The recent controversy over Wikileaks has put the position of government officials on an informed population in plain view. It is obvious to everyone that the government officials do not want people to know what the government is doing, and are going to great lengths to keep people uninformed, not only by targeting Julian Assange with trumped up charges, but by keeping the conversation focused on the act of leaking instead of on the content of the leaks. But the Wikileaks controversy is just one of the many ways in which there is a demonstrated preference for an uninformed population.
In "The Fountainhead", the antagonist Ellsworth Toohey described the general terms of his plans for taming mankind by comparing it to growing a garden. Instead of spending time plucking out each weed one at a time, he described preparing the soil in such a way that certain crops are encouraged and others are discouraged. Then he described intentionally preparing the soil so that weeds strangle other plants.
Starting with the preparation of the soil, John Taylor Gatto has described government education in very severe and exacting detail, pointing out over and over how government schools not only fail to educate on the topics one traditionally thinks schools should cover, but teach many topics one would not think schools should cover.
The superficial design flaws of the public school system help mask the fundamental design flaws. In general people are so busy worrying about why the schools don't teach our kids to read that they don't notice what they ARE teaching them. Schools teach conformity above all else. Schools, in addition to teaching us to conform and obey, are very purposeless. The article Why Nerds are Unpopular shows the nature of the social structure of a school. This is the down side of the herd mentality. The up side (which is even worse) is the herd mentality itself.
The result is a population that is largely illiterate in English, Math, Science, Economics, and Philosophy. Although the empire needs educated people to administer the empire, it also needs a population that is uneducated in everything except conformity to be an empire - a crippling internal contradiction.
Next is the planting of intellectual seeds, in which the range of allowable ideas is strictly controlled through an infotainment industry encouraged by the ruling class. Much of the news is celebrity personality gossip, and what little issue-oriented debate that occurs is careful to be confined to an allowable range of ideas. This was most blatantly on display when Fox News refused to allow Ron Paul to attend a debate of Republican Presidential Candidates, as he was considered "not legitimate." Certain seeds are not planted - very few colleges or universities teach Von Mises in their economics department or Ayn Rand in the philosophy department or literature department. Usually in order for such classes to exist there has to be a special endowment from an outside source.
Once the allowable range of ideas is fully defined, everyone can have their choices carefully tailored to guarantee the correct outcome. Everyone is asked if they will choose between a Republican or a Democrat on election day. Other options simply aren't discussed. People can have a choice, but the choice is meaningless.
Finally there is the full bloom of the garden described by Ellsworth Toohey. Very few people question the official narrative of events. When George W. Bush spoke about Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, it was only the non-mainstream media that questioned him. When George W. Bush and Barack Obama enacted bailouts, the only debate was on the size, and not if bailouts work in the first place as that was settled Keynesian economics. And when Julian Assange posted leaked government documents, the debate centers on whether or not he was right to do so, whether he is a journalist or an activist, what crimes the Obama justice department would charge him with, and not on the content of the documents themselves and not on the crimes committed by government officials as described by the documents.
The final harvest is an undereducated ignorant population so that those who are in the ruling class can have the power to deal with the population from a position of strength.