Adlai Stevenson once commented, “It is often easier to fight for principles than to live up to them. ” Based o your reading, observation, or experience, to what extent to you agree or disagree with Stevenson’s words? Please give examples that support your point of view. One man said, “I don’t agree with what you say, but I defend with my life your right to say it”, thus, expressing the importance of the right of free speech. Many principles, for example justice, democracy and equality, which nowadays are taken for granted in the developed world, are the outcome of a long struggle through the ages.
However, it is often said that people are more eager to fight for what they believe is right and just, than to live by the rules they have fought for. In my opinion, this is a solid argument which can be proven by several examples. Throughout human history there have been many examples of rebellions, which begun urged by idealism but afterwards lost their way. The most recent are the ones who took place for the sake of communism. To be more precise, communist rebels declared equal rights and a society without social classes, principles that were left aside as soon as the revolution was over and the government was a communist one.
Communist leaders then, justified extreme measures as the only way to establish and maintain their ideals against capitalistic foes, depriving human rights, which were the main incentive of the rebellion. Another clue is how most people differentiate their principles and priorities as they grow older. It is mostly youngsters, especially the literate ones, who demonstrate a rebellious spirit against any violation of their principles. However, as years go by and student life is replaced by career and family obligations, these principles begin to fade away.
Life is full of dilemmas and only the strong ones put aside personal interest for the sake of principles and beliefs. When someone is fighting for an ideal, he is comforted by the thought that, despite the danger, he is doing the right thing. He is doing something for the common good and that makes him feel a part of a larger group of common believers. One the other hand, when the goal is achieved and his ethical defenses are down, it is difficult and inconvenient to live by lofty principles. Priorities change and principles are considered a luxury for those with no responsibilities.