The ideals of persuasive, charismatic leaders have inspired followers toward catastrophe, or toward security, health and prosperity. Idealism can thus inspire people toward both constructive and destructive actions.
The most cherished and universally respected ideals strive for the rights and well-being of all. They are desired end states—for example, liberty and equality. A noble idealism is expressed in the Preamble to the UN Charter. The Preamble idealizes fundamental human rights; dignity and worth of the human person; equal rights of men and women; justice; respect for treaty obligations; social progress; better standards of life in freedom; tolerance; peace and security, and diplomacy. At the personal level, these ideals can serve as a basis for one’s character and behavior.
In 1964, Nelson Mandela stated, ‘I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and achieve. But, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.’
Be a realistic, independent thinker, truly enlightened and free. Your development and behavior have been influenced by the larger society—civilization, society, culture, tribe, clan, and family. Do no harm. Reject the ideals and credibility of those persons or philosophies that exploit, neglect, or abuse others.
Be guided by your own evidence-based truths. Your idealism is uniquely yours.