dmerrill, stupidity and an inability to see some action is contrary to one's own self-interest (or perhaps to see one's own self-interest all too clearly) are both widely distributed traits.
Being a member of any minority does not enlighten anyone. Enlightenment on a topic comes from experiencing injustice, and thinking about it. Those who fail to think, or fail to think properly become the tragic pawns Shirer talks about.
Add in a fair amount of self-hatred inspired by incredibly negative portrayls of People Like You in the media and public perception, and you're left with a potent mix that can overwhelm an otherwise intelligent person.
I have seen queer people who lived through an oppressive right-wing regime go on to be apologists (or worse, advocates!) of the same regime when it is finally deposed.