My lovely and talented wife Nanelle Newbom has one of my favorite life truths ever:
It’s not a principle until it costs you something. Until then it’s just an ideal.
Principles are easy to spout, and even easier to flout.
Definition of Principle
1a: a comprehensive and fundamental law, doctrine, or assumption
b(1): a rule or code of conduct
(2): habitual devotion to right principles
I have found that the main reason idealists get jaded and cynical is when they are amongst a group of idealists who are all spouting their principles. Speaking of their willingness to pay the price to stick to their principles. To pay the cost for doing what their principles demand. Adherence, sacrifice, personal cost. Unpopular things all.
And then when the time comes to pay the cost for sticking to their principles they find themselves paying the cost, alone.
What was once a field of idealistic wildflowers quickly turns into a field of ideals easily broken. Of principles merely token. I am not yet convinced that being a jaded cynic means you are not an idealist. It just means you are an idealist who watched too many spout principles alongside you, only to then watch them slink away principles tucked between their legs with ideals blazing in their upraised voices while you stand and pay the cost for sticking to your principles.
Or, I’m a bitter old man.