I often find myself torn between practicality and principles. It's a hard place to be in sometimes.
Elections are often a struggle for me. I often want to vote for the Libertarian, while feeling I should vote for the Republican. In some cases, I stand by my principles. In others, I hold my nose and vote for the best electable candidate. In a perfect system, the Libertarian would be electable. And I know that I'm not fixing the system by holding my nose. But I also know that I'm not being practical if I let the Democrat win because I voted Libertarian. On the plus side, one vote hardly makes a difference. Of course, with everyone thinking their vote is meaningless, large groups can be easily influenced to throw things off in an election.
Another difficulty is following laws I think are unjust. I should be able to carry a gun without any sort of licensing, but I could get into some trouble for carrying without a permit. I can't afford the legal troubles, but I shouldn't have to jump through hoops for my rights. And I certainly don't like the idea of being entered into a computer as a *gasp* gun owner. After all, the carry permit gives the government a nice little database of otherwise law-abiding folks should they ever ban gun ownership. I won't say here which decision I made, since I don't particularly want to openly encourage either breaking the law or submitting to unconstitutional restrictions.
I also find myself in the peculiar position of having to enforce rules on a college campus. Like many colleges, we do not allow firearms on campus. I don't completely follow this rule, as some of you may have guessed. I also try my best not to force others to. We have some military students who feel they should be allowed to concealed carry, and I just tell them to keep it quiet (and I often comment on the quality of their particular choice of weapon, but that's beside the point). It's helpful that my immediate boss doesn't believe in the rule, either. He has tried to help people out a bit, such as a fellow who wondered if there was anywhere on campus he could store a shotgun. He wanted to comply, but he also wanted to go duck hunting. My boss suggested he leave it with one of the gun-friendly employees of campus security, several of whom live within five to ten minutes of campus. I would've suggested the trunk of his car. I don't encourage this too openly, as it could cost me my job, but I'm not so worried as to roll over and not have a gun on campus.
I'm a bit too principled to be practical, but a bit too pragmatic to be idealistic. And the dichotomy makes me feel like a hypocrite.