Network of connected people, with lines and circles

We Are Multi-Tribal

I’ve been reading a lot lately about human tribes. And all of these works make good points about our basic need to be part of a small, supportive community. But here’s one observation that seems to me to be getting too little consideration, among all this interest in early human tribes: We modern humans are multi-tribal. That is, we tend to belong to, not one, but to many tribes.

Read more…
Author Herb Bowie with Golden Retriever Hank


I write as The Practical Utopian because my twin desires are to be:
Down-to-earth — I try to write short pieces explaining big ideas that will be broadly useful;
Idealistic — I write with the goal of helping all of us achieve better outcomes, both for ourselves and for those around us.

Read more…

Crosscutting Alliances

Where a society’s political divisions are crosscutting, we line up on different sides of issues with different people at different times. We may disagree with our neighbors on abortion but agree with them on health care; we may dislike another neighbor’s views on immigration but agree with them on the need to raise the minimum wage. Such alliances help us build and sustain norms of mutual toleration. When we agree with our political rivals at least some of the time, we are less likely to view them as mortal enemies.

Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, 2018

Latest Quotes
Montreal's skyline with the downtown skyscrapers and the Leonard Cohen homage mural


The history of Leonard Cohen’s song “Hallelujah” is a fascinating one. Cohen’s songs had never really been embraced by the masses, and his first recording of “Hallelujah” in the early eighties was part of an album so lacking in obvious commercial appeal that the president of CBS Records responded to it by saying: “What is this? This isn’t pop music. We’re not releasing it. This is a disaster.”

Read more…

Notenik on MacBook Air

Built with Notenik

Available from the Mac App Store, Notenik can be used for taking, organizing, formatting and publishing notes, with each note consisting of multiple fields, as well as chunks of text of any length. This latest version of The Practical Utopian website has been built using Notenik.

Content, templates and scripts on GitHub…