Idealist is one of the political personality dimensions examined in the political personality quiz.
The opposite of idealist is rationalist.

Many arguments in politics are appeal to the head, others to the heart, but usually it is difficult to appeal to both at once. Which do you find more convincing? More specifically, the difference between idealism and rationalism is one of “how do we know what is right” -it blends epistemology (how do we know?) and ethics (what is right?). On some issues our “heads” are on one side, and the “hearts” are on the other. Those who govern from the “heart” tend to make decisions on a case by case, what is right/popular/good, where those who govern from the head tend to create “rules” to handle cases objectively. Those who govern from the head risk becoming “technocrats” or become like economists who “know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” Those who govern from the heart risk being “biased” or get caught in a situation where they are trying to be “all things to all people” Is politics more about personalities and emotions, or models and statistics? Are the answers black and white or is everything shades of grey? Do hot button issues get you going, or leave you cold? Are rights sacred, or just rhetoric?


Idealists favor:

  • trying to be fair
  • looking to scriptures, rights, or treaties.
  • seeing issues as a collection of stories
  • following precedents
  • seeing things as absolutes

Idealists tend to oppose:

  • favoring fairness over "efficiency"
  • putting too much trust in statistics.
  • working from overly abstract “models”

Relevant issues

globalization, rent control, inequality, poverty, animal welfare.

Statements used in the PPQ

  • Statistics can be used to prove anything.
  • It is immoral to raise prices just because there is a shortage.
  • Some individuals are just naturally at odds with each other.
  • Right and wrong is not just a question of logic.
  • It is right for the media to focus more on tragedies close to home, rather than tragedies abroad.
  • it isn’t fair to students that teachers often make test scores fit a “bell curve”
  • I'm more like Captain Kirk than Doctor Spock.
  • we can never really hope to be objective.
  • there are many correct answers to any one question.

Statements proposed for the PPQ

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Comments and Observations

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