This past week saw the murder of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other American diplomats in Libya, while a fresh wave of riots and attacks on American embassies and schools took place throughout the Islamic world, from North Africa to South Asia.
Clearly, the so-called Arab Spring is in disarray as intolerance rises rapidly throughout the region.
What the Islamist protesters need right now--as I argue in my weekly column for Defining Ideas--is a dose of John Locke, who picked the right word—“toleration”—in his famous 1689 Letter Concerning Toleration. It takes no courage to allow the expression of views that echo one’s own, but it takes a good deal of it to tolerate the propagation of ideas that challenge one’s own deepest ideals. As Locke knew, religious intolerance is incompatible with democracy. I explain further over at Defining Ideas.