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Practically Idealistic blog
 
The title for this blog originated with use of the term “practical idealist” in this 1996 opinion piece, which asked: “To what kind of work should a practical idealist aspire?” A century and a half earlier, Emerson, in his 1841 essay Circles, wrote: “There are degrees in idealism.  We learn first to play with it academically. . . .  Then we see in the heyday of youth and poetry that it may be true, that it is true in gleams and fragments.  Then, its countenance waxes stern and grand, and we see that it must be true.  It now shows itself ethical and practical.”  John Dewey and Mahatma Gandhi embraced practical idealism in the 20th century, as did UN Secretary General U Thant.  Al Gore invoked it in a 1998 speech. In the context of this blog, the term is meant to convey idealism tempered but not overwhelmed by realism: a search for the ideal on a path guided by common sense.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Fifty Years After the "Loving" Case

As the June 12 fiftieth anniversary of the Loving v. Virginia decision approaches, I published a piece at Medium that adapts earlier reflections at This I Believe.

Among the updated observations are references to law professor Sheryll Cashin, who has written a new book called Loving: Interracial Intimacy in America and the Threat to White Supremacy, and to the anthology Mixed, a collection of short stories that Chandra Prasad edited.

8:17 pm edt 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Some Comforting Climate News

Amid concerns about humans’ effect on the global climate – and about the Trump administration’s intention to withdraw from the Paris accord despite many U.S. companies’, states’, and cities’ efforts to the contrary – there is some encouraging news from India.  As China is gradually reducing its reliance on coal (and investing heavily in solar technology in a way that could allow it to outcompete the U.S. for many future jobs), India also is seeing the environmental and economic benefits of renewable sources such as solar; its price has fallen rapidly.

9:22 am edt 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

“Philanthropy, Literacy, and Youth Development Explored”

The New Haven Independent published my account of a recent Literacy Forum.

A version also appears via Medium.

8:47 am edt 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Nationalism in France and Beyond

Tomorrow is May 8, the 72nd anniversary of the Allies' acceptance of Nazi Germany's unconditional surrender – Victory in Europe or VE Day.

Today, centrist Emmanuel Macron nearly doubled the vote of Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Front, in defeating her to win the French presidency.

With such historical and contemporary developments in mind, and after a brief recent trip to Europe that happened to include my family's being in Paris on April 20 (the night a terrorist gunman emerged nearby on the Champs-Elysees), I published some reflections at Medium on May 5.

5:07 pm edt 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Teacher Appreciation Week, May 8-12

May 8-12 this year is when the PTA, among other organizations, marks Teacher Appreciation Week.  Thank you, teachers – every day!

9:14 am edt 

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