What does it mean to be respectable? What views do we internalize from our parents and peers? It seems the main religion of all nations is materialism. To be respectable is to have a mixture of higher than average social status (money) and a good degree of conformism (good taste).
The problem with religious isms (material-ism, consumer-ism, conform-ism, national-ism) is that they demand so much energy yet are barely connected to increases in happiness.
More from John Gatto:
Now, you needn’t have studied marketing to know that there are two groups of people who can always be convinced to consume more than they need to: addicts and children. School has done a pretty good job of turning our children into addicts, but it has done a spectacular job of turning our children into children. Again, this is no accident. Theorists from Plato to Rousseau to our own Dr. Inglis knew that if children could be cloistered with other children, stripped of responsibility and independence, encouraged to develop only the trivializing emotions of greed, envy, jealousy, and fear, they would grow older but never truly grow up.