Ideals count as too idealistic for the present time. Yes indeed, idealism has a negative reputation – and this without any hesitation and shame. So where does it stem from? The negative reputation of idealism does not stem from the opposition of idealism versus materialism. Marxist ideas are by themselves taken to be too idealistic thoughts, not made for reality, even though idealism was Marx’s declared enemy.
The negative reputation is instead rooted in a simple fear to be naïve. We rather accept “the world as it is” than to imagine something that could not be realisable (whether this is due to the failure of our idea or because of the strong counter forces is thereby of no interest): The idealist risks to make a fool out of himself.
Ideals have been replaced by idols without ideals: Icons. Che Guevara’s on t-shirts are the best example for these kind of idols. With this I don’t want to say that Che Guevara didn’t have ideals, but what is left of him, is a sheer icon. Not in the sense of a symbol – the only thing he is a symbol of when printed on a t-shirt is of how political figures of the past time become merchandise. He is an icon in the sense of a pictogram like the encircled M for Metro or the skirt dressed woman for ladies’ bathroom. Che Guevara on the t-shirt stands for young and open-minded.