Part of our culture is based on irrationality. But it's selective; science can be derided all day, but people still believe in science when it comes to the practical things in life like technology and medical services.
The reason is that irrationality has been falsely linked to spirituality. Just like ghosts, aliens and bigfoot, people think that the ability to believe in things that have no real evidence shows that you are more open-minded, and therefore more intelligent (ironically). having the 'strength' to believe in things purely on faith is a sign of a stronger soul. And since the entertainment industry makes a lot of money capitalizing on these ideas, turning The History Channel into UFO story marathons, turning Sci Fi into the same kind of bullshit, they market to Americans' vanity in their sense of pseudo-spirituality.
Another large influence is the amalgamation of the different religious movements. They believe that logical thinking, critical thinking, and understanding of things like evolution and the debunking of religious dogma, all of these are antithetical and threatening to the existence of religion, and religious power. Part of the social control in America is based on keeping irrational thought and trust in faith alive by falsely discrediting any kind of scientific thought, at least when it is on a subject that opposes religious practice.
It is all manifest in the brain through the dichotomy of the emotional and intellectual minds. When we think based on our emotions, we block out the logical parts of thought, and vice versa. Both can not effectively coexist. But, if we have been trained at anything, it's compartmentalizing our thought and behavior. That is why people can believe that the Earth is less than 6,000 years old, and not be completely idiotic. They do not see the relatedness of things like the origin of the planet and the nature of the cosmos and things like fossil fuels. They can think that evolution is a lie, but still understand how dogs have been domesticated, or how plants are bred over time.
And, in cases like evolution, elements of social control deal with these on a case-by-case basis. Nobody in their right mind thought up the macro- vs micro-evolutionary difference. It was something created by religious thinkers who wanted a believable way to justify their dislike of Darwin and the anti-creationist sections of science.
It has degraded music also. The music industry has become a factory of overgeneralized formulae. Most popular music is based on a hip-hop beat and lyrics that have to do with basic mass-social gatherings, and emphasizes sexuality, condescension and the idea that the subject of the song is uniquely special. I think that these things, while they may seem strangely specific in that I picked them out, show the atrophy of poetic thinking in art. I believe that there is a reason that most popular music focuses on these kinds of fairy-tale story lines, or on possessing the opposite sex, or being better than 'the rest' of society, or about how life is a grander mystery that no one can ever understand. These are the most basic aspects of art, the most banal, amplified and used over and over until they become so prevalent in the way we think that it feeds on itself in a circular motion.
The conservative movement gained its power through the demonization of the elite, and the 'empowerment' of the common man. However, there was never any real empowerment, just the mirage of it; the interests that were always served gained their power through subjugating the lower classes of society, and it is in filling their minds with illusions of being greater that they did so.
The different ways that those with money exert their influence is as evil as Humans can be in society. The real problem isn't that they do it, but that Americans have learned to be so passive that they do nothing to think for themselves. All they do is zone out on their entertainment, their empty carnival-like entertainment, while they wait for the mass media to feed them the news that they are conditioned to hear, and then they form opinions on it based on what they're told to feel. Their opinions, their views and their thought processes themselves are conditioned and grown over time. It is not a conspiracy or some grand evil like the Illuminati. It's simple Human behavior, and because Americans are so complacent, even on a dying planet, even with crumbling and fracturing societies. They no longer know how to do anything other than be complacent slaves. Everything is separated to be either Progressive or Conservative, R or D, 'Liberal' or 'Responsible'.
And now, with all of these anti-government factions taking shape, with all of the protest movements and ideological lines being drawn... as much as it seems that we are empowering ourselves, we are still the same sheep. the movements themselves are being built by people who want power, and even when the pitchforks come, they will be supplied by the same people. That is the biggest deception in our society: Not that we do not have opposition, but that the opposition itself is just another side of the same control.
In my view, this is all caused by our 'open-mindedness'. We are pliable because we let ourselves to be dominated by an irrational culture, because we are dominated now by religious and spirtual leaders. Our society becomes more and more ridiculously violent, for stupid reasons. Irrationality becomes more dominant, and it causes children to be raised with less and less of a mind. We become more and more primal, more idiotic. We become more worthless with every inch that we give to religion, to irrational belief, with partisan feuds.
American values are dead, not because of the reasons Conservatives give. They are not dead because we have grown away from God, not because we have lost respect for our government. They are not dead because of the effects of terrorism or anti-American movements. They are dead because we, as a people, have forsaken intellectual and emotional education. We do not raise children with common sense. We do not respect anything other than what we are told to. We use excuses and justifications to deal with our problems, rather than face them. We have become pathetic, because we are pathetic.