Mark Steyn’s commentary on the death of Prof. Mike Adams: “if you’re doing the heavy lifting on an otherwise abandoned front of the culture war, what you mostly hear, as Mike Adams did, is the silent majority’s silence – month in, month out….”
As of this writing, the most we know about the death of Prof. Mike Adams is that he reportedly suffered a gunshot wound, and had been acting erratically and appeared stressed as his days at UNC-Willimington came to an end.
A lot of people assume this means suicide, but we don’t know that. At some point — maybe soon after this post goes live — the police will release their findings.
In my comment at the end of Stacey’s post about Adams’ death, I wrote:
WAJ adds: I’m not sure if I ever spoke with Mike Adams. For some reason, I think I did long ago, but regardless, he served as a source of strength for so many conservatives in academia under attack. Many readers recently have told me I really needed to contact him, but I didn’t. I now understand the pain of working with people who want to damage you personally and professionally, and I can only imagine how that stress affected him over many years. Rest in peace, Mike, you fought the good fight.
Mark Steyn has a column today about Adams’ death. While leaving open the possibility that Adams death could be a homicide, Steyn speaks to those pressures Adams must have been under regardless of cause of death.
Steyn’s column, A Not So Happy Warrior, is chillingly perceptive. Read the whole thing, of course, but here’s an excerpt:
A two-time “Faculty Member of the Year” winner at the turn of the century, Adams grew more “controversial” as the university got more “woke”….
As the new millennium settled in, calls for his termination were like swallows returning to Capistrano in novel forms of transportation – first old-school pieces of paper signed by real people; then a Facebook group dedicated to his sacking; then multiple Change.org petitions…
It was all scheduled to come to an end on Friday with Adams’ painfully negotiated departure and a $504,702.76 settlement. Half-a-mil sounds a lot, but it was to be paid out over five years, if the university stuck to it, and it’s not really a lot, is it, for the obliteration of any trace of your presence at the school to which you devoted your entire teaching career….
I was struck by these lines – an aside in a piece on Nick Sandmann:
[Mike Adams] wrote with verve and humor. He seemed like a happy warrior. He didn’t cave at false charges, or wallow in synthetic guilt. Nor twist himself into pretzels, as timid ‘conservatives’ do, who are eager to placate the crocodiles by feeding them someone else.
He “seemed like” a happy warrior, but who knows? It’s a miserable, unrelenting, stressful life, as the friends fall away and the colleagues, who were socially distant years before Covid, turn openly hostile. There are teachers who agree with Mike Adams at UNCW and other universities – not a lot, but some – and there are others who don’t agree but retain a certain queasiness about the tightening bounds of acceptable opinion …and they all keep their heads down. So the burthen borne by a man with his head up, such as Adams, is a lonely one, and it can drag you down and the compensations (an invitation to discuss your latest TownHall column on the radio or cable news) are very fleeting….
We are assured that out in “the real world” there is a soi-disant “silent majority” whose voices will resound around the world on November 3rd. For what it’s worth, I don’t believe in the existence of this “silent majority”, and a political party that has won the popular vote only once in the last thirty years (2004) ought to be chary about over-investing in it.
But either way, if you’re doing the heavy lifting on an otherwise abandoned front of the culture war, what you mostly hear, as Mike Adams did, is the silent majority’s silence – month in, month out….
And yet, if the facts are as they appear, a tireless and apparently “happy warrior” – exhausted by a decade of litigation, threats, boycotts, ostracization and more – found himself sitting alone – and all he heard in the deafening silence of the “silent majority” was his own isolation and despair. A terrible end for a brave man. Rest in peace.
Even if his death was a result of homicide, Adams must have felt some of the emotions described by Steyn, though in this April 28, 2020 video he didn’t show outward signs.
We’ll continue to follow the story.
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