The idealist walks on tiptoe, the materialist on his heels.
—Malcolm de Chazal (1902–81) Mauritian Writer, Painter, Visionary
Our ideals are our better selves.
—Amos Bronson Alcott (1799–1888) American Teacher, Writer, Philosopher
Idealism is fine, but as it approaches reality the cost becomes prohibitive.
—William F. Buckley, Jr. (1925–2008) American TV Personality, Author
Some men can live up to their loftiest ideals without ever going higher than a basement.
—Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919) American Head of State, Political leader, Historian, Explorer
There is no force so democratic as the force of an ideal.
—Calvin Coolidge (1872–1933) American Head of State, Lawyer
Don’t use that foreign word “ideals.” We have that excellent native word “lies.”
—Henrik Ibsen (1828–1906) Norwegian Playwright
Saddle your dreams before you ride em.
—Mary Webb (1881–1927) English Novelist, Poet, Writer
Ideals are the world’s masters.
—Josiah Gilbert Holland (1819–81) American Novelist, Poet
We for a certainty are not the first have sat in taverns while the tempest hurled their hopeful plans to emptiness, and cursed whatever brute and blackguard made the world.
—A. E. Housman (1859–1936) British Poet, Scholar
What we need most, is not so much to realize the ideal as to idealize the real.
—Frederic Henry Hedge
It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet, I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever-approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.
—Anne Frank (1929–45) Holocaust Victim
The idealist’s program of political or economic reform may be impracticable, absurd, demonstrably ridiculous; but it can never be successfully opposed merely by pointing out that this is the case. A negative opposition cannot be wholly effectual: there must be a competing idealism; something must be offered that is not only less objectionable but more desirable.
—Charles Cooley (1864–1929) American Sociologist
I promise to keep on living as though I expected to live forever. Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old only by deserting their ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up interest wrinkles the soul.
—Douglas MacArthur (1880–1964) American Military Leader
I’m an idealist. I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way.
—Caroline Schoeder American Aphorist