Let's be clear: Professor Bagaric's research about limited torture warrants is not party policy. Nor is it a High Court ruling. He is an academic exploring one of society's strongest taboos through analysis and debate.
When a taboo is challenged like this, we need to rise above simple-minded reactions ("it's just barbaric!"), dubious slippery-slope arguments and shoot-the-messenger (and institution) tactics. Instead, it's an opportunity to reflect on our values and arrive at a clearer view of ourselves.
Whether it's gay marriage, IVF or euthanasia, scholars must be free to undertake serious inquiry into taboos without being misrepresented, publicly scorned and subjected to vitriolic attacks.
Perhaps this can't be done through the opinion pages of a newspaper - even a broadsheet.