Fertile soil, sunlight, and adequate water work every time

“To a sufficiently sensitive and knowledgeable critic, everything will appear intelligent or unintelligent, skillful or shoddy, graceful or graceless, truthful or mendacious. In each of these pairs, the latter is—not immediately, perhaps, but ultimately, in some measure—a threat to our common life, our res publica. Intellectual virtues are civic virtues; intellectual vices leave the citizens vulnerable to superstition and demagoguery. There is, of course, no more sense in trying to legislate the intellectual virtues than the moral ones. But one can propagate intellectual virtue, first of all by example.” – George Scialabba, “The Selected Essays of Gore Vidal” (emphasis in original)