As far as I know, I have never watched people dancing nakedly in a bar-like setting. I can’t say as though I’m particularly excited about the notion of people dancing nakedly in a bar-like setting in my home province. But, beyond the effects that such naked dancing might have on the surrounding neighbourhood — noise, lecherous disorderliness, etc. — I don’t think my government should be expressing opinions or taking action on the naked dancing issue.
I don’t feel this way because I think governments shouldn’t involve themselves in the business of enhancing or policing morals-related issues — clearly there is at least some role to play for government there. A small one, but a role nonetheless.
No, I feel this way because when governments try to speak out on issues of morality, inevitably something approaching inane xenophobic ranting tends to result.
Witness this comment from our Premier on the naked dancing issue, as quoted by the CBC:
“I think P.E.I. is a fairly homogeneous society and our norms, and customs and values I think are such that we want to encourage sort of wholesome entertainment that reflects the history of this community. The Island community. And we just think that this kind of entertainment is going in the wrong direction and that’s not where we want to be.”
I gather that, if the Premier had his way, we would all be attending historical pageants wherein fully-clothed Scottish and Irish people would enact vignettes from the Island’s past.
Surely there has to be a way to express concern about the naked dancing, and even to work to control the unseemly parts of the naked dancing, without casting Prince Edward Island as some sort of chaste homeland for like-minded boring people?
One more tip for the premier: it’s probably not a good idea to be reinforcing to the media how PEI is a “fairly homogeneous society” in the middle of Pride Week. It makes you — and all of us — look more antediluvian than we should be striving for.