Many commenters to my last entry complain that Che Guevara can indeed be regarded as an “idealist.” I say emphatically no, and I lay out a bit of the reason for it in my own comments to that post.
The error everyone is making is that they are setting up a dichotomy that does not exist between an idealist and a realist, and I’m using realist in the sense of conformation to reality, and not in the sense “realism” is used in art and literature (which, as opposed to “romanticism,” is a very valid distinction).
In the sphere of human action (which includes ethics and politics), an idealist must necessarily be a realist, and vice versa. They are two ways of expressing the exact same things in terms of essential characteristics.
There’s nothing in the world more ideal than acting in accordance with reality—invoking all that implies, ethically and politically.
Given the above, and given that communism is not now, and never has been “good in theory, but impractical” (another vicious false dichotomy), Che Guevara is no idealist. Quite the opposite. Communism is an abject rejection of all relevant facts and a complete betrayal of human nature. As such, it is anti-reality, and by necessary correspondence, anti-ideal.