My world view is that the past makes up the present and past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. That human beings are biological and that our organization of our world in terms of how we feed and shelter ourselves, raise our young, and nurture our psyches derive from this biological nature. When you watch your puppy tearing at its chew toy, keep in mind that toy could be your pet cat b/c the puppy is practicing its biological nature and preparing to nurture itself by eating meat on the hoof.
At one time, our philosophers built up a system of political and social thought based on man as an individual whereas now we have studied our primate ancestors and done archeological work and found we have always lived in groups, what conservatives call collectivism. That could lead us to discussing who is truly conservative in thought but I will resist the temptation.
My perspective on America then is formed by my view of its past and what made us what we are. There are many perspectives on this formed by the world view of the viewer in part and on the information the viewer chooses, in part. Some perspectives I reject out of hand despite their popularity, one being that we are chosen in some way by a supreme god who demands and grants various things but to whom we owe allegiance. Others pov’s [bear with me while I use apostrophes after abbreviations and numerals even though this practice is frowned on] are based on economics, a vague concept of race, on global currents of change, on intellectual and scientific breakthroughs i.e. on technology, and so on. These all have been grist for many mills with Jared Diamond quite popular recently. I have an oceanographer friend who despises Diamond and I hope to draw him out on just why. These pov’s are all interesting and some are productive.
My perspective and my world view derive, as far as I can apply myself, from facts. Here is where Jim and I seem to part: Jim believes my world view determines what facts I accept into my perspective and even what I regard as fact whereas I think my world view derives from a broad exposure to facts and opinions, other people’s perspectives and world views, and so can be defended on that basis. Other world views can similarly be defended. A conservative world view can be defended e.g. William F. Buckley’s standing athwart history and yelling “Stop!” Religious world views are based in either revelation or philosophical speculation and a whole lot of tradition and those world views are much esteemed.
I, OTOH, believe my own world view works well for me although I certainly value and hope to understand other world views. I do not accept them uncritically and would ask their adherents to defend them as I would defend my own. It is my perspective that seems most to trouble and disturb, my perspective that the society of the U.S. is constituted not only by its declarations but by its past. That past includes great accomplishments and lots of bad deeds. My perspective, my contention, is that that past may not determine the present but it affects it, guides it, persists in it, and accounts for it in many ways, even overshadowing it at times.
I hope you will read some of the excerpts about our past I’ve provided just to help you understand my pov, my perspective and my world view and see for yourselves if I have unnecessarily misrepresented our country.
Addendum 4/30/16 About to publish this. It will be broken up into many entries and all under the category Magnum Opus (to be added when I do).