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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, March 25, 2017

New Book: “Self-Evident Truths”

September 2016 and August 2016 (August 20) posts discussed historical matters including voting and citizenship in the United States, and previewed a forthcoming book.

Now that book, Self-Evident Truths: Contesting Equal Rights from the Revolution to the Civil War, has been published.  Its author is my father, Richard D. Brown.

He is on Twitter and Medium and recently had a brief introductory piece published via Age of Revolutions.

4:47 pm edt 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

More on Refugees, Immigrants, History, Law

After a revised presidential executive order omitted Iraq from the list of Muslim-majority countries facing heightened travel restrictions, I published an amended version of an earlier commentary via Medium.

February 2017 post treated related issues.

12:17 pm edt 

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Refugees, Immigrants, History, and the Rule of Law

Last Sunday, January 29, my family participated in a vigil for refugees (and for immigrants, especially Muslims, more broadly).

Today, we joined a march on their behalf -- following a road race to benefit Integrated Refugees and Immigrant Services (IRIS) -- that culminated in a rally on the New Haven Green.  There, speakers included several refugees (from Iraq, Syria, Sudan) as well as U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro, Mayor Toni Harp, and State Senator Gary Winfield, as well as law students advocating for travelers’ and migrants’  legal rights.

Also today, a piece that I wrote -- providing historical context on an “Asiatic Barred Zone” a century ago -- was published at Connecticut Viewpoints, as well as via Medium.

3:07 pm est 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Barack Obama, His Presidency, and a New Generation

For several weeks, as the end of his presidency approached and then occurred, I've been reflecting on Barack Obama -- whose Dreams from My Father book I read in 1995, years before he came to national prominence.  

Those reflections appear at Medium.

1:20 am est 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Marching On, Women and Their Allies

The New Haven Independent published my account, also available at Medium, of our family’s participation in the January 21 marches of, with, and for women -- and for the USA.

11:47 pm est 

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