— No child born today in Germany is in any way responsible for the horrors of the Holocaust.
— I should not have to apologise for all the times my mother was rude to people. *
These seem uncontroversial statements to me, but the urge to impose guilt and contrition where none are due has become a worrying feature of contemporary debate.
Just yesterday Joe Biden had to shake off pleas for a formal “awfully sorry” for the first atomic bombing.
It seems to me that many politicians are torn between knowing how nonsensical this is (and toxic to any grown-up understanding of history) and the underlying desire to openly wallow a bit in inherited, institutional or ethic/tribal guilt, an icky form of virtue-signalling that many seem unable to decode.
If I can thus point to some underlying disagreeable intentions, there are nevertheless plenty of largely decent ones in play here too, which makes this bunk an even more urgent candidate for de-bunking.
* Even though in Britain it is still considered a matter of everyday politeness to say sorry to someone who has just hit you over the head with a baseball bat.