History’s offenders put our progress on the affront page

History’s offenders put our progress on the affront page, by Brendan O’Neill.

In all the ink spilt and fury tweeted over Bill Leak’s indigenous dad cartoon, one word has cropped up again and again: offensive. Leak’s cartoon was “extremely offensive”, said [the ABC’s] Media Watch host Paul Barry. …

Saying “I’m offended by that!” has become a shortcut to the moral high ground. It’s a way of advertising your heightened moral awareness.

Consider that Greenpeace comment again: “We are saddened and upset by the offensive Bill Leak cartoon.” We, we, we.

This is about Greenpeace, not cartoons or indigenous communities. In telling us how sad it felt, Greenpeace is really saying “WE CARE, OK?” That’s the motivation behind much of today’s offence-taking frenzy: to make a public spectacle of one’s moral sensitivity.

The morally vain parading their self-assessed worthiness is hardly the basis for good public policy.