I imagine that there's a dichotomy between being principled and practical (although being practical can definitely be a principle). But maybe this is only when someone does something that is so wildly unpractical (at least to me), that I can only justify it as being strongly principled.
For instance, in a democracy, it might be hard to feel as if your single vote (especially if you live in a predominantly blue state) makes a difference in the outcome, and perhaps that's why many people never become civically engaged. But the principle of democracy is that authority is validated by the collective decision of the populace, so people should vote, if not for the outcome, but out of principle.
I've also wondered if there's any relationship between STEM majors and, for example, politicians. STEM majors might be more pragmatic and less sympathetic to living according to abstract principles, like social constructs of bureaucracy, politics, or even sports. On the other hand, politicians might be regarded, on the other hand, as purely principled, prejudiced towards sentiment, power, and the devotion of many in the pursuit of a better world for her or his citizens. I'm sure that in reality all people are cut from different cuts of cloth.