A lively and passionate defence of reasoned debate.
Everyone has taken and given offence; anyone who claims otherwise is lying or uniquely tolerant.
Yet in recent years, offence has become a form of political currency.
Politicians and religious leaders have mastered the art of indignation to motivate their supporters or deflect attention, and the news cycle has become dominated by reports on these tiny tempests.
In this provocative account, Richard King explores how the politics of offence is poisoning public debate.
We've ushered in a new mood of censoriousness and self-righteousness, in which hurt feelings are paraded like union banners.
Yet King contends that freedom of speech is meaningless without the freedom to offend, and the claim to be offended should be the beginning of the argument, not the end of it.
Politeness is a noble quality, and decorum will always have its place.
But when respect comes at the cost of honest criticism, it's time for us to think again.