How far does idealism get you

David Brooks of the New York Times, in an article about (my interpretation) the limits of idealism:

“It’s hard not to feel inspired by all these idealists, but their service religion does have some shortcomings. In the first place, many of these social entrepreneurs think they can evade politics. They have little faith in the political process and believe that real change happens on the ground beneath it.

That’s a delusion. You can cram all the nongovernmental organizations you want into a country, but if there is no rule of law and if the ruling class is predatory then your achievements won’t add up to much.” (from “Sam Spade at Starbucks”)

My favorite line from “The Maltese Falcon” (from memory, so paraphrased): “Loose a son, you can always get yourself a new one, but… there’s only one Maltese Falcon.

Anyway, that’s off topic.

This article makes the case that if you are not happy with the ways “things” (the world, your town, your company) are run, you can’t make fundamental change other than engaging with “the system”.



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