Randy Lioz

Randy Lioz is the director of the California office at Better Angels, as well as a regular moderator of red-blue and skills workshops, having formerly spent his career in the auto industry. Randy lives in Irvine, CA, and spends much of his time in front of a soccer goal or beside a friendly mutt. His column is published weekly at The Conversation.

Political Violence and Bullying on the Left: We’re Better Than This

In The Coddling of the American Mind, Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff argue that we’ve been fostering a sense of fragility within an entire generation of Americans. I think they make a cogent argument that progressives often go too far in their assertion that speech can be equated with violence, at the risk of shutting …

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Some Benefits of the Large Democratic Primary Field

I’ve been moderating Better Angels workshops for around two years, and there are several experiences that have been consistent for me from one workshop to the next. Among these is listening to the conclusions that participants draw from their time with us. Without fail, at least one participant will mention how much closer the two …

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Thoughts on Gun Violence

From the “This is why we can’t have nice things” file: last month a new internet “challenge” broke, with copycat videos being posted of people licking ice cream and putting it back in the store fridge, inspired by a viral Twitter video of a girl doing the same. With fears naturally high that this would …

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Thoughts on the Return of Aziz Ansari

As we’re making progress with ourselves, we should also extend a “generosity of spirit” towards those who don’t have the same ethical framework as us, who haven’t “evolved” the way we insist is necessary. As we’re asking others to exercise their empathy, to perhaps finally address the harm their behavior or inaction has caused, we can offer the same empathy to them, and realize that we cannot fully know what’s in their hearts.

The Democratic Debates: A Blue Take

It would be wonderful for the frontrunners to incorporate some of the passion of the underdogs, so the ultimate Democratic nominee might speak more effectively not just to the left, but to Americans from all over the political spectrum.

The Case for National Service

Universal national service remains a highly worthy proposition, given the potential gains to our civic unity and ability to address the looming challenges that face our nation.

Animals and Our Widening Sphere of Empathy

I’ve found myself much more concerned these days with the welfare of other beings, including those with which we don’t associate the same sort of “sentience” we ourselves or our beloved pets possess.

Mulling Over the Mueller Report

My take on the Mueller Report focuses on not just the report itself, but on the environment into which it’s dropped with a thud. I think understanding that landscape is vital to reckoning with the potential impact, or lack thereof, of the report.

What is a Progressive?

The belief that we must create a more inclusive nation and world, which treats every person as worthy of the same rights and responsibilities.

No Thanks, Joe

When I read a recent account in The Cut recalling an incident with Joe Biden that made a young woman extremely uncomfortable, I wasn’t at all surprised.

The Blue Revue: On Trigger Warnings

The language that the left and the right use is often very different. At Better Angels, we recognize that a language barrier can lead to serious issues when it comes to communicating effectively, and this certainly hasn’t helped us to extricate ourselves from our present loggerheads between reds and blues.

Encouraging Honesty by Offering Forgiveness

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the idea of forgiveness. As humans who regularly do plenty of awful things, we’re all in need of a fair amount of it. And our elected leaders are certainly no exception.

From the Left: The Tone Police Have a Noise Complaint

We at Better Angels are on a mission to depolarize America. Usually, that means we try to help people have more productive conversations across the acrimonious political divide which currently separates us. It’s important to recognize, though, that the acrimony isn’t restricted to dialogue between members of different groups.

Lashing Out in Defense

Rupa Ray’s experiences at the Phish concerts are generally very positive, but every so often she catches a glimpse of a different undercurrent that runs beneath the outward openness.

Walking the Line

Can we be honest with each other about our feelings while protecting one another from the hurt that this honesty might engender?

The Hunted Reds of October

This past October I got the chance to attend Politicon, the recently annual conflagration of political junkies and pundits in California.

Dreading the Thanksgiving Table

For the past two years, Thanksgiving has been one of the most painful times of year for many Americans. Even if we haven’t lived this story ourselves, just about every one of us has heard from a frustrated friend about their dread over returning home to share a turkey dinner with relatives.

Why Come to the Table?

Immediately after the 2016 presidential election, in the thick doldrums of what for me and many of my friends was a genuine tragedy, I started to talk about empathy. I had been finding it tough to come to terms with the beliefs of some of the people I cared about in my life, but I was at least having conversations with them.