While it is unknown who the first individual to declare that “everything old is new again,” it is nevertheless obvious (at least to older Americans) that old fashions return to being popular time and again. This article is not intended to define behavior that is right or wrong, or to categorize the level of rightness or wrongness of any particular activity. Rather, the purpose of this article is to discuss how certain “modern” concepts on sex and gender are simply old fashions that have become popular again in recent times, and the implications that follow.
Refashioned Progressive Ideas
Alternative sexual practices (other than those between a man and a woman), cross-dressing, and non-fixed gender identity (currently referred to as “gender fluidity”) are three practices that have experienced what appears to be a significant increase in popularity over the last few decades, but which have historically been mislabeled. While these concepts have in many instances been sold to Americans by self-described “progressives” as "modern" ideas, the reality is something quite different. While there are some who would argue that such practices were defined more recently by new thinkers (such as Kate Bornstein, the author and gender theorist who made use of the term “gender fluidity” in her 1994 book Gender Outlaw), in order to help us break free from an oppressive past. They are not. They are actually ancient concepts that have existed for thousands of years.
Modern progressives often point to biblical laws and commandments from the Old Testament (the Tanakh of the Hebrew Bible) as representing “old” ideas that are out-of-date and in dire need of replacement. However, in labeling their preferred ideas on sex and gender as “progressive,” these individuals seem to forget (or are unaware) that references to alternative sexual practices can easily be found within the pages of the Bible (for examples, see chapter 18 of the Book of Leviticus). In regards to the practice of cross-dressing, it is possible that these same individuals are unaware that the Bible includes reference to this particular practice (found in chapter 22 in the Book of Deuteronomy). Either way, we know, or at least should know, that these practices are not in any way new, nor do they represent modern concepts.
Another frequently mislabeled concept is non-fixed gender identity, which has recently been re-labeled as “gender fluidity.” Even though the Bible does not address the practice as we know it today, this does not make it new. A general internet search using the phrase “historic examples of gender fluidity” provides multiple instances of this concept being practiced across cultures and history, and throughout the ancient world. In what may be the oldest example, ancient Egypt had at least one non-fixed gender deity (Shai when female, and Shait when male), and one author has gone so far as to argue that gender identity (which the reviewer in the previous link incorrectly refers to as “sexual identity,” but which is actually a separate concept) among the ancient Egyptian ruling class was as fluid as it is becoming in our own century. Gender fluidity, by whatever name you wish to call it, is without a doubt another old, historic practice.
But why does this matter?
From what we have seen, we can confirm that our society’s use of the word “progressive” to describe present-day alternative ideas (for the sake of clarity, I will call them anti-Biblical ideas) on sex and gender is, and has always been, incorrect. These “contemporary” concepts on alternative sexual practices, cross-dressing, and non-fixed gender identity are in fact very old. Moreover, these concepts are just as old (and possibly even older) as the Laws and Commandments found in the Bible which oppose them. The reality is that all of the various practices that we see being repackaged over the last few decades and increasing in popularity with the advent of the internet, and in the last decade with social media, have been with us for eons. In other words, when it comes to these progressive ideas regarding sex and gender, there is “nothing new under the sun.”
Progressive Ideas Need Better Defenses to be Taken Seriously
Consequently, our society should no longer enable nor tolerate the claims of modern progressives that their sex and gender practices are novel improvements, that should replace the old out-of-date practices on the same subject. Furthermore, because these ideas are just as old as the concepts they oppose, there is no justification to permit the progressive concepts to be identified as more “evolved” than their Biblical counterparts. In other words, the way to describe the present-day war of ideas on sex and gender is not “new” versus “old,” but instead simply as a battle between two ancient but divergent concepts on human nature. Human beings have been aware of, and have struggled with these conflicting ideas for millennia, from ancient history right up to the present day. While it is true that technology advances year-over-year for things like automobiles, computers, phones, etc., even a cursory review of history shows us that nothing much changes in the battle of ideas over human nature.
Progressives over the last half century or so have promoted the assumption that “new is better” when it comes to ideas on sex and gender, particularly when targeting younger audiences. While this argument may correctly be applied to various machines and devices like your iPhone, it does not apply in the case of alternate sexual practices, cross-dressing, and non-fixed gender identity. For as has been demonstrated above, these concepts are not new, and instead, have been recycled from the distant past. While the terminology may have changed over time, the concepts are the same. What we see today is yet another example that everything old is somehow “new” again.
Now that we have open eyes and can see the reality of the situation, those who are advocating for these practices should now be required to use some other metric to demonstrate the superiority of their ideas.
I look forward to that debate.
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