Thanks to Dr. Paul Rux’s great new blog, my interest was peaked with his recent post, “The Ever-vital Remnant.” Of course, anytime someone wants to refer to the “Remnant,” they catch my attention since Mary’s Anawim blog was formed with this “Remnant” in mind.
This led me to read this classic essay by Albert J. Nock. I’ve shared a portion below … the entire essay can be found here.
At times I chuckled and other times my jaw dropped as I drew great strength and hope from this incredibly insightful look at both the reality and the timeless struggle of the ever-present “Remnant.” All of the bolding below is mine, as I wanted to draw attention to some key points.
Madness surrounds us as a few remain to come to the protection of the 50 million defenseless babies slaughtered every year world-wide, and while we are about to destroy the sanctity of marriage, to just begin to name a few. All the while, people look on, seeming to have not a care from their heart. From the essay below, “The mass-man is one who has neither the force of intellect to apprehend the principles issuing in what we know as the humane life, nor the force of character to adhere to those principles.”
Who didn’t shake their heads in disbelief with the recent news report of the man hit by a car, as what seemed to be an eternity, before anyone came to his aid? The reverence for life has been reduced to only a “Remnant” in these days of insanity.
George Orwell once said, “During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” This election year will highlight the epidemic proportions of the presence of the “mass-man.” To heartlessly vote for a pro-death candidate, who is also in favor of infanticide, only illustrates how hardened our population has become to basic principals of reverence for humanity.
Are you a “mass-man” or are you one of the few “remnant” who are hanging on for dear life?
by Albert J. Nock
One evening last autumn, I sat long hours with a European acquaintance while he expounded a politico-economic doctrine which seemed sound as a nut and in which I could find no defect. At the end, he said with great earnestness: “I have a mission to the masses. I feel that I am called to get the ear of the people. I shall devote the rest of my life to spreading my doctrine far and wide among the populace. What do you think?”
An embarrassing question in any case, and doubly so under the circumstances, because my acquaintance is a very learned man, one of the three or four really first-class minds that Europe produced in his generation; and naturally I, as one of the unlearned, was inclined to regard his lightest word with reverence amounting to awe…
I referred him to the story of the prophet Isaiah….I shall paraphrase the story in our common speech since it has to be pieced out from various sources. . .
The prophet’s career began at the end of King Uzziah’s reign, say about 740 B.C. This reign was uncommonly long, almost half a century, and apparently prosperous. It was one of those prosperous reigns, however like the reign of Marcus Aurelius at Rome, or the administration of Eubulus at Athens, or of Mr. Coolidge at Washington where at the end the prosperity suddenly peters out and things go by the board with a resounding crash.
In the year of Uzziah’s death, the Lord commissioned the prophet to go out and warn the people of the wrath to come. “Tell them what a worthless lot they are,” He said. “Tell them what is wrong, and why, and what is going to happen unless they have a change of heart and straighten up. Don’t mince matters. Make it clear that they are positively down to their last chance. Give it to them good and strong and keep on giving it to them. I suppose perhaps I ought to tell you,” He added, “that it won’t do any good. The official class and their intelligentsia will turn up their noses at you, and the masses will not even listen. They will all keep on in their own ways until they carry everything down to destruction, and you will probably be lucky if you get out with your life.”
Isaiah had been very willing to take on the job in fact, he had asked for it but the prospect put a new face on the situation. It raised the obvious question: Why, if all that were so if the enterprise was to be a failure from the start was there any sense in starting it?
“Ah,” the Lord said, “you do not get the point. There is a Remnant there that you know nothing about. They are obscure, unorganized, inarticulate, each one rubbing along as best he can. They need to be encouraged and braced up because when everything has gone completely to the dogs, they are the ones who will come back and build up a new society; and meanwhile, your preaching will reassure them and keep them hanging on. Your job is to take care of the Remnant, so be off now and set about it”….
What do we mean by the masses, and what by the Remnant?
As the word masses is commonly used, it suggests agglomerations of poor and underprivileged people, laboring people, proletarians. But it means nothing like that; it means simply the majority. The mass-man is one who has neither the force of intellect to apprehend the principles issuing in what we know as the humane life, nor the force of character to adhere to those principles steadily and strictly as laws of conduct; and because such people make up the great, the overwhelming majority of mankind, they are called collectively the masses. The line of differentiation between the masses and the Remnant is set invariably by quality, not by circumstance. The Remnant are those who by force of intellect are able to apprehend these principles, and by force of character are able, at least measurably, to cleave to them. The masses are those who are unable to do either.
The picture which Isaiah presents of the Judean masses is most unfavorable. In his view, the mass-man be he high or be he lowly, rich or poor, prince or pauper-gets off very badly. He appears as not only weak-minded and weak-willed, but as by consequence knavish, arrogant, grasping, dissipated, unprincipled, unscrupulous…
As things now stand, Isaiah’s job seems rather to go begging. Everyone with a message nowadays is, like my venerable European friend, eager to take it to the masses. His first, last, and only thought is of mass-acceptance and mass-approval. His great care is to put his doctrine in such shape as will capture the masses’ attention and interest….
The main trouble with this [mass-man approach] is its reaction upon the mission itself. It necessitates an opportunist sophistication of one’s doctrine, which profoundly alters its character and reduces it to a mere placebo. If, say, you are a preacher, you wish to attract as large a congregation as you can, which means an appeal to the masses; and this, in turn, means adapting the terms of your message to the order of intellect and character that the masses exhibit. If you are an educator, say with a college on your hands, you wish to get as many students as possible, and you whittle down your requirements accordingly. If a writer, you aim at getting many readers; if a publisher, many purchasers; if a philosopher, many disciples; if a reformer, many converts; if a musician, many auditors; and so on. But as we see on all sides, in the realization of these several desires the prophetic message is so heavily adulterated with trivialities, in every instance, that its effect on the masses is merely to harden them in their sins. Meanwhile, the Remnant, aware of this adulteration and of the desires that prompt it, turn their backs on the prophet and will have nothing to do with him or his message. The Remnant want only the best you have, whatever that may be. Give them that, and they are satisfied; you have nothing more to worry about….