Saturday, 23 February 2019

How very old are all new ideas

G. K. Chesterton‏ said,
If we are uneducated, we shall not know how very old are all new ideas.

He lived at a time when there was nothing new under the sun, before third wave feminism, single sex marriage and transgender rights. It is true that male homosexuality was regarded as normal in the ancient world - so that is a very old idea indeed - but no-one in the ancient world ever imagined men could marry other men. 

Abortion and infanticide are old ideas, of course. Chesterton probably knew that Heliogabalus offered half the Roman Empire to the physician who could implant a vagina in him, though he could not have imagined these operations being commonplace and paid for by the British taxpayer. As a Liberal he strongly disapproved of old age pensions (liberals believed in freedom and low taxes in his day). He would have disapproved of the National Health Service as well as sex change operations. He would have also, no doubt, hated the use of the word gender to mean sex. 

He knew about mass immigration, for example by barbarians in the first millennium, and objecting to white privilege is a very old idea, though it was formerly mostly non-whites who objected to it. 

Still, it is clear that a lot of new ideas are around these days, and many of them are doing a powerful amount of harm if you ask me.

Chesterton's comment on women having careers:

The women of England said we shall not be dictated to and became stenographers.
Liberals have changed a lot since his day. Today I read:

Schools should be made to allow boys to wear skirts as part of a gender neutral uniform policy, an MP has said.

...The Liberal Democrat education spokesman is to table legislation for schools to be made to introduce gender neutral uniform policies to stop pupils being treated unfairly.
But men in skirts is an old idea in Scotland. 

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