The Critics’ Concern with Value
That these authorities are sadly incompetent is a minor dis advantage. Their blunderings are as a rule so ridiculous that the effects are brief. They often serve a useful purpose in calling attention to work which might be overlooked. What is more serious is that these indiscretions, vulgarities, and absurdities encourage the view that morals have little or nothing to do with the arts, and the even more unfortunate opinion that the arts have no connection with morality. The ineptitudes of censors,
and cramps the scope of good critics unduly. So loath have they been to be thought at large with the wild asses that they have vir tually shut themselves up in a paddock. I f the competent are to refrain because of the antics of the unqualified, an evil and a loss which are neither temporary nor trivial increase continually. It is as though medical men were all to retire because of the impu dence of quacks. For the critic is as closely occupied with the health of the mind as the doctor with the health of the body. In a different way, it is true, and with a wider and subtler definition of health, by which the healthiest mind is that capable of secur ing the greatest amount of value.