Perhaps the most fundamental freedom at the heart of our democracy is freedom of speech. Political dissent, free exchange of ideas, and innovation all thrive on open dialogue. Without freedom of speech, this publication wouldn’t exist.

That freedom is under attack. The hammer of the fascist far-right meets the anvil of the politically correct far-left, and in between, the foundation stone of our democracy is showing fault lines. The inflammatory, at times overtly racist and sexist speech from the right wing feeds the angry, white, working class men who feel as though America has left them behind. Their new leader, Donald Trump, has called women “fat pigs,” “slobs,” and worse.

It’s important to note that this side of the political spectrum isn’t advocating an end to freedom of speech. In fact, they’re exercising that freedom. However, they are not absolved of guilt. The hostile atmosphere they’ve created threatens the culture of pluralism and productive dialogue. But the opposite end of the political spectrum bears responsibility too. Some on the far-left have claimed that speech should be regulated so it doesn’t offend.

I agree that a world in which nobody says anything offensive would be a happier one. But I don’t know of any stable authority, governmental or otherwise, that I trust enough to allow it to define what counts as offensive and what counts as acceptable. Once we start barring certain kinds of speech, it becomes very difficult to define where offensive speech stops. If the speech offends one person, should it be prohibited? Or must the speech be demeaning to an entire group?

The benefits of absolute free speech far outweigh the costs. The reasoned arguments of the middle ground are so important to the vitality of democracy that any risk of their loss is dangerous. Extreme speech, too, plays a crucial role in providing perspectives that challenge the paradigm of the moderate debate. Transitional moments in American history have come when those outside ideas become mainstream. They must be allowed to continue, no matter whom they offend.

Those claiming an end to offensive speech all too often are only seeking an end to speech they and their political allies find offensive. Any sensible policy on speech must be designed behind a veil of ignorance—that is to say, without taking into account the political leanings of the speaker. It must transcend political battles and be acceptable to the far-left, the far-right, and everything in between.

We must fight offensive speech. We must fight it by proving it backwards and ineffective. We must fight it at the ballot box and around the dinner table. But we cannot fight it by driving it underground. There it will flourish. We must instead expose it to the light of reason, of pluralism.

That spirit of open dialogue is part of why I’m so proud to be a part of this magazine, which brings together people of all political leanings and gives them a voice. We must keep talking.