Duty of Intellectuals to Criticize Society
by
Sydney Harris


My sweet mother used to clip articles out of the newspaper to give me to read periodically. The last article which she clipped out and gave to me just before she passed away unexpectedly at age 62 in 1985 is shown below. It is an article by syndicated columnist and author Sydney J. Harris of the Chicago Daily News and the Chicago Sun Times. I hung this article on the wall of my office in memory of her. Since she gave this to me I have personally written over 20 editorials that have been printed in local newspapers here in Salt Lake City-- many of which were motivated by this article. Interestingly Sydney Harris passed away only about 18 months after my mother.

 

I finally decided to make a scan of this article. I couldn't find a nicer version of this article online anywhere. I felt bad that this wonderful and motivational article may not be available anymore so I have decided to post it on my business website here in the year 2020-- some 35 years later. I feel that the message of this article is very pertinent for what is going on in our country today. Societies in which intellectuals don't speak out for truth and rationality often fall into decay or corruption. Intellectuals are oftentimes criticized and stigmatized by the general populace but have an important role to play in exposing evils and preserving our freedoms.