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Practical idealism is a term whose earliest recorded use was by Mahatma Gandhi (Gandhi Marg 2002). It describes a philosophy which holds it to be an ethical imperative to implement ideals of virtue or good. It further holds it to be equally immoral to either refuse to make the compromises necessary to realise high ideals or to discard ideals in the name of expediency. Practical idealism in its broadest sense can be compared to utilitarianism in its emphasis on outcomes, and to political economy and enlightened self-interest in its emphasis on the alignment of what is right with what is possible.
- Gandhi Marg magazine, October-December 2002, Volume 24, No 3
- Tommy Koh. The Quest for World Order: Perspectives of a Pragmatic Idealist, introduced by Amitav Acharya. Singapore: Times Academic Press for the Institute of Policy Studies, 1998. See especially the introduction and "Can Any Country Afford a Moral Foreign Policy?" (speech given to the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, 18 November 1987), pp. 1-9.
- Ken Gude, "Practical Idealism Means Practically Nothing" Think Progress, 15 May 2005, retrieved 10 May 2006
- United Press International, 29 June 1984
- New Haven Journal Courier, 9 August 1984
- New Haven Register, 17 August 1984
- Gandhi's Practical Idealism, analysis by the Gandhi Peace Foundation
- American Practical Idealism speech by Al Gore, 1990-1998 Vice-President of the United States
- Canadian Practical Idealism writings by Akaash Maharaj, 1998-2003 National Policy Chair of the Liberal Party of Canada
- "Practical Idealism: Present Policy in Historical Perspective" by Philip D. Zelikow, 6 May 2005
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