Isaiah and the Remnant

During his lectures at the University of Virginia in 1933, T.S. Eliot explained in "After Strange Gods" that in every generation only a small number of people, a remnant, are in possession of any criteria for discriminating between good and evil while the number of,

"...half-alive hungry for any form of spiritual experience, or what offers itself as spiritual considerable."  (Permanent Things, Andrew A. Tadie and Michael Macdonald, p. 5)

But Eliot's 'modernist' generation had failed their moral duty to transmit the transcendent permanent things, the humane elements--- the good, the true, the honorable, the beautiful, the four cardinal virtues of justice, temperance, courage and prudence, the three supernatural virtues of faith, hope and charity and the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost." (ibid,  David Whalen, p. 31)  

The treacherous  'modern' generation deliberately betrayed the masses by fostering a process of decay.  According to conservative poet and journalist Anthony Harrigan (1925-2010), modernists forced the,

"....acceptance of pornography as medical science, filth as artistic realism, and abnormality as a mere difference of opinion....Americans are in the hands of a cultural ruling class which, having led to destruction the humane elements in our civilization, is conducting us to ruin...." (The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America, George H. Nash, pp. 39-40)

 Like Harrigan, Eliot knew of the deliberate betrayal of the masses:

"Never has the printing press been so busy, and never have such varieties of buncombe and false doctrine come from it. 'Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! O Israel, thy prophets have been like foxes in the waste places.....And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying Son of man, these men have taken their idols into their hearts, and put the stumbling block of their iniquity before their face: should I be inquired of at all by them?" (ibid, p. 5)

So rather than being edified and spiritually and morally uplifted and strengthened, from Eliot's generation to our own, the masses have been brought up on a diet of pseudo-science, mystical evolutionary philosophy, sophistry, propaganda and foulness transmitted by way of media, books, movies, entertainment, schools, and so-called 'science' which loathsomely misrepresents human nature and incites to gross acts of transgression, violence, perversion, sadism, cruelty, and other types of evil.   This depravity not only reflects the growing corruption of our society but defiantly justifies it.

Our depraved generation of liars is quickly becoming the 'worthless' generation of Isaiah.   In 1936, Albert Jay Nock explained in his essay "Isaiah's Job" that when the Lord commissioned Isaiah in the year of Uzziah's death to go out and warn the people of the wrath to come He said,

"Tell them what a worthless lot they are." "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."  (Mises Daily, June 21, 2008)

Isaiah had been very willing to take on the job said Nock, and in fact, he had asked for it — but the prospect raised the obvious question: Why, if all that were so — if the enterprise were 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." (ibid)

So it was the Remnant and not the depraved masses that Isaiah was to reach since if anything good were ever to be done in Judea, the Remnant would have to do it. 

Whether high or low, king or slave, priest or layman, the apostatizing masses are those who are spiritually, intellectually, and morally immature, thus according to Nock they possess,

" ....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 and 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."  (ibid)

 The picture presented by Isaiah of mass man depicts him as not only,

"... weak minded and weak willed, but as by consequence knavish, arrogant, grasping, dissipated, unprincipled, unscrupulous. The mass woman also gets off badly, as sharing all the mass man's untoward qualities, and contributing a few of her own in the way of vanity and laziness, extravagance and foible. The list of luxury products that she patronized is interesting; it calls to mind the women's page of a Sunday newspaper in 1928, or the display set forth in one of our professedly "smart" periodicals. In another place, Isaiah even recalls the affectations that we used to know by the name "flapper gait" and the "debutante slouch." (ibid)

This view of the masses is the one that we find prevailing not only among the Old Testament Prophets and ancient authorities such as Plato and Marcus Aurelius whose writings have come down to us but also in the Book of Revelations.   But in the 18th century, certain morally depraved Enlightenment philosophers spread the notion that the mass man, in his natural (fallen) state, is not at all the kind of person that earlier authorities made him out to be,

"....but on the contrary, that he is a worthy object of interest. His untowardness is the effect of environment, an effect for which "society" is somehow responsible. If only his environment permitted him to live according to his lights, he would undoubtedly show himself to be quite a fellow; and the best way to secure a more favorable environment for him would be to let him arrange it for himself. The French Revolution acted powerfully as a springboard for this idea, projecting its influence in all directions throughout Europe." (ibid, Nock)

 From Europe it spread to America where today depraved mass man is Protagorean man, the measure of all things.   Whatever he covets, whatever spite, malice, nonsense, whimsy, or caprice takes him must be treated with all seriousness and so deeply ingrained in our utterly perverse culture is the idea that all that pertains to value begins subjectively in the feelings of mass man that everyone from our president to our politicians and priests are eager for mass man's acceptance and approval. 

Very great care is taken to capture the masses' attention and interest on behalf ofeverything from buying votes to mass marketing and church growth.  Albert Nock writes that this attitude towards the masses is so exclusive and so devout,

"....that one is reminded of the troglodytic monster described by Plato, and the assiduous crowd at the entrance to its cave, trying obsequiously to placate it and win its favor, trying to interpret its inarticulate noises, trying to find out what it wants, and eagerly offering it all sorts of things that they think might strike its fancy."

Appealing to mass man however, necessitates an opportunistic dumbing-down of everything from reading, writing and arithmetic to church doctrine. If for example you are a priest interested in attracting as large a congregation as possible, which means an appeal to the depraved masses, then you must replace intellectually-oriented hymns with mind-numbing rock and reduce your message to the order of intellect and character that the masses exhibit.

If you are an educator said Nock,

"... 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 in the realization of these ambitions,

"....the prophetic message is so heavily adulterated with trivialities... 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."

While Hollywood, spiritual gurus, sophists, so-called scientists, false prophets and priests of the American masses must aim consciously at the lowest common denominator of intellect, taste, and character, the prophet of the Remnant on the other hand, is in the enviable position offorking out the very best he knows how to produce,

"...knowing it would be understood and appreciated by those for whom he produced it, and caring not a button what anyone else thought of it — and that makes a good job." (Nock)

In any given generation our Lord's Remnant are almost always an unknown quantity. You do not know, and will never know, more than two things about them said Nock:

" You can be sure of those — dead sure, as our phrase is — but you will never be able to make even a respectable guess at anything else. You do not know, and will never know, who the Remnant are, nor what they are doing or will do. Two things you do know, and no more: First, that they exist; second, that they will find you.... the Remnant will find (the prophet). He may rely on that with absolute assurance. They will find him without his doing anything about it; Except for these two certainties, working for the Remnant means working in impenetrable darkness; and this, I should say, is just the condition calculated most effectively to pique the interest of any prophet who is properly gifted with the imagination, insight and intellectual curiosity necessary to a successful pursuit of his trade."

Almost everyone today is overly eager to reach the masses except for the prophet of the Remnant.  Though like Isaiah it means being a nobody in the eyes of the world and means working in impenetrable darkness, his job is a good job, a rewarding one that is,

"... much more interesting than serving the masses; and moreover it is the only job in our whole civilization, as far as I know, that offers a virgin field."

@Linda Kimball