by Nick Hankoff
“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.”
These were God’s words to Isaiah in the time-honored essay Isaiah’s Job written by Albert Jay Nock. God instructed Isaiah to encourage the Remnant, the last hope when order had collapsed from false prosperity. This was published in 1936 at a time when the 66 year old Nock saw his oppositional view to centralization of power rescinding with little if any hope for a reprise. So he told a story of the fall of civilization and the hopeless task assigned to Isaiah. Was Nock correct to be so pessimistic about the Remnant? Who were the Remnant during Nock’s time and can we identify them today? (These questions matter to Republicans because this section of the social order now has a chance to show contrast between liberty and tyranny not seen since 1776.)
It may be simpler to point out what The Remnant is not. Not the mass man, the elite. Not the joiner-inner, the one-upper. (And not likely the type to get elected to the RNC.) These are the scattered and inscrutable ones among “rubbing along as best they can.” For Nock, they were embodied in the fading Old Right spirit that saw the threat of post-war governments never relenting in their grip over the economic means of the people to improve their own lives. Never in Nock’s days did a national figure stand up and force the choice between the individualist republic versus the collectivist empire so this Old Right Remnant perpetuated their refuge of existence.
Today, this faithful few who favor the world of ideas and stick to principle are more organized, more mainstream and would give Albert Jay Nock reassurement. The Remnant is rising and gaining influence with a powerful, yet accidental spokesperson. The Ron Paul style on liberty movement is them. The presidential candidate, Congressman Ron Paul from Texas is presenting the case for liberty not heard on a grand scale since the founding era.
All through the 19th and 20th century the founding principles and intentions of the Framers and Ratifiers have been totally disenfranchised at worst and a “spoiler” at best. The Democrats and Republicans switched positions and kept the masses dogmatic. With the mass media, minus the Chicago Tribune during the New Deal, all calling for bipartisanship there was temptation to compromise principles. The GOP’s Old Right lost to those who said Big Government was needed to defeat the Soviets. By the end of the Cold War, the government described in The Constitution was a radically different orientation of guarding the public trust.
It would take a candidacy of principle over party to shatter all the special interest control in today’s political environment. Those candidates will attract the Remnant, but who would fund that? No DC cronies of course. The message of liberty is carried much more spontaneously. Paul didn’t plant or cultivate them. He’s the only one they can turn to. The other candidates can’t get them and never will get them. But the Remnant can persuade the status-quo supporters. That’s why the establishment sees the writing on the wall. For so long, the answers didn’t matter as long as the establishment posed the question. But now Ron Paul poses the question that only the Remnant can answer. What is the nature of the state? Shall we have an individualist republic or a collectivist empire? Will we respect the economic means of everything peaceful in trade and association that allows for long term prosperity? Or will we instead favor the political means of legalized confiscation and aggression to serve temporary hegemony? In this way, the Remnant is preserving a vision antithetical to modern day “I’m proud to be an American because at least I know I’m free” culture. Those not politically connected or internally invested in gaining access to power have everything to fear from a Ron Paul presidency and the rise of the Remnant.