I'm looking to find a science fiction short story (I think it was by Asimov but I could be wrong).

The story is about 2 characters, one who is an idealist who is opposed to military buildup, and a realist who sees it as necessary. Initially, the idealist is seen as naive and is ignored and the military is expanded. Eventually the military ends up collapsing in some way, and the realist is seen as a villain and the idealist is seen as a hero.

However it turns out that the realist was also opposed to the military, but became its head so that he could lead it to collapse intentionally. This is never made public though, so he remains forever a villain in the eyes of history.

  • Yes, that's definitely the one I was looking for! Thanks so much! – QuantumT Jul 12 at 17:04

I think you.ve got a confused recollection of In A Good Cause.

The idealist is out to unite the Human race against an alien menace. The other one recognises that this is impractical, as Earth's interstellar colonies (now independent) will see any such move as an attempt to reimpose Earth's domination over them. He uses thoroughly unidealistic measures to bring about the same end, culminating in the use of forged documents describing (fictitious) alien atrocities. He recognises that the idealist's struggle will be remembered forever, and that "When they erect their statues, they will build none for me." A caption at the beginning and the end confirms this prediction.

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  • And so this question is answered for the 6th time. Well done. – user14111 Jul 12 at 20:59

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