I believe good thinkers are leaders too. Hopefully, we teachers and the schools can facilitate such rational, creative thinking and by doing so to develop leaders. Those who don't know (either by choice or not) tend to be followers and more likely to be manipulated by the simplistic arguments of demagogues who want to be leaders of a flock of sheep.
I can't tell you how many times I've heard students say, "it's just a theory," meaning "it's an opinion," when they refer to scientific theories. Take, for example, the theory of evolution--one of the strongest body of knowledge we have--that is supported by tons of evidence from across several disciplines. This scientific theory competes for acceptance with creationism or intelligent design! I think it's losing right now!
I don't know if anti-intellectualism is winning in America, but Susan Jacoby--Age of American Unreason--thinks so. It's close-mindedness that impedes progress. And, don't tell me that our politics don't reflect this. How else can you explain a president who believes that "the jury on evolution is still out"? Or, serious presidential candidates accept superstition to science? Or, why worry about the environment & our planet when Jesus has saved us all (only if..) or will save us when Armageddon! [yes, the majority of Americans believe that Jesus will return sometime in their lifetime!]
Education is more than memorizing stuff. It's not indoctrination. It's the developed ability to be a learned person who can think critically, connect the dots, and ultimately accept reality.