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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/8212/isaiahs-job/

Isaiah’s Job

June 20, 2008 by


“The Prophet Isaiah” by Michelangelo (1475–1564)

I cannot remember a time, wrote Albert Jay Nock in 1936, when so many energumens were so variously proclaiming the Word to the multitude and telling them what they must do to be saved. This being so, it occurred to me, as I say, that the story of Isaiah might have something in it to steady and compose the human spirit until this tyranny of windiness is overpast. If the Lord’s word is good for anything — I do not offer any opinion about that — the only element in Judean society that was particularly worth bothering about was the Remnant. Isaiah seems finally to have got it through his head that this was the case; that nothing was to be expected from the masses, but that if anything substantial were ever to be done in Judea, the Remnant would have to do it. This is a very striking and suggestive idea; but before going on to explore it, we need to be quite clear about our terms. What do we mean by the masses, and what by the Remnant?


An MP3 version of this article, read by Dr. Floy Lilley, is available for free download.


Carol Dworkowski June 21, 2008 at 7:23 am

The masses do have a predatory egoistic tendency to develop an entitlement mentality that needs no encouragement from Prophets of Justice. However, the political/economic power-elites also have an egoistic proclivity to privilege even when their influence is due to inherited rather than earned wealth. Egoistic predatory aggression is no respecter of class.

Unlike modern prophets, the Old Testament prophets spoke the “hard truths” to both poor and marginalized and powerful elites that addressed the faults and failings unique to each particular social circumstance.

Under the influence of Marxism, Liberation theology, whether Black or Latin American, speaks the message directed by the biblical prophets to the power-elites to the masses with the resulting incitement to anger and resentment that, whether intentional or not, usually leads to a violence that the Judeo/Christian tradition has always explicitly or implicitly condemned.

“Hell hath no fury like an interest masquerading as a principle.”–Anonymous

Scott Baird June 21, 2008 at 8:51 pm

Astute, and erudite. Leftists and populists will find this material very distrubing.

Rouseau the father of all modern leftist movements? Nothing of the kind is stated. The piece makes great demands of its readers.

Saved it to my favorites file.

Chris June 22, 2008 at 11:03 am

This great essay brought to mind the Ron Paul Presidential Campaign.

Dr. Paul took the message of Liberty and refused to dumb-it-down one bit. He didn’t pander…he kept the message pure.

In fact, the quality of his speeches and interviews throughout the entire campaign were of the standard you would find right here on Mises.org.

And just look how huge the remnant is! Millions of people.

The next step is the Campaign For Liberty…a perfect transition.

Well done Dr. Paul!

Bruce Koerber June 22, 2008 at 9:50 pm

Albert Jay Nock delved deeply into unthought-of signs and symbols. How very thought provoking!

I like the analogy that Chris makes to the purity of the message that Ron Paul uncompromisingly adheres to. Those of us who have perceived the meaning of natural law as it pertains to the human reality can humbly feel honored to be among the praised ‘Remnant.’

But that distinction is not without tests and difficulties. These heavy responsibilities sure are interesting though.

DavidB June 23, 2008 at 11:09 am

Thanks for posting that. Keep posting it again and again. Not only does it refresh the spirit and the courage but it wakes up a whole new lot of ‘mad prophets’ to keep preaching no matter what and no matter if the world is listening or not

You’ll know who was listening when Christ says, “My child, look around you. GREAT is your reward.” I believe at that point that He will then reveal to us all the souls we helped to bring in to His kingdom.

So KEEP PREACHING, mad prophets! (;

gene berman June 24, 2008 at 6:32 am

Are we not in the slightest curious as to the identity of the man with whom Nock was speaking, “one of the three or four really first-class minds that Europe produced in his generation” and for whose immediate benefit were concocted the ideas left to us in “Isaiah’s Job?” And an economic theorist intent on spreading his message to the masses? Rothbard would have been only 10 at the time, Mises wouldn’t arrive for years. A lierary device. perhaps?

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