The Corner

Pogonophobia

Dan – You relative newbies need to consult the wisdom of the ancients your slightly older colleagues. You cannot discuss the role of facial hair in politics without referencing the grand tradition of pogonophobia posts in the Corner.

For example, brother Steyn 2005:

I like John Bolton’s moustache, which seems to me rather Balkan, and thus potentially discombobulating for European foreign ministers.

On the broader subject of the rampant pogonophobia in Western politics, as one of the more hirsute National Review contributors, I note that the Brookhiser thesis on transatlantic facial hair fashions never extended to Canadian public life. Even in the great 19th-century heyday of political beards, when America had Ulysses S Grant and the British Empire reached its zenith under the magnificent shrubbery of the Marquess of Salisbury, Canadian prime ministers were already fully depilated. In so many malign trends—shaving, multiculturalism, government health care—as Canada goes today so America goes tomorrow.

Personally I pine for the old days when beards were all but compulsory for effective political leaders. In ancient Egypt, you’ll recall, Queen Hatshepsut felt obliged to go around in a false beard in order to enhance her credibility. Were Senator Clinton to do this, she’d be assured of my support.

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