JULY 28, 2020 BY AMBER GOLDBERG
I became familiar with Professor Mike Adams of UNCW many years ago as a rare vocal constitutional, pro-life conservative in a major university. Vocal and committed conservatives have become unicorns as colleges and universities become full-fledged leftist indoctrination environments. Dissent from the dogma is no longer valued, it isn’t even tolerated.
There were plenty of things to disagree with Professor Adams about, and I did at times. I sometimes agreed with his premise but shuddered at his choice of language or symbolism. I have often strongly related to his intellect and commitment. Professor Mike Adams is dead and his death is a stinging indictment of our culture, our higher education system, and the desire to end disagreeable speech. His suicide is a wake-up call to those who cherish a variety of ideas and the ability to express those ideas in the public square.
The first amendment protection of speech exists to protect unpopular speech. Agreed upon, noncontroversial and acceptable speech does not require protection. The protection of free speech is for the exchange of ideas people find disagreeable, uncomfortable, and even outrageous.
Once a society decides to limit speech, it limits ideas and thought. Speech is the result of free thoughts and ideas. And if thought is limited, who becomes the arbiter of what is acceptable and unacceptable? Will, what is considered tolerable speech today, become intolerable tomorrow? Who will decide when a particular idea goes from acceptable to unacceptable? What is the standard and who will enforce it?
Mike Adams suffered the torture of the mob. His own university considered his expressions vile and hateful and searched for a way to fire the tenured professor. His colleagues shunned him and many questioned why he was allowed to continue teaching. Change.org petitions in support of his dismissal received thousands of signatures. He had planned to retire August 1 after reaching a settlement with UNCW and receiving payment of over $500,000 for lost salary and retirement benefits.
Friends reported that he had been erratic and stressed recently. He ultimately found he lacked the strength to continue the battle and last week he committed suicide with a shotgun blast to his head. Although vindicated by the legal system and awarded compensation from the university, his spirit was broken by the fight. He was a man of conscience and unbelievable courage. Few people can sustain a daily barrage of vicious hatred and social isolation. Finally, even this warrior is lost to the battle.
The current cancel culture is a frightening and dangerous thing. Eventually, the mob will turn on its own and begin to destroy itself. How many people and how much freedom will be lost before it does?