Explore cites Italo Calvino and suggests some comparisons.

“The idea of putting literature in second place, after politics, is an enormous mistake, because politics almost never achieves its ideals. Literature, on the other hand, in its own field can achieve something and in the very long run can also have some practical effect. By now I have come to believe that important things are achieved only through very slow processes.”

—  Paris Review conversation with Italo Calvino. Pair with Calvino’s heartening new year’s resolution, his wisdom on writing, and his thoughts on America.

I like Ezra Pound's perspective, too. This is from ABC of Reading.

If a nation’s literature declines, the nation atrophies and decays.

Your legislators can’t legislate for the public good, your commander can’t command, your populace (if you be a democratic country) can’t instruct it’s ‘representatives’ save by language.