Idealism Essay

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Idealism is used in different ways according to who is using it and why someone is using it. ‘It’ would be considered the ideal behind the belief. Eileen Gambrill references ideology as a term that can be used in a descriptive sense to refer to a system of beliefs or practices or in a persuasive sense to refer to efforts to advance a belief system (p. 56). Now, Robert Coles does not give a direct definition of the term idealism in his book “The Call of Service”. Instead, he leads us through his many journeys of service and struggles of service. When reading chapters six and seven of Coles book, I discovered many differences between “Young Idealism” and “Older Idealism”. The young idealist seems to be edgier and almost cocky with their beliefs. A good example of that would be when the tenant farmer would not go register to vote. It literally pissed off Coles because he would not go to register to vote. Once the farmer explained his service was to his family and that God wanted him alive to take care of them, Coles realized how selfish he himself was acting (Coles, 1993, p. 188). Coles was trying to help this tenant farmer come out of an oppressed society and take advantage a civil right that had been given. But by this time, that famer had too much to lose if he chose to register to vote, he was afraid for his life. Coles intention was good, but he was not going to be around after he registered the farmer. Coles would go back to were he came from and that farmer would suffer the consequences. Dorothy Day described the young idealist as “one who takes political stands, has certain social attitudes and are willing to put themselves on the line for those beliefs” (Coles, p. 184). Another commonality of young idealist would include name calling. They have a tendency to call people names that do not fall into their propaganda. They will call them “materialistic” or

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