Ideology is a way of thinking that reflect the social needs and political doctrines of an individual or group. There are many different people and different circumstances this results in a variety of different ways of thinking, values and beliefs. Our ideology grows with us from childhood. From the moment you are born the family influence begins to impact your thought process
A child is like a sponge that absorbs ideas and beliefs. Beliefs are taught to a child in subtle ways such as just listening to the parents and their opinions from everything including politics, social problems, moral issues and even opinions about how others behave. It is within the family unit
that a person learns their moral values
. It is from their parents that a child is taught right and wrong. Often this is through religious training. Religious beliefs or the lack of religious beliefs has a great influence on a person's beliefs and values.
In the early years a child looks to their parents as the final authority on any subject. It's not uncommon to overhear a child explain something as being absolutely true because their mommy or daddy said so. As a child grow's older they see the world through outside influences such as the school system, the media, and their peers. School is often a child first opportunity to think for themselves. They experiment with ideas and values of their own.
School teaches children to use a critical thought process. One way where this is done is if a child is given an opinion in a debate and they must find reasons to defend a certain viewpoint. They are exposed to a wide variety of viewpoint and opinions. Another source of influence on values and beliefs is the media. Free speech guarantees the rights of anyone to express their opinions.
Children begin to form new beliefs and ideas of their own, the family influence is still there, but just not as strong. Also, peers become a major influence on a young person's thinking. To express their newfound values a child will often go through a stage of rebellion where they reject a lot of their parent's values. This doesn't mean that they have taken on a whole new belief system. It just means they are expanding the values, thinking, and belief system from the home with new ideas and thoughts. The country where you are raised is one of the major influences on a person's values and thinking process.
If you look at different countries' political beliefs and economic systems and study the history it's clear the impact that the country you live in has on a person's thinking values and beliefs. For example if you examine Canada and the United States and compare ideologies and then look at their history and how each country is similar and also different due to their historical past. Every country has a dominant ideology, but within it are many competing ideologies. For example Canada's political culture could be described as primarily liberal, but within that is a wide diversity of beliefs. In Canada the competing ideologies are conservatism and socialism.
By comparison the United States ideology is very predominantly liberalism. Their historical backgrounds appear to have caused the differences.Canada reflects the ideologies that were brought with the original settlers of French Canada and English Canada. These settlers brought ideologies with them that reflected their experiences in Europe. Over time these ideologies changed and adapted to the Canadian life. This resulted in a liberal ideology similar to the United States but certainly not identical. Canadians are more conservative in their traditions and politics.
By comparison, United States early settlers were mostly liberal in their political beliefs. The American frontier was founded by individualistic and often lawless people who came to America to escape the European traditions. Many of the traditional British Loyalists rejected the American Revolution and came to Canada. The United States has stayed very liberal in their thinking. Liberalism is system that celebrates the individual and his liberty. This liberal ideology of individualism is a central part of the American national identity.
The American version of Liberal ideology focuses solely on individual rights and freedoms. The Canadian liberal ideology centres on individual rights but it also allows more room for the collective rights of people as a group. A comparison of the Canadian ideology and the American ideology shows how our ancestors pass down their thinking and values and beliefs. It seems that individuals adopt the thinking, values and beliefs of those around them. People learn their values from their families first. Later many other factors like the media, religious training, school system, and peers continue to influence a persons beliefs. Also of great importance is the country you live in.
A country's historical past is very influential in a person's beliefs and values. There many differing ideologies in a country but there is usually a predominate ideology, and its citizen tend to believe in its countries' ideological superiority. Our thinking, values and beliefs are a mix of what we are taught and the country we live in. Finally, each person's experiences makes their ideology unique.