I didn’t know Mike Adams.
We spoke maybe twice, three times over the years, and occasionally corresponded online. He said some kind things about a few of my columns, generally on topics we agree upon, like abortion, gun rights, faith and the First Amendment. We shared a lot — possibly all — the same viewpoints, although we didn’t always agree with the delivery systems. He could be brash and satirical to the point of being mean-spirited, but he also made people think. He made some scream and throw walleyed fits like spoiled children, but he made people think. You might not have liked him, but if you had any common sense and the ability to formulate, defend and share your own idea — he made people think.
Professor Adams, as some called him, fought and won the good fight at UNC-Wilmington, an alma mater of which I have become increasingly ashamed over the years, as it desperately tries to be more liberal than other UNC schools, so it allows undisciplined children raised by the internet to manage their own higher education, without the need to consider things that might bite, scratch, kick and claw at their comfort. That’s from Kafka, by the way – I learned about him in college, courtesy of a professor with whom I never agreed.
Adams’ brazen attitude and conservative attitudes knocked him out of line for tenure at UNCW, and he rightfully took the school to court — and won. The school then sullenly gave him the tenure he had earned, due to overwhelming requests for admission to his classes and repeated honors from students and student groups as a favorite instructor.
Mike Adams was found dead in his home last week, days before he was to receive a $500,000 buyout of his retirement and salary from UNCW.
The buyout occurred because one of Mike’s sharper comments drew the ire of the Cancel Culturists currently running society, and the neothinkers decided it could be racially-insensitive. That made the reactionaries who fear the Cancel Culture to decide it was racially motivated, and that Adams was therefore a bigot, a racist, and a minion of Satan in line for the throne.
Rather than defend Adams’ right to free speech, or risking another expensive lawsuit if they fired him, the school negotiated a deal. He posted online that he had no intentions of quietly fading away, but instead planned to keep speaking out, keep criticizing, and keep defending the rights of unborn children. His passion, his faith and his writings make it seem highly unlikely that he would have committed suicide, but that seems to be the direction law enforcement is leaning — as reported by the same broadcasts and print media that pilloried him at every opportunity. Several of the reporters covering the Adams death seemed almost gleeful; many was the time Mike Adams had the courage to call them out for blatantly, arrogantly pushing the liberal platform and manipulating the news. If nothing else, the way many spun his death proved Adams’ point about the corruption of most of the American media, down to the local level.
My old friend Robb Cross, known to his close circle as “The Perfessor,” was like Mike Adams in many ways — knowledgeable, well-read and a critical thinker. Like Adams, he was a passionate advocate of the First Amendment, and could be merciless at calling out hypocrisy. He laughed about being fired from a newspaper job because when he had doubts about an historic landmark and the story behind it, Robb used the historical record to prove that his speculation was correct, and the legend wrong — then he had the temerity to print the story. He was fired within hours of the paper being printed.
Robb and I worked together for years, and I vividly recall one day when he slammed his hands on his desk and uttered a curse word.
“That Mike Adams!” Robb shouted.
In one of his columns, Mike had made a particular sharp point on some topic, and Robb begrudgingly admitted that he “almost” agreed. Robb was by no means a screaming leftist, but he was also well to the side of many of his staunch right wing friends.
“I hate it when he’s that right!” Robb said, laughing.
Just as Robb was a passionate devotee of history’s truth, pretty or ugly, Mike Adams was a passionate devotee to the America of the founders, the sanctity of life, and later in life, salvation through Jesus Christ. He still sinned, as all who are saved do, but he knew his sin was forgiven, and by whom, and why. He struggled with a sharp tongue that could quickly become a sword. Sometimes Mike Adams used that sword as an axe, sometimes as a needle, but he always used it skillfully, sometimes when it wasn’t necessary.
The changing attitude toward the First Amendment, as well as the assumption by those in power that readers can’t tell between opinion and news, played the biggest role in my decision to accept my new job. In America, we still have the right to make such decisions, although there are those who want to make that as painful and difficult as possible, while making acquiescence far more attractive.
Mike Adams had the courage to do the right thing when the wrong thing offered a much easier ride.
Robb and Mike both had a deep-rooted concern of the potential loss of all things American due to the rise of the more militant left, and their willingness to destroy any who disagree in any way, making threats and taking action that would brand anyone on the right a bigot, a danger to society and get them convicted and sent to prison before ever seeing the inside of a courtroom. Both those men, one of whom I called a dear friend, wondered what would happen to our republic as it was taken over by a new generation of young people, manipulated by the instant mob mentality of social media and enabled by a generation of parents who saw discipline as oppression.
Both also knew, as I do, that the noisy nincompoops are still in the minority, but frustration and ambivalence of the remaining majority make it easier for the “good” young people to give up — not to mention the willingness of those on the other side to scream vulgar names, threaten family members, and use social media to attack any who refuse to dance to their tune.
Where we used to settle disagreements with a good argument and rarely, a fistfight, nowadays you’re in trouble it you call a shovel a shovel or a hammer, a hammer. Right is not always right, and wrong must be cleared first before being determined to be wrong, and even then it’s likely to be excused. Disagreeing with the Cancel Culture can lead to total strangers turning up on your doorstep or at your business, protesting and screaming, blocking traffic and using information provided by keyboard cowards whose life is built around “doxxing” those with whom they are told to disagree.
Mike Adams had the courage to disagree, and he also warned of a future where spoiled brats with no manners had all the power.
The Professor, the Professor and I had one more thing in common — a love of old rock and roll. There’s a song called “Heavy Horses,” by the group Jethro Tull. It’s a lament for what was lost when the draft horse was replaced by the tractor, and a hope that someday people will realize what they have sacrificed in the name of doing better and getting along. Even though it’s more than 30 years old, it’s also a commentary on modern society — and those who have courage enough to stand against the downfall of all we love as a people and a country:
Standing like tanks on the brow of the hill
Up into the cold wind facing
In stiff battle harness, chained to the world
Against the low sun racing
Bring me a wheel of oaken wood
A rein of polished leather
A heavy horse and a tumbling sky
Brewing heavy weather.
Mike Adams had the courage to stand up and say what he thought was right, and the willingness to fight for it, regardless of the consequences.
I wonder how many of the rest of us have the same courage today.