Saw this in the Atlantic Monthly, and had to share.
William Graebner, in his book, Patty's Got a Gun, talks about consumerism. He explains the last eight years, a time of extended executive power and debt, in one neat paragraph:
[There was] the sense that ordinary people had been conditioned by the public schools and drugged by materialistic consumer affluence into uncritical acceptance of their circumstances.
In other words, pass the soma. Even Mr. Huxley couldn't have said it more concisely.