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More About Me


I was born and raised in San Diego, and I lived in Southern California for most of my life.  Moving out of state has shown me how formative the area was on me, and I will always miss the food, the history, the beaches and mountains, and, of course, the weather.

I grew up in a very political family.  Early on, I had gained a sense of responsibility to stay informed and know all the facts, but also to understand the merits of the debate and look at both sides of every question.  We were also a deeply Christian family, and I gained the habit early on of appreciating what the faith reveals about human nature, not in terms of direct mandates so much as a revelation of what kind of creatures we really are, and what that means for politics.

I was always an avid reader, and I took great interest in literature, philosophy and history in high school.  As I discovered, philosophy had important insights to offer politics: What really happens when people hold a political point of view?  What are we assuming about the common good, the purpose of government, and the happiness of individual people?  And why do people have political opinions at all?  I discovered that these were very ancient and timeless questions, and that the solutions to many political problems was not settled by an election or a reform measure, much less the triumph of one party over another, but in a return to the old wisdom about what politics itself actually is: the art of living together in community.

I double-majored in History and Philosophy in college, and had a chance to read the very best books on political philosophy.  I had amazing professors who pushed me to read, think and write in the very best way, and to view my education as something that culminated not only in a degree but a way of life -- and showed me that this was something I could carry on with my own students.  I still have the books they assigned, and I've had the joy of teaching them in my classes.

I continued to study political philosophy and American politics at Claremont Graduate University.  The program was excellent at showing the connection between the deepest foundation of political ideas and how they appeared in political practice.  I learned the historical, legal and empirical methods of studying politics, and I believe I was given the very best tools for teaching, research and writing.

In 2010, I married my amazing wife, Rachelle, who I met in my graduate program.  She also teaches political science, focusing on comparative politics and political philosophy.  We've supported each other professionally through the years, whether finishing our dissertations, teaching our first classes, or keeping up our research and writing.  Our students often take classes with both of us, and we are glad to invest in their intellectual development and their careers.

We have three wonderful kids, Lila (8), Lewis (7), and Emmaline (3). My kids occupy most of my time, but I still manage to read a lot.  I love hiking and the outdoors.  I've also played jazz alto saxophone for several years.

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