It’s not that it’s hard to think if you have the time and the tools to learn how.
Smarts are both natural and cultivatable. You may have inherent intelligence, but until you have the time and tools (language, experience) to develop it, it doesn’t grow very rapidly. If you spend your days carrying water and poking holes in the ground with a stick, you aren’t actively developing your intelligence; you’re not reading, going to school, discussing complex ideas with people. All of those things, especially reading, teach you to think better and give you the tools with which to have more complex thoughts.
I think we privileged people forget how exhausting a life of work and strain truly is. If you’re concerned with Maslows hierarchy of needs on a daily basis, you don’t have energy left for much else.
Up until about a hundred and fifty years ago, you likely didn’t have access to the kind of tools you need to think in the first place. School and books were for the wealthy; not only could the wealthy afford those things, they could afford to have other people do all the work that just existing requires. Once you can pay someone (or, more likely, a staff of someones) to take care of everything else for you, you have the time to learn how to think, and to develop whatever innate intelligence you might have; if your success continues, your children will grow up with these tools and time and will be better developed at any given stage.
The reason I stress reading is that you need to have the building blocks of complex ideas in order to construct them in the first place. Words and phrases and modes of thinking develop connections—modules—that you can assemble to make new, bigger ideas. That basic learning comes mostly from books, but also through talking to people who already have the capability.
I had a conversation with my grandfather a few years ago. He was born in 1913 in Temple Texas. He went to college and was eventually a big wheel in both Army Intelligence (Colonel) and Ma BellAT&T (Director of Interstate Regulatory Relations). A smart man, by any measure. He asked me what “software” was. (Actually, he first asked what “software looked like”, and we went from there.) It took me quite a while to lead him through all the knowledge that he had to have to understand it even at a very basic level. No experience with computers, code, user interfaces, Boolean Algebra, even some of the electronics were new to him. Then it was on to modes of presentation and interaction. Input/output, memory (RAM, ROM, tape and hard drives), context-based calculations, etc. Not just no experience, either: no built-in ways of thinking about those things. It was a very interesting and exciting conversation, because I could see him stitching the new information into knowledge and then into concepts as I talked.
That’s what has to happen for anyone to start thinking critically about anything. You get the tools, are led through the ways t use them, and then you practice. If you’ve had the tools and have been working with them all your life, critical thinking appears to be easy. If not, it is work so hard that it borders on the impossible If you’re at the left end of the human intelligence bell curve, you can forget about it. If you’re in the middle, you may or may not be able to sort out whether Fox News is bullshit if you have the time to work at it. If you’re at the far right end and have the tools, then it’s fair to criticize you for your lack of though or skepticism.