Current Position: Communications Director, American Action Forum
Past: The Washington Free Beacon, National Affairs
Education: Davidson College
Andrew Evans started his journalism career with an internship at The Weekly Standard following his time with the Political Studies Program. He then went on to work as an Assistant Editor of National Affairs. Andrew is now Communications Director for American Action Forum.
HOW DID YOU FIRST HEAR ABOUT THE HERTOG FOUNDATION?
My political science professor at Davidson College, Peter Ahrensdorf, encouraged me to apply. The Program looked like a fantastic opportunity to study both the ideas animating politics and the way politics actually work. I find that it’s really easy to get lost in the ideas, so studying the practical unfolding of politics was a good balance to the theoretical. The Program looked like a great opportunity to see political theory and practice meet and inform one another in a really fruitful way.
TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR CAREER PATH. HOW DOES HERTOG FIT IN TO YOUR PROFESSIONAL GOALS?
I studied political philosophy at Davidson, and I wanted to come to DC to really understand the practice of politics. The Advanced Institute [“Transformation of the American Government” with Christopher DeMuth] certainly helped me see some of that. At that time I was a reporter at the Washington Free Beacon, covering government oversight, bureaucracy, and the institutions of government. Getting to study those things with him was immeasurably useful.
For example, he helped me understand what leveraging means for banks. Leveraging is a central concept of finance, and he spent awhile helping us figure out exactly what the ramifications of leveraging are. That knowledge was crucial to my understanding of the 2008 financial crisis and the consequent legislation that we’ve had.
Political Studies helped me get a foundation in DC and meet people like Bill Kristol. The Hertog Foundation got me grounded in the practicality of politics while at the same time keeping me in touch with the animating fundamental ideas of our traditions. I’m interested in contributing to the health and function of our society in a way that goes beyond just reporting ideas—National Affairs does much more than just report ideas, and Hertog has provided me with the tools be able to excel at doing more.
WHAT STICKS OUT IN YOUR MEMORY ABOUT YOUR EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE WITH HERTOG PROGRAMS?
I was really impressed with the quality of my peers. The rigor and sophistication with which they were able to approach texts, and the lenses through which they viewed current events were challenging and extremely valuable to my own intellectual growth. In terms of instructors, getting to read Machiavelli’s The Prince in conjunction with his Discourses on Livy with Professor Nathan Tarcov was eye-opening. He fleshed out the argument for republicanism in Machiavelli, which I hadn’t seen when reading The Prince previously. Approaching Machiavelli using that lens was illuminating.
OVERALL, WHAT IS YOUR IMPRESSION OF HERTOG PROGRAMS?
What I’ve most observed is that Hertog Programs are a rigorous study of the ideas that bring life to politics. They’re not technocratic, but they’re not too abstract either. That’s the essence of political philosophy. Hertog classes are an attempt to draw out the wisdom from great texts and not necessarily force them to directly apply to any one modern issue, but instead let them shape a broad picture of how society and politics should function. That’s the real advantage of Hertog programs.
DO YOU THINK HERTOG PROGRAMS ARE BENEFICIAL FOR YOUNG PEOPLE INTERESTED IN JOURNALISM?
Specifically, the Advanced Institutes are focused in such a way that they can provide very useful background and contextual information for contemporary issues. In a broader sense, the Programs provide a much larger framework for understanding the limits and constraints of politics as well as the ideas underpinning modern government. Journalism at its best is able to reflect on the traditions and ideas that have brought us to where we are today, and then place the current issues in that context.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 10 YEARS?
I would like to stay involved in politics in some capacity. I don’t know if it’ll be here in DC or in journalism necessarily, but politics is immensely important. I think I’m well prepared to do a number of things; Hertog has certainly contributed to that.