"A man's value to the community depends primarily on how far his feelings, thoughts, and actions are directed towards promoting the good of his fellows."- Albert Einstein
The need for idealism is at its highest, more than ever. Why idealism? History teaches us the power of idealism. The world is inhabitable because of those endangered human species called "Idealists”. Most of them are condemned to lead a difficult and pitiful life. Only a hand few are lucky to be appraised by fellow beings in their life time. They are guided by ideals rather than practicalities of worldly life and for that reason they are despised. But what the world never understood is that today's ideas are tomorrow's practicality. An idealist is always viewed as impractical and unrealistic. He is considered to be too naive for the real world. If not for them world would have been “Dante's Inferno". Only an idealist can be considerate towards fellow beings. Not that, others are incapable, but they choose not to. It is in the nature of every life that his/hers first preference would be himself/herself. There is nothing wrong or odd about it. Hence people accept it without fuss. But on the other hand putting other's need before yourself is not natural; it’s something people aren't used to. So they will always be sceptic about it.
In the logical side, as an 'idea' there is a lot of shortcomings for idealism, let’s not ponder onto it. To an idealist, world is not what it is at present. For him it’s all about principles and values which would be perceived as unrealistic by others. The World, as we perceive, is the manifestation of ideas and people are run by principles which will do greater good. Our world is a hospitable place only because of their selfless, naive attitude. They are the purpose seekers. "Mahatma Gandhi" is probably the best and most successful (of our age) of this rare class who worked hard and selflessly for the betterness of the world. But Gandhi was not the first; rather he belonged to a long lineage, not of blood but of ideals and thoughts, of greats like Buddha and Jesus Christ. Buddha was more rational among them, i would say. Plato is once again one of the most authoritative idealists from ancient Greece. For all of them "the idea" seemed much more real than the physical world and the actualisation of those ideals gives meaning to this world and purpose to their life. There is a clear distinction of what is right and what is wrong?
The beauty of being an idealist is that there exists perfectness in everything. Altruistic behaviour is the corner stone of being an idealist. In modern days there are a few who chose their ideals high above their country and society. Likes of Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, Irom Sharmila and many others are somewhat fall in that category of modern idealists. They are all fighting for the embodiment of a concept what they thought is morally elating. Not just any concept or issue but the one which concerns the whole society. They are not the ones whose thoughts are dictated by narrow-mindedness. They don't fight for any group of people rather for the whole world.
For Snowden, snooping of NSA is violation of privacy and he couldn't be a part of it. It was against his conscience to be a part of such a crime and not doing anything after knowing about it. His morality stood taller than his country's government and rule of law. In his view privacy is a birth right and in any circumstances one must not be denied of it. One cannot blame a person for opening up a crime and the repercussion caused. Backlash happens because of the wrong which has already been done not because of its scrutiny made. Irom Sharmila a strong willed lady from North eastern India is fighting for the freedom of her people, who had been living under AFSPA declared by Indian government. She had been force feeding by the Army for the past 14 years. She stood for the freedom of fellow beings in north-eastern states, thus defying the Indian rule of law. If we try to judge them through our narrow eyed lens of ‘patriotism’, we would probably mistake them as traitors. Instead use a wider angle lens of ‘humanist’ and then we will find them with the real flamboyant colours of their ideals.
Humans can never kick-off a civilised society without idealists because they are the ones who’ll putdown the cornerstone, for the pragmatists to build on. He shows the way where he himself would be a stranger. He would be steered not by a 40%-reasoning but by a 60%- inner-call which he would want us all to trust. He'll do many stupid things in the run. But of course, who else would we trust if not the one who would do stupid things for us.