The health of a society can be measured in many ways, and many of them are not susceptible to any kind of cost-benefit analysis.
A society must be judged not only in terms of how it deals with practical matters, but also in terms of how it deals with matters of the imagination.(…)
The state of an art form—whether classical music or contemporary fiction—is in some complex and mysterious way related to the state of society as a whole. Most of us may not see the connections. (…)
But we cannot even begin to see how it all fits together if nobody is explaining what went wrong in last night’s performance of Don Giovanni.
(Jed Perl in The New Republic)