I agree with what you've said, almost verbatim. But I must say that democracy, although it is a better system from the perspective of the common people, is just utterly ineffective without the proper political education and implication of all classes of citizens.
I'm 20, living in Romania - a so-called democracy. The currently elected party is of 'Social-Democrats', a communist regime follow-up party that is interested only in plundering the country's resources and selling out for personal gain.
Democracy, in my opinion, is just dictatorship enforced by propaganda. There is a well established ruling class and, although we can "vote" and apparently influence the outcome of the election, which puppet gets the mandate OFTEN, but not always, has no influence on the overall way the country will be ruled.
That being said, I do consider democracy to be better than a straight dictatorship/monarchy because it allows for higher upwards mobility and more freedom of choice.
Idealism, I believe, is something that is inspired and cultivated in people by society and religion. What I mean here by society is: the educational system, our parents, movies, media, comic books... It acts as the mortar of a cohesive society. Idealism provides hope and stability for the common folk.
Take, for example, patriotism. It is a collectivist ideal that works to the benefit of the state and the detriment of the individual. Patriotism is used to to fuel wars and support local industry, therefore making that slice of society grouped as a state more prosperous/healthy - but at the cost of economical value for the individual and even his/her life.
From my perspective, the whole concept of ideals stems from the need for certainty in the human psyche. The need for an upper power that establishes what's wrong and right - morals - and therefore ideals as the 'right' ideas/mindsets through the moralistic mindset.
Whether one chooses to pursue ideals in itself an amoral thing, because I believe it can't be good or bad. Pursuing ideals, though, is predominantly
an act of selflessness, and therefore I can't endorse it on a personal scale.
That being said, there are ideals that center on the individual, rather than the society at large, and pursuing these type of ideals is what I as a human entity, would choose.