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Moral Ambition is Dissent

Moral Ambition is Dissent


26 May 2024


As I mentioned before, I often find Carel Peeters' column the best article in Vrij Nederland, so I save it for last. However, in Volume 03, I decided to start with Peeters' piece, and coincidentally, he discusses Rutger Bregman's latest book, "Moral Ambitie". Once again, Peeters does not disappoint, as he notices aspects of Bregman's narrative that I had overlooked (Peeters C. , 2024).

According to Peeters, Bregman redefines a few words that are intertwined with neoliberalism—ambition, money, and success—by associating them with a new concept he calls 'moral ambition. This term, Peeters suggests, is rarely found among consultants and other inhabitants of Amsterdam's Zuid As district. Peeters is skeptical about whether ambition, money, and success, when infused with moral values, can lead to anything decent. However, he does acknowledge that Bregman aims to combine capitalism and idealism, using startups to realize the ideals of, for instance, environmental activists.

While I can understand the skepticism, I am heartened to see more people embracing moral ambition. Personally, I have the privilege of working with groups to realize these ideals. However, we also face our own barriers, such as the need for collaboration and the pragmatic aspect of just getting things done. These challenges, while daunting, are not insurmountable. It is through these challenges that we learn and grow, and I encourage others to join us in this journey.

In this context, it is vital to emphasize that dissent is not just a right but a fundamental pillar of democracy. It empowers us to question and critique actions and policies, striving towards justice and humanity. While the recognition of moral ambition is a positive stride, it should not overshadow the significance of proactive engagement and practical action. We must persist in speaking out and working together, even when the challenges seem insurmountable. Through open dialogue and collective effort, we can foster a world that values human life and dignity above all else, where every voice is heard and valued.

Miguel Goede

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