by Chris Sullivan: The
years ago, Albert Jay Nock wrote a column called Isaiah's
Job that was published in The Atlantic Monthly. It advanced
the idea that there is in any society a "Remnant" of people
who are interested in the truth and in doing the right thing by
their fellow man, but who are pretty much isolated from each other
and go about their business without ever knowing how many others
there are like themselves, if any.
of the Remnant can spot a phony immediately and will pay them no
mind, but they can spot the purveyor of the genuine article or "true
faith" just as easily. Isaiah is preaching to this Remnant
and to everybody else that wants to listen, but he has no way of
knowing who they are and they have no way of identifying each other.
I have thought
about this essay many times over the years in relation to some of
the modern Isaiahs such as Nock himself, but also people like Leonard
Read, Frank Chodorov, Lew Rockwell, Murray Rothbard, Joseph Sobran,
Jacob Hornberger and Ron Paul. These people disseminated their ideas,
but had no effective way to reach a mass audience. You almost had
to be in a clique to find out about The Freeman, The Rothbard
Rockwell Report, analysis or Sobran's. Most of the publications
were preaching to the choir for the simple reason that you had to
be in the choir to even find out about them.
Ron Paul is
probably the most visible Isaiah of modern times, at least in the
political realm because he had a little bit of a forum by virtue
of his congressional office.
of the Remnant have always been unorganized or disjointed because
it had no effective way of recognizing and communicating with its
members over a large area until the last fifteen years or so.
In Nock's day,
if you wanted to make others aware of his Isaiah article, you would
have to read it to them, buy multiple copies of the magazine or
perhaps mimeograph copies of it, since nobody had copying machines
or FAX machines or computers, and most people didn't own a newspaper.
This has all
changed with the advent of the internet. Now anybody can alert all
their friends in Botswana, Lichtenstein or the Azores about anything
they wish. This allows the message to get out quickly and without
a middle man "filtering" or censoring it, which of course
leads me to Jonah.
For most of
his congressional career, Ron Paul has been an Isaiah, but now he
seems to be turning into a Jonah. When Jonah told the people of
Nineveh that in forty days the city would be destroyed, they repented
and took remedial action, thus averting disaster. Paul has been
saying the same thing for years, but now it is becoming obvious
that what he was saying is true, and the people still a small
percentage are ready to put on sackcloth and ashes. Much
of this is because of his unrelenting fidelity to the message, but
a greater part is probably because the message can't be suppressed
like in the recent old days.
in the old-time news organs still try to ignore or minimize his
accomplishments, but they are becoming less relevant by the day.
With email, blogs, YouTube, world-wide access to unfiltered news
and opinion sites, social networking etc., it's as though a hydra-headed
genie has escaped the bottle.
ago, many of the comments about news articles concerning Ron Paul
would refer to him as "moonbat," "wingnut,"
"kook," "lunatic," or some other derisive term.
Now almost all the comments are in support of his ideas. It's as
though the people have heard the modern Jonah and are ready to put
on the sackcloth figuratively and ashes.
There is something
about truth that makes it recognized when heard not always, but
more often than not. When somebody has demonstrably been speaking
the truth his entire public life without apology and can finally
be heard, he will eventually be believed over the equivocators and
apostles of mendacity.
Here is a man
who said that the housing market is a bubble, we shouldn't go to
war with Iraq, and the Fed is an engine of inflation. Is he a kook
or a modern Jonah? Many people are starting to see him as the latter.
with permission from Different
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© 2011 Chris Sullivan