In a democratic society where there is much movement between the classes, it is impossible to categorize the idealism of the classes in relation to anything that is common among the members of a particular class. Also, given the mental, substance abuse and other issues that go on today, it is difficult to know how the generations of any class are managing to pass on established elements of idealistic natures.
But there are pockets that are full of holes when it comes to idealistic thinking. These days, a child may have lessons about poverty, justice, medicine, education and culture that come from multiple societies and communities. All children are growing up with a clear understanding about substance abuse, mental illness, child predation and the problems that go on in households all over the world. Children of earlier eras were perhaps far more sheltered from such facts of life, whether they were actually going on or not.
The middle and lower classes are open game for any type of idealistic process, thought and pursuit imaginable, from becoming a religious or social extremist to becoming a global social worker. In between, there are those who become doctors, soldiers, educators, prison inmates, lawyers, emergency services workers, law enforcement or social work. The field of opportunity and threat to children of the middle and lower classes is too broad as the field ranges from global to very local. The field of possibility ranges from a life at rock bottom, to having a quiet career and raising a family, to becoming a world leader or permanent historical figure.
Examples of lower middle and lower class children who developed an ideology while they went on to become well known about their views include our current president as well as some of his worst detractors. There is perhaps a more limited field of focus on matters that appeal to the mainstream, but there is a focus on matters that the mainstream is ignorant of. The fields of medicine, law, the military, government, the arts and just about every other field of endeavor has been populated by those who were motivated by one idealistic principle or idea or another, to keep working until they achieved their goals.
Class, then, is not an automatic determinant that one ideal or another is going to dominate or be a significant factor in a person’s life.
Currently, with the economic, social and job turmoil that is going on, many are focusing on idealism that they never had to consider, or thought that they would not have to consider again. The very poor may have their idealistic origins in wealth, while the newly rich or middle class may have developed their ideas while in poverty.
If idealistic views come from personal experience, then these are interesting times given that wars, oil spills, change in world economies and climate, incredible advancements and discoveries are going on simultaneously. Such events cannot help but to challenge any attempts to identify and to classify idealism and idealistic tendencies based on what is essentially, an income related classification system that is operating within a volatile environment of social and natural change.