Earlier today I read a terrific rant by Diane on her blog, WildWildWest. In it she expresses deep and justifiable frustation at the apparent, obdurate stupidity of 'workers' and citizens to arise in unison to overthrow, or at least obstruct, the wholesale compromising of their very lives.
As much as I rail (perhaps too frequently) against/about the "Ovine" qualities of the Murkin electorate, still to entirely blame the 'people' for their stupidity is not unlike blaming the passengers for being aboard a hijacked aircraft that, say, slams into tall buildings.
No one 'schooled' in Murka, in public/non-elite schools, since before 1970, has NOT been socialized to be, first and foremost, a pliant, docile, manipulable, passive, lazy 'consumer' whose passions have been turned to God/Celebrity, NASCAR, the NFL, the Bible, and Cosmetic Surgery. The further from 1970 you experienced your schooling, and the "lower" the SES of your family, the MORE likely you are to have been schooled to be a 'consumer,' above and beyond all else.
We sometimes accuse folks of 'learned' helplessness; but that blames the victim. Far more often it's a case of "schooled" ignorance. Similarly, consider the discourse of "dropping out." Who is at fault when the issue is phrased that way? What a difference between that and when it's called "pushed out," which is the real fate of marginal kids.
If we judged schools' intentions by the condition of their graduates, we'd have to conclude the purpose of the whole enterprise was to justify, a posteriori, decisions made about students' life-chances--education, social standing, income, career, etc.-- before they ever entered a classroom. The 'telos', if you will, of USer schooling is to ensure that as few as probabilistically possible students can avoid the socio-economic niches they were born to occupy.
It doesn't surprise me that the people are credulous. What annoys me is the tenacity with which they cling to their credulity.