Viewing a single comment thread. View all comments

9

Splinglebot wrote

What they seem to conveniently ignore is the fact that you can still be practical/pragmatic in how you try to achieve your ideals

Pragmatism and idealism are not diametrically opposed, and in fact compliment eachother. After all, how can you be "pragmatic" when you have no ideals, no goal to achieve? You can't. If you're not aiming for something then there cannot be any pragmatic steps to achieve your goal, because there is no goal. A rational choice cannot exist without a goal in mind. You can't make logical deductions without axioms. Even something that might seem so obviously "logical" like making sure you have enough food to eat is only "logical" because you have some sort of goal. The only reason it's rational to make sure you have food is because you don't want to starve, the reason you don't want to starve is because you want to survive - which is in itself a goal, or an ideal. It's not based in reasoning. No matter what "logical", "pragmatic", "rational" or "practical" action someone takes, if you trace the reasoning back far enough you'll ultimately reach a goal they have, or an ideal - one that isn't in itself based in reason or pragmatism.

When liberals/conservatives say they're being "pragmatic" they're usually just making an excuse to uphold the status quo. Abolitionists were considered "unpractical" for demanding the immediate emancipation of the slaves, they were "idealists" who "didn't understand how the world works", yet slavery was abolished and the world still worked. They may well be "pragmatic", but only if your ideal is to let the rich get richer and screw over everyone else.

Related: Kropotkin's "Are we good enough?"