Helms School of Government


Master of Science in Political Science (MS)


Howard Lee Cheek


pluralism, secularism, value theory, worldviews, natural language processing


Philosophy | Political Science


The nature of truth affects beliefs in such a way that all worldviews are left on a level playing field, each with no more of an objective claim to truth than any other. As a result, no one worldview has an intrinsic right to dominate the government or, through it, other worldviews. Furthermore, philosophical secularism’s noble notion of protecting individual freedoms by limiting the influence of moral values in the government has led to a loss of intergroup bonding and a value vacuum in public life. At the same time, because beliefs constitute some of the most profound aspects of a person’s identity, and every person possesses a worldview, each categorical worldview should have a say in how the government operates without these worldviews operating the government. Thus, I contend that a form of consociationalism in which the shared moral values of each worldview present in America are incorporated into governmental operations is not only more favorable than the exclusion of such values but rationally necessary. To practically accomplish this task, I suggest that the federal government convene a temporary Worldview Council comprised of an equal number of representatives from each major worldview in American society. These representatives, joined by teams of researchers, would compromise on a Values Charter detailing the moral values common to all worldviews in America. These values will serve as a guide to governmental legislation and institutional operations. I conclude with an initial list of values that I believe are common to all the worldviews in America and discuss how they might guide future institutions in a Shared Values Society.