“The chief reason why one war has always followed another throughout history seems to me to be in large measure due to the fact that the self-sacrificing idealism, without which battles cannot even be fought, much less won, and with which youth is so generously endowed, is featured in times of war and discounted in times of peace. When youth are faced with the necessity to undergo hardships, sufferings, and death in order to save their countries from disaster, they are implored to become idealists. Even the most crass-minded realist knows that no other philosophy can sustain men’s minds in moments of crisis. Once the crisis is over, the order of the day to youth is that they all put away their idealism as they do their outmoded weapons of combat. He who sacrifices his personal interest in the cause of the common good in war is called a hero. He who imagines that such principles of behavior should be put into practice in times of peace is apt to be thought of as an unrealistic, starry-eyed idealist. The one has a crown as the reward of his labours, and the other a cross.”
John M Fletcher in The Virginia Quarterly Review (quoted in Race Attitudes and Education by E G Malherb 1946)

One response to “Idealism

  1. Yes sir, how is there motivation to take life without ideas of idealism. It all starts with the disease of selfishness. Wars, survival of the fittest and general attitude all depend on the ideas that we allow to control behavior and emotion.

    Everybody has a great idea, do you own the one your subscribed to?

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