For nearly three years, the author of “The Love and Rage Within,” a book that has been compared not just to Jane Austen but to J.K. Rowling, the author of the “Harry Potter” series, was the head of “Harvard” and “The New Yorker” journalism departments at MIT. The university granted him a $60,000 book prize, for his best nonfiction work, and he became the dean of the journalism school, a title previously held by the legendary Robert LeFevre.
Then, in 2011, he started a consulting business that was worth $4.8 million.
The day before graduation, the former MIT professor wrote an e-mail to staff informing them of his decision.
“While in graduate school, I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to take a course in economics,” he wrote. “I would like to use this opportunity to share how I arrived at this conclusion. In short, I have become a fan of the work of Milton Friedman, Milton Friedman’s father. From the late 1980s to 2010 I read the entire works of the man. And yes, that is the word for someone who is obsessed with the topic.”
That passion had brought Dunham into “a deep and abiding love for the subject. … If you do not love the subject, who will? He wrote, “I can understand someone being in love with a particular topic. … But I know that this does not make you a ‘fan’ or a ‘believer’ in Friedman’s economic message.”
Friedman believed in market capitalism and government-free markets for all. Yet his ideas have brought many young Americans around the country to a different side of the debate — a side that has made him popular among young progressives.
As a student, Dunham supported the cause of the Black Lives Matter movement at his graduate school. That didn’t mean he hated police.
“I respect people who do not believe in the death penalty, but I will not abide police who kill individuals for the simple reason that there are still cops out there who kill people for the same simple reason,” he said in a 2010 interview with The Huffington Post.
In fact, he said when considering the morality of his own profession, he was often impressed by the people he encountered who worked at Harvard Law School — which he attended as a student — and who believed that law and punishment should be a tool created by the individual.
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