James Madison wrote that there are two ways to deal with sectarianism and political factions: “The one, by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence; the other, by giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests. It could never be more truly said than of the first remedy, that it is worse than the disease.”

Despite its noisiness, sectarianism, and even occasional physical flammability, Lebanon will survive if it can continue to embrace openness and ideological diversity, and other states will, too. “Security is acquired by new knowledge rather than by conserving old knowledge,” Edward Teller wrote in The New York Times some years ago. Either open up or your political system will eventually be opened up for you. To put a twist on the wisdom of Max Frankel, former executive editor of The New York Times: The threat of public upheaval will persist as long as there is public abuse.

Justin D. Martin is a journalism professor at Northwestern University in Qatar. Follow him on Twitter: @Justin_D_Martin