Ha! That's perfect.
I agree that it's not just the knowledge that makes you money that has value. I do think though that as the cost of education rises more and more people will forgo a liberal education in favor of one with a high return (money wise).
I think you could also make a case that a lack of a well rounded education will make people less interested in the political / economic forces that led them (me) to a vocational education in the first place. Less interest, less involvement, less control.
I'm sure those dissidents had it coming.
Re: your second point - Homer is referring to working as an employee. From that standpoint he is dead on. I think the national mythos you refer to focuses mainly on the idea of entrepreneurship. In this regard the meritocracy idea is viable. You either succeed or fail. Trust me, there's not much coasting.
Try, Libertarianism: Individual responsibility, minimal government, states rights, sound money, fiscal conservatism.
Nothing motivates a man more than to see his boss put in an honest day's work.