Anyone who has had any dealings with children knows that they’re curious and creative. They want to explore things and figure out what’s happening. A good bit of schooling is an effort to drive this out of them and to fit them into a mold, make them behave, stop thinking, not cause any trouble. It goes right from kindergarten up to what Huntington was talking about, namely, keep the rabble out of their hair. People are supposed to be obedient producers, do what they’re told, and the rest of your life is supposed to be passive consuming. Don’t think about things. Don’t know about things. Don’t bother your head with things like the MAI or international affairs. Just do what you’re told, pay attention to something else and maximize your consumption. That’s the role of the public.
People like Walter Lippmann say that the public must be “spectators,” not participants. That’s for the “responsible men.”25 They’re simply presenting a version of essentially the same theory, which goes back hundreds of years. You can trace it back to the first democratic revolution in modern history in seventeenth-century England.