It must be silly season when Paxo's newly grown beard attracts controversy. But as it is silly season, I think it is time to speak up in defence of beards. I have always felt that historically the clean-shaven have represented the forces of repression. Romans, Normans and Nazis were all notoriously anti-beard.
I also wonder if it is any coincidence that when capitalism was in its progressive and creative phase, in the early nineteenth century, there was a rich variety of expression in facial hair. Ever since, as capitalism has plunged into decline and degeneration, facial hair has been pushed to the margins of beatniks and hipsters. To the point that these days you would be hard pushed to find a bearded senior banker.