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Lofty Ideals Are Not Enough


Another historic chance for change
After an idealistic campaign calling for justice and sovereignty, Greek newspapers carried dramatic headlines of the Syriza parties stunning victory last January. The anti-austerity Syriza party is defined by their youthful idealism and determination to smash the mold of practical politics and business as usual.

Many pro-leftist newspapers hailed the win as a historic chance for the people of Greece to take charge of their own future with the emergence of these young, anti-establishment members of government.

Can they make their ideals a reality, which is the objective of what The Philosophy Of Freedom calls “Ethical Individualism”?


Youthful idealism without a plan of action

It doesn't look like the Syriza government will realize any ideals. Now a historic betrayal has consumed Greece as the new government has agreed to many repressive, impoverishing measures in return for a “bailout” that means sinister foreign control and a warning to the rest of the world.

It turned out the Syriza government had no plan. The day after the January election a truly democratic and radical government would have begone taking action, but there was no plan.

Preaching ideals is not enough
In order to change anything you need more than the oratory skills to preach idealism, as we learned with Obama. Ideals can inspire and unite people but these ideals have little value if they are never realized. To realize ideals and change the world, imagination and technique is needed.

The Syriza party has ideals but appear to lack imagination and technique. Or they could even have been phony idealists from the start.

Bernie Sanders is a US presidential candidate who has ideas, but what are the chances he could implement any of them if elected? He is 73 years old, yet he can still sound like an innocent idealist. In my view Gov. Jerry Brown of Ca. has the right balance of idealism and realism --he gets things done and has returned California to being a great state again. 

Freedom and imagination
Lofty ideals such as social justice are universal and are applicable to all cultures. To apply social justice to a particular situation like Greece, you need imagination. The ideal principle needs to be imaginatively translated into a specific plan of action that meets the Greek situation directly.

Our creative and imaginative capacity depends on how free we are as individuals. The biases we receive from our family, nation, ethnic group and religion and all that we inherit from the past restrict our creativity. Imagination is a characteristic of free individuality. Free individuality is attained through an inner striving for freedom.


Science and technique

The Greece crisis is highly complex. The idealist has to work with an already existing set of conditions, to which he wants to give a new form. In order to transform the situation one has to have knowledge of the rules and laws of how it works. This is the kind of knowledge taught at universities in the different branches of general scientific knowledge. By acquiring this knowledge or surrounding your self with experts in the fields needed the world can be transformed without major disruptions and you are more likely to gain the support of others.

Changing the world, according to The Philosophy Of Freedom, involves three abilities. We select ideal principles with Moral Intuition, we imagine creative goals with Moral Imagination and we implement those goals with the knowledge of science or Moral Technique. POF 12.2

Greece reference: John Pilger, Andrew Flood

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© Tom Last 2017