CHAPTER VIII Conditioned Thinking

THE LATIN-AMERICAN MIND works substantially as its enormous complex of values and inherited experiences, of physical and historical conditioning forces, requires it to. There is nothing unusual in this. Original individual minds occur in every society. But the thinking processes of large groups--of nations, great racial and cultural divisions--are shaped in the forcing bed of environment.

Mere blood-stream inheritance may be no more than a minor influence. In the United States citizens without a drop of British blood in their veins think, in their political decisions and their ethical judgments, more like Englishmen than like their racial brothers in the original homeland. Distant in time though it is, British ideological inheritance has colored the education they have received, the values they have been taught to respect, from the moment their immigrating ancestors first saw an American shore line.

On the other hand, Americans of technically "pure" British descent are constantly shocking Englishmen by their departures from what every subject of King George regards as mentally orthodox. Three centuries on a frontier, a century and a half without royalty and official "upper classes"--to mention simply the outstanding differentiating factors--have modified almost beyond recognition the stereotyped concepts and values which the original "one-hundred-per-cent Anglo-Saxon" Americans brought across the ocean. Unquestionably we are more "like" Englishmen

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