Is idealism really admirable?

“I admire young Greta’s idealism,” writes Stephen Glover, “but why do our politicians lose all reason over climate change?”

I admire these young men’s idealism, but…

Starting from the second half of his headline, it’s not just politicians and not just over climate change. For reason has been excommunicated as a direct, if protracted, result of the Age of Reason – which was in fact a successful attempt to replace true reason with an ersatz surrogate.

Hence, for example, the strained attempts made over the past couple of centuries to explain human behaviour by anything other than by reason making free and conscious choices between sound and unsound, moral and immoral, good and bad.

The likes of Herbert Spencer and Charles Darwin joined forces with Fraud, Junk and an army of behaviourists to portray man as a puppet whose wires are pulled by forces beyond his control.

The forces may be evolutionary-biological, social or sexual-subconscious or anything else other than man’s own mind. And those exegetes assign to such forces powers that are positively super-divine. God, after all, left man with free will and an ability to make conscious choices based on his own mind and moral sense.

No such weak-kneed liberalism for the apostles of the scientific scam. They preach the notion of a man in bondage to his biological and psychological makeup, only quantitatively different in that respect from animals.

Reason must then be relegated to an inferior status because it makes man too different from beasts for any slapdash theory to survive. None of those evolutionists or psychologists can explain why, while both a man and his dog possess urinary tracts and therefore can relieve themselves on a statue, only man is capable of designing it.

Our anomic, deracinated, ignorant people, shaped by their atheism at best or some diabolical New Age creed at worst, have turned those half-baked theories into self-fulfilling prophecies. Fair enough: keep calling a man a dog, and in due course he’ll start barking.

Hence it’s futile trying to apply rational criteria to an attempt at understanding any serious issue of public import. Things haven’t got to be the way they are because serious people thought the situation through and chose the best way to go.

No, it’s just that some inconsequential yet garrulous people listened to the signals resounding through the atmospheric intellectual vacuum and then let their knees jerk in what they saw as the most promising direction.

People affecting our lives no longer think; they react on reflex. They don’t say things they think true – they say things they feel they have to say for fear of opprobrium. The old dichotomies of right-wrong, true-false, logical-illogical simply don’t come into it.

This takes me back to the first part of Mr Glover’s headline: “I admire young Greta’s idealism, but…”

Now Mr Glover did go out on a limb by voicing some mild, good-natured criticism of Greta Thunberg (not at all like my vituperative attack on that demented, possibly evil child yesterday), along the lines of her being a bit too radical and not sufficiently aware of the economic consequences of her sermons.

That’s commendable, for criticising any climate change activist is these days tantamount to blasphemy, not to say apostasy. A hack guilty of it may well be risking the auto-da-fé of a P45, so Mr Glover gets a B+ for courage.

Alas, he has to be marked down for his use of reason. Why does he admire Greta’s idealism? Does he think any idealism ipso facto worthy of admiration?

What about the idealism of young Muslims who blow themselves up in crowded places? Would Mr Glover write “I admire the idealism of those young Sri Lanka terrorists, but…”?

No? Then how about “I admire Jeremy Corbyn’s idealism, but….” More likely, but still no?

Mr Glover evidently can’t keep his knee from jerking. A reasonable man, he too has been trained not to activate his reason when the buzz of Zeitgeist is in the air. Otherwise he’d realise that idealism is only praise-worthy when the underlying ideal is.

Having made that stride, he could then take another step towards observing that a propensity to idealism seems to be inversely proportionate to the capacity for reason. That’s why the words ‘young’ and ‘idealism’ fit together so snugly.

Until age 25 or so a person’s brain isn’t wired properly, and neither is the person fully plugged into the historical, cultural and intellectual continuum. Gonads act as the dominant organ producing thought, meaning that little thought is produced.

That makes ‘paedocracy’ the most dangerous paedo- word.

We are these days obsessed with paedophilia, but even the most promiscuous of perverts can only harm a relatively small number of people. On the other hand, allowing young idealists to have a say in serious matters, never mind the power to affect them, may well destroy the whole society.

William Golding showed in his Lord of the Flies what happens when the young take over. It’s children’s time, and there are no rules.

Though America’s Founding Fathers seldom draw my unqualified praise, they were wise to the dangers of youthful idealism. That’s why the US Constitution set the lower age limits for public office: 25 for a congressman, 30 for a senator, 35 for a president. They also set the voting age at 21, which was ill-advisedly lowered to 18 in 1971.

We can quibble about the arithmetic (personally I’d add at least 10 years to all those limits and apply them in every Western country), but the underlying principle is unassailable: people like young Greta, with all their youthful enthusiasm, mustn’t be allowed a public voice.

How much better would Mr Glover’s headline be had it started with “I detest young Greta’s idealism, and…” Oh well, wishful thinking.

1 thought on “Is idealism really admirable?”

  1. .” They also set the voting age at 21, which was ill-advisedly lowered to 18 in 1971.”

    Voting age was lowered [and I concur it was a bad idea] strictly to satisfy the Vietnam War protestors. “You can draft me to go fight in a war but I cannot vote or buy a shot at a bar.”

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