If you’re sick of hearing bad news you’ve starting reading the right column today. Everyone else is talking about the end of the world. There are predictions of war in the Middle East. There’s talk of an even greater economic downturn in the not-too-distant future. Some people are even predicting the Union will begin to dissolve in a few short years. But I’m spending the week telling stories, real stories, about some great people and some great organizations that give me hope. Stick with me for the next few days and you’ll probably feel a whole lot better about your country and your future.
Tyler was 17 years old when he read my column “Sugar Mountain,” which was a scathing attack on the liberal mind-set. He didn’t like the column in part because he was a liberal - although he wasn’t, at the time, affiliated with any political party. But he also disliked the column because it sharply criticized the conduct of a member of our congregation. Although it did not mention him by name it still created a minor controversy.
Tyler sent me an email response, which, among other things, reminded me I should not judge other people. I drew four conclusions based on his email: 1) He was very bright, 2) he was very articulate, 3) he was very outspoken, and 4) his mind was filled with liberal public school propaganda that had never been subjected to cross-examination.
And so the games began. I fired off a series of emails to Tyler, which were intended to show him how silly the “tolerance as the highest virtue” mindset really is. Just as anti-ethnocentrism can quickly devolve into outright ethnocentrism, anti-hypocrisy can quickly devolve into outright hypocrisy. I made my points and after I got a little testy and called Tyler a hypocrite I decided to turn off the computer.
The months went by and Tyler continued to write for an independent campus newspaper. He told me he continued to read my columns and admitted that my sarcastic style was beginning to rub off on him. He went to order a copy of my first book off Amazon. He asked if I would sign it for him. I wrote the following inscription on the title page: “To Tyler Millage, a future conservative leader - Mike S. Adams.”
A few years have gone by since I wrote that inscription. Tyler has organized events on campus like “Empty Holster Day,” which seeks to extend concealed carry rights to college campuses. He’s also served as an officer for the College Republicans. Just a few weeks ago he was on campus passing out copies of the U.S. Constitution with the Young Americans for Liberty. Finally, and most importantly, he’s taken a job with the Leadership Institute (LI). In other words, he’s a present conservative leader. I should have been a meteorologist. Or maybe even a stock broker.
This semester Tyler came back to live in Wilmington after a summer of training at LI. He had been helping LI develop and promote their new Campus Reform project. I asked Tyler via email what they intended to accomplish with the new program. Here’s the written statement he sent back to me:
“Campus Reform is allowing conservative and libertarian students to break the stranglehold that the left has had on academia for decades. It provides all of the necessary tools and resources that the right needs to stand up against the leftist indoctrination on college campuses. Simply put, www.CampusReform.org is an online community organizer for the right, allowing students to network and find other like-minded students that want to affect the political discourse on their campus.”
I logged on to the website just a few days ago and was stunned to see what some young activists are now doing. On one public university campus in Kentucky, students were required to receive university approval for any political flier posted anywhere on campus. In other words, they were not allowed to speak without prior government approval from agents seeking to ban potentially “offensive” speech. Next thing you know, they’ll require prior approval for all political thoughts.
But the students fought to defeat that policy and then turned their attention towards an unconstitutional speech zone policy. The policy in question actually banned free speech on 99% of the public university campus.
The kids from Kentucky announced their plans to protest the patently illegal policy – outside the parameters of the speech zone! (Who says being a conservative is boring?). I used Campus Reform to contact the kids and let them know I could secure free legal representation for them, if necessary.
The protest went off without incident.
As I write the closing lines of this first installment in my “Profiles in Courage” series my mind goes back to 2002. That was the year I stepped out and began trying to educate people about what I called a “constitutional crisis” in higher education. I was often alone back then. When I told stories about speech zones and speech codes many people thought I was making them up. Even my own mother thought the stories were too bizarre to be true.
Now, seven years later, everything has changed. Everyone knows what I’ve been saying is true. Some lie in order to discredit those of us who are trying to do something about it. In fact, tenured faculty and staff members sit at their desks every day looking for my columns. When they see one on the internet they spend the entire day posting remarks attacking me and trying to undermine my assault on leftist indoctrination on college campuses. It’s as if they have nothing better to do. And, in their twisted narrow minds, they really don’t.
But now there is a whole army of young activists like Tyler Millage. The army is growing every day. I taught many of them. But now many of them are teaching me. And I’m learning there has never been a better time to be a liberty-loving American at the dawn of a new conservative era. Before long, it will be morning in America again.