Over the last, say, forty-six years or so, the United States has been under attack from a first-covert, now overt, right-wing campaign of scientific un-education of the American citizenry. Elements of anti-intellectualism existed in the 1950s as part of the reactionary Red Scare, but the 1960s counterculture served to balance that with a healthy does of mistrust of The Man and The Military. Still, the dumbing-down of the American people continued, and continues to this day, and it has been scarily effective.
After the 1964 national elections (and the humiliation of the Republican party in the presidential race) and the adoption of the Southern Strategy using racism to secure Republican gains in certain states, the right wing has used think tanks and PACS and media outlets to set up and maintain a framework of political and social networks designed to tear down public education. After all, a Ruling Class can only hold power as long as the serfs remain ignorant, passive and incapable of action.
Little by little, they have whittled away at our education system, systematically taking away American citizens' capabilities in critical thought and analysis. Liberal arts are scorned subjects in today's schools; our little snowflakes don't need to understand or appreciate art or music in any sense other than its economic worth. Tomorrow's Wal-Mart greeters don't need to learn of Cubism or Expressionism. Civics are a French and gay subject; American culture comes blasted at us through the bloated faces of windbags such as Limbaugh and Savage and Beck.
You want proof? Go over to a social media site Yahoo! has set up for the upcoming elections called Ask America. Among the hot-button personality questions are issues that should NOT be questions. Say, the concept of the judiciary branch of the government acting as a check on the executive and legislative branches. You know, that whole "Constitution is written to prevent the tyranny of the majority from taking away the rights of minorities" thing.
The mental giants who have expressed an opinion on this topic-- with the question phrased as "Should the courts or the legislature overturn the will of the people?"-- are running 71% to 29% as opposing the concept of the judiciary overruling the vox populi. Even if the will of the people is blatantly unconstitutional.
So 71% of these respondents have no concept of constitutional separation of powers, or protection of equal rights for minorities, even when the majority opposes them.
The question is: HOW can we reverse this trend? What is it going to take to defeat the infinite resources our wealthy and determined oligarch enemies have at their disposal? How do we get to this vast, ignorant mass of American idiocracy?