So perhaps we need to look at things from a slightly different angle. Democracy and egalitarianism have metastasized in recent years to the point where it is not only believed that everyone's opinion is as good as everyone else's, but to the astonishing claim that the only people with the right to an opinion, or to express an opinion publicly, are from Official Victim Groups. Let's treat that view with the respect it deserves and walk right on by.
I have been leery of democracy for a long time, since 399 BC to be precise, when a jury of 501 fine and upstanding Athenian citizens condemned Socrates to death for asking annoying questions though the actual charges were impiety and corrupting the youth. Aristotle left town saying he wanted to forestall Athens from committing a second crime against philosophy.
In a normal, healthy, civilized society those members who are ill-informed are discouraged from offering their half-baked thoughts in public fora. In our society they are constantly yammering on Facebook, Twitter, the blogosphere and email. Not only that, but pollsters even call them up and ask them their thoughts on political questions and candidates. Then these ill-conceived and misinformed opinions are actually published!! Hard to believe, I know, but that's what it's come to.
So when someone like Mario Vargas Llosa publishes a book moaning about the horrible state of the culture, perhaps the correct response is to say, Mario, I hear ya, but these people were always idiots. They aren't any more so now than they ever were. But now, through the wonders of the Internet, we allow their opinions to spread like crab grass and infect all of public life. If they had had the Internet in 1750 and encouraged all the peasants to blog, tweet and twiddle, things might have looked just as bad.
There are lots of brilliant, creative people hard at work every day and some of them comment regularly on this blog. Let's not mistake a frothy tsunami of silliness for reality.
Speaking of creative people hard at work, here's a little tune from this year's Proms concerts. Gustav Holst, The Planets, with the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Susanna Mälkki: