AN OPEN SOCIETY GROWS OR WITHERS ACCORDING TO THE POWER OF ITS IDEAS AND TO THE VITALITY OF ITS INTERIOR DIALOGUE.
By President John F Kennedy
“Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people . . . Let us dare to read, think, speak and write.” – JOHN ADAMS
“An open society grows or withers according to the power of its ideas and to the vitality of its interior dialogue.
“If ever the United States should reach a point where the clash of ideas comes to an end, where debate disappears, where everybody agrees with everybody else on everything, then we are finished as a nation — and the ideal of freedom, to which our nation has been dedicated since the time of Washington and Adams, Jefferson and Hamilton, perishes.
“From the beginning of the republic, our magazines have provided a major forum for carrying on the interior dialogue of American society.
“Magazines can be abreast of the urgent issues of our day — yet remain sufficiently detached to provide background and perspective.
“The intense interest of people all over the world in American magazines is striking evidence of a hunger for ideas, for knowledge, and for an insight into the life of a free people.
“Let our magazines live up to their responsibility: to confront the great issues of our time; to open up the conflict of opinion; to welcome the unpopular idea and the controversial issue; to show curiosity and compassion and concern; to be literate and spirited; to give a faithful picture of America; to bring people broader knowledge and deeper understanding on every subject in the universe.
“And let us all take advantage of our opportunity: to demand from our magazines the integrity of fact, the cogency of comment and the variety of expression which will sustain our American faith in unlimited freedom of inquiry. ‘Let us dare to read, think, speak and write.'”
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Also in this series:
- Fleet Admiral Nimitz: Liberty flourishes only where there is free flow of communication (1960)
- Eisenhower: Informed citizens are the guardian & spirit of democracy (1960)
President Kennedy on “Let us dare to read, think, speak and write”
“Let our magazines live up to their responsibility… to bring; people broader knowledge and deeper understanding on every subject in the universe.”
MORE: How Nixon conceded the 1960 Presidential election to John F Kennedy
This message is presented on behalf of magazines… A leading force for moral and cultural growth… by LIFE — Magazines give people ideas
NOW SEE: The assassination of President Kennedy: News reports, photos & more from when JFK was killed in Dallas (1963)