Slander and the "Cycle of Diss"

Overlooking foolish insults is also the only positive, productive way for individuals to go through life. We can't control what others choose in this regard, but we can refrain from accepting the shame-revenge premise for our own lives. For Americans in the wake of the Innocence of Muslims video, the shape that that should take is affirming that freedom of speech is indeed the best way to order society and government. You can't go down the slippery slope of defining the acceptable content of intellectual or religious speech without careening into the abyss of ideological authoritarianism.

I sympathize with those who have assured Muslims that the video is not representative of American ideas. I sympathize as well with letting Muslims know we think the video is offensive. But I believe we have an obligation to emphasize something else, and to set the example of not dwelling on grievances from offense or insult. I was glad to see former president Clinton do just that in the past week.

9/30/2012 4:00:00 AM