and modesty is out. There go the families from the boardwalk. Say goodbye to the modest, the churchgoers and the elderly (except weird elderly like Jerry Sandusky). Asbury Park will become a ghetto of the decadent, which will be a mistake for the city because the decadent don’t have a lot of money to spend on touristy things. Wealthy suburbanites looking for a beach day do, and they prefer the company of the clothed.
It will be an interesting issue for the courts to tackle. I envision some semi-nudist challenging the bathing suit ban and the court having to decide if Asbury Park has a legitimate government interest in preserving decorum in an area where they are trying to sell a product to those who respect decorum. There seems to be precedent for it, if not in law then at least in the marketplace, as I have been to plenty of businesses that require collared shirts or jackets and ties (conceding those are not public thoroughfares).
Rather than the courts, this culture war will have to be fought out on the boardwalk itself. However, the barely-dressed hold the upper hand. Others will certainly stay away not to see them, while the reverse is not true – no man in a bikini has ever claimed to be uncomfortable by seeing someone clothed.
Post script: Ricochet member Conservative Episcopalian had a good idea: To shame the public nudies, we should take photos of them and put them on a website. I fully expect CE in Asbury Park, camera clicking, on July 14. Try not to get arrested.