I am currently reading Thinking Fast and Slow and your post reminded me of this brilliant quote from Daniel Kahneman.
A general “law of least effort” applies to cognitive as well as physical exertion. The law asserts that if there are several ways of achieving the same goal, people will eventually gravitate to the least demanding course of action. In the economy of action, effort is a cost, and the acquisition of skill is driven by the balance of benefits and costs. Laziness is built deep into our nature.
Sure, as you rightly said that criticism does not achieve the same goal as direct action. But our laziness makes us believe it does.