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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.
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Sunday, October 6, 2019

Literacy News, including Forum on October 24

The New Haven Independent published my update on local literacy news--from the 20th anniversary of Read to Grow and the annual spelling bee to benefit New Haven Reads, to an October 24 Literacy Forum on "Reading Instruction and Interventions in School: Science, Policy, and Practice."

9:57 am edt 

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Hypocrisy on Gandhi?

Many Indian Americans--including New York Times letter writer Shankar Chaudhuri, as well as members of my wife's (secular Muslim) family--were disturbed to see Prime Minister Narendra Modi receive a platform on the Times op-ed page to invoke Gandhian virtues (on the 150th anniversary of his birth) without any mention of Gandhi's defense of religious pluralism.  Hindu nationalists, some of whom defend Gandhi's assassination by one of their own, are central to Modi's political power.  Modi himself was for years banned from entering the U.S. due to his role in 2002 riots in Gujarat that led to deadly violence, mainly against Muslims.

On trips to India over the years, I've twice visited the site of Gandhi's 1948 murder in New Delhi, and have written related reflections in the New Haven Independent and via Medium.
9:59 am edt 

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