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 …
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 …
For me, the most frustrating moment in the first round of Democratic debates was also the most widely discussed: Senator Kamala Harris’s criticism of Vice-President Joe Biden’s record on busing. It was frustrating because it was a reminder that the debate stage is rarely the right venue for complexity, nuance, or understanding. It’s a format …
Image: Joseph Vorves (CC by/nc/sa) Change is a constant in the United States, including changes in population demographics. Whether it is immigrants arriving on our shores, or Americans moving from one part of the country to another, our history is full of people who are unsatisfied with their conditions, and who decide to settle somewhere …
Two recent conversations with Red Better Angels impressed on me our lack of an agreed-upon standard for acceptable speech and the absence of a shared vocabulary to describe objectionable speech. A Red who I know to be extremely empathetic and respectful of my opinions, took issue with my use of the terms “dehumanizing language” and …
You may have heard that lately, President Trump wrote a series of tweets that were, even by his own lofty standards of awful tweets, appalling. To put it in words and a manner that he might understand: they were BAD TWEETS. Here’s the text of all of them put together: “So interesting to see “Progressive” …
Since the 2008 financial crisis, there’s been a renewed interest in talking about the inherent problems and weaknesses of capitalism. There has even been renewed interest in socialism, or at least the “Democratic Socialism” which Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez espouse. This conversation is long-overdue. Economics is at the very heart of our national life, …
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.
President Trump wields Twitter like a battle-axe. On this, his supporters and detractors agree. He uses it to chop down his political opponents, circumvent the mainstream media, and rally his supporters. He is far from alone in this practice. But no Twitter user in America has proven themselves so able—and so willing—to explode the national …
While I was covering the National Conservatism conference in Washington D.C., a high-profile gathering of detached conservative intellectuals discussing lofty visions of the world, the American news cycle was parading around two very concrete controversies with relevance to the conference’s themes. Nike’s withdrawal of a new product designed around the old Betsy Ross Flag—ostensibly responding …
What are the real lessons to be learned from the beating of Andy Ngo?
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.
There is something subversive in empathy that makes it threatening to certain social status-quos.
Better Angels was born in response to the crisis of polarization—a growing crisis that hampers government, destroys trust, degrades public discussion, fosters isolation, and harms personal relationships.
We need to reward, not punish, politicians who take risks, who hold unpopular positions, and who build consensus across the aisle, even if it means losing an election.
That both parties continue to ask these questions—of where personhood begins and where autonomy ends—without pausing to adequately respond to the other side, is why the abortion debate has come to a standstill in the United States.
It is important to distinguish between pushing an agenda for greater women’s rights, and pushing an agenda for a woman’s right that affects the life of another being.
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.
Americans need to make clear once again, through concrete actions, that we owe something to one another, that we’re willing to sacrifice for one another, and that in the most extreme circumstances, that we’re even willing to lay down our lives for one another. And the fact that our fellow-citizens have been so willing, in the past, is exactly what Memorial Day is meant to honor and remind us of.
With the spirits of our great heritage and our bright future in mind, let us move forth and depolarize America. Let us aim to serve, and go from there. Happy Memorial Day.
The depolarization movement should clearly highlight what similarities and commonalities people across political divides share.
China’s unfair trade tactics must be addressed but tariffs are not the way to do it.
Does the global free market benefits the majority of Americans?
What we need is a deeper patriotism and a deeper diversity, each of which values citizens as individuals with their own combinations of values and beliefs, instead of pigeonholing them or criticizing them for failure to live up to our preconceptions.
In addition to being a vegetable farmer, I’m a chef and cooking teacher. …I’ve spent the last twenty years thinking about issues of animal welfare and the ethics of eating meat.
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.
The idea of tolerance as a guiding value for society has been criticized in recent years, from different sides.
If you’ve been looking for reasons to take heart in the state of humanity, I offer that there are plenty of them around.
Religion is part of the solution to our divisions, and attempting to maintain a healthy culture without religion is fraught with difficulty.
In the wake of a shooting at a San Diego synagogue, Randy reflects on the end of Passover and violence against “the other.”