There are some things we are never supposed to do. Punch someone for respectfully disagreeing with us, burn someone’s house down for an ill-worded email, cut the brakes in someone’s car for belonging to a different political party, to name a few. Within the limitlessness of a free democratic society, we set some actions aside as beyond the pale. Censorship should be one of those actions.

In the 17th century, English philosophers John Milton and John Stuart Mill described “the marketplace of ideas,” the concept that through freedom of speech, unchecked debate, and critical thinking, sound ideas will outcompete flawed ones. In 1919, American Supreme Court Justice Oliver Holmes wrote, “The best test of truth is the power of thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market.”

This sentiment obviously includes a bit of wishful thinking. The history of modern societies contains many tragedies and injustices, despite free speech. However, while the marketplace of ideas is likely to discover the truth, censorship only favors the ideas of those arbitrary few that wield it, with no regard for who is right.

A few months ago, Yale University erupted into protests over racism on campus. As neither a Yale student nor a member of a racial minority, I have no commentary on Yale’s campus issues themselves, but that’s not my point.

Following the release of a letter in which she respectfully questioned cultural appropriation – the letter is peppered with phrases such as “I laud those goals” and “I don’t wish to trivialize genuine concerns” – Erika Christakis, Associate Master of Silliman College at Yale, came under fire from students.

What is disturbing is not that students were angry. There is nothing wrong with emotion. There is no issue with passionate, aggressive argument.

What is disturbing is that students immediately demanded her resignation. That, instinctively, the first weapon of choice was the nuclear option: shut down the marketplace of ideas. Punish someone for dissent – de facto censorship. The fact that anyone, on either side of any debate, is comfortable with censorship as a political tool does not bode well for our democracy.

Censorship is dangerous but also unnecessary. History is filled with moving, impactful speakers. Someone posted 100 anti-gay-marriage flyers? Post 2000 pro-gay-marriage flyers. Someone hosts a speech arguing for no minimum wage? Organize two speeches supporting minimum wage. The response to free speech should not be to silence another, but to speak louder yourself.

We should respect the marketplace of ideas for what it is: sacred.