Social Sciences Education
Civics: World Government
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An ideology is an organized collection of ideas, a comprehensive vision, and a way of looking at things. There are two forms, personal and communal. Personal Ideology refers to a single person's world-view. Communal ideology refers to a way of thinking by a people in their time and place. Your personal ideology is shaped by the communal ideology and your personal ideology may lead to changes in the communal ideology.
The planet consist of different cultures and out of those cultures evolved political ideologies as well as sovereign states (i.e. countries). One's view of the world is shaped by their experiences, and while the relatively recent phenomena of mass communication (world-wide television, internet, phone, etc.) had connected the humans on the planet like never before in its history, it has also revealed differences based on ideology and nationalism that has created conflicts. Reflecting on one's own ideology and developing a degree of objectivity about the underlying values is an essential step in better understanding the ideologies of others and their countries.
The Contemporary American Communal Ideology
The communal ideology of contemporary American culture has its roots in the 18th and 19th centuries philosophy and society. The Founders used the ideology of "respect for the rule of law," "inalienable right," "all men are created equal," and "government by consent of the people" as corner stones in the creating of American institutions. These came from the philosophers of Greek antiquity such as Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle and the "Atlantic Tradition" philosophers such as Locke and Rousseau, and Judeo-Christian beliefs. They major shift in ideology replaced the feudal ideological view of humanity that preceded it. The feudalism perspective held that people were not equal, were predestined to the socioeconomic status of their birth, and attributed poverty and the ills of the world as something ordained by God. The idea that there should be equal opportunity based on one's effort, not their birth was novel to say the least.
Historically, as the peoples of the world have had increasing contact with one another, conflicts have arisen over ideologies as well as over resources. Ideologies come and go with the passage of time. The 20th century ideologies of communism, Nazism, and fascism which were adopted by some European nations, were came to be viewed as undemocratic. Hitler's personal ideology led to World War II and the Holocaust. Many Americans see such places as Iran and North Korea, as having undemocratic (if not less democratic) ideologies compared to the American (and Western) ideology. Citizens of the Unites States generally believe that the American concept of the relationship between the people and the state is superior to the rights and obligations found in most other countries. It is worth noting that almost all ideologies, today, claim a belief in freedom and rule by the people, even counties like Iran, North Korea, and Syria.
Teleology & the Ascent of Humankind
Teleology is from the Greek telos, meaning end or purpose. Teleology holds that all things have a purpose and are or directed toward a final result. This concept holds true whether you believe a god is the director of the life or not. In Western civilization, the belief that the human experience reflects an ascent of humankind to a higher ethical plane comes through the more human treatment of our fellow humans on the planet is so fundamental to our ideology, that it is rarely spoken of. Fundamental to our think is the belief that another person's gender, sexual orientation, culture should have no bearing on their treatment by others or the state and that religious beliefs are subservient to such democratic notions. So, the status of women, child labor, health care, etc. in a country becomes the measure of our advancement as a species.
This tension created between countries based on ideology is both a source of conflict and alliances among nations. The current "war of terror" can be viewed as a war about ideology, where Americans point to middle eastern cultures as too undemocratic and oppressive of their people and middle eastern cultures point to America as decadent and too secular.
The history of the human species ascent is clear since the time of recorded history. While there have been peaks (Gandhi's nonviolent revolution, King's civil rights success, an American civil war that ended wholesale slavery, the American revolution that established the principle of equality, etc.) and valleys (the imposition of christianity on the peoples of south america, the mistreatment of the first Americans as Europeans repopulated North America, Nanking [where the Japanese army slaughtered thousands of Chinese], the Jewish Holocaust, etc.) the overall trajectory is to a more humane world. And, we tend to measure this ascent by the diffusion of human rights, education, heath, technology, and wealth to those areas of the planet that are not as advanced as western counties and advancements in human treatment within countries with rich traditions of protection of the less well-off and minorities.
The NCSS International Activities Committee constructed the following definition of Global Education.
"Global education refers to efforts to cultivate in young people a perspective of the world that emphasizes the interconnections among cultures, species, and the planet. The purpose of global education is to develop in youth the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to live effectively in a world possessing limited natural resources and characterized by ethnic diversity, cultural pluralism, and increasing interdependence. . . . "
World government instruction should assume a major role in providing students with opportunities to learn to perceive and understand the world as a global system, and to see themselves as participants in that system, recognizing the benefits, costs, rights, and responsibilities inherent in such participation.
You can further student's development as Americans who “think globally” by
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