Compare and contrast:  While the mine owners were happy to employ children as young as six years old down the mines on shifts up to ten hours long (boys and girls) society was concerned to imprison homosexuals.  And just limiting their punishment to imprisonment was considered enlightened thinking.  You don’t have to go much farther back in time to find men in Britain being executed for having sex with other men.

What is regarded as disgusting now that we’ve become a little more sophisticated?

While we still haven’t quite got there in terms of respecting the idea that people’s sexuality is something they don’t have perfect intellectual control over, we’ve certainly made the leap to appreciating that children deserve an education, and that society reaps enormous benefits from paying for it.

There’s the old saying, if you think education’s expensive, wait til you see the cost of ignorance.

I hope we can all agree that employing children as young as five to work a ten a ten hour shift six days a week is disgusting.  We can?  That’s progress for you.

The enlightened and more concerned elite types at the time would say things like “Children younger than nine should not be employed.  There should be a law against it.”  When the youngest employed children are five, suggesting nine as a lower limit seems pretty sophisticated!

And now there are laws governing the employment of young children.  In Britain at least.  That’s not to stop British shops stocking produce being sourced from countries where nice cheap child sweat-shop labour is still readily available.

We still have some way to go.

Disgusting is a happily used boo word.   It has its roots in natural human aversion, which is why it’s such a powerful word to use against any practice you wish to denigrate.

I find religion disgusting, for example.

Whenever I come across people pretending to themselves that there’s an invisible entity that looks after them or punishes them (according to their innate prejudice)  it literally makes me feel queasy.

To see people wallowing in ignorance like that, and imagining that that ignorance grants them some form of virtue, is truly offensive to me.


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