(There’s nothing like being beaten about the head and shoulders with your own rhetoric. MANY people emailed me this post from November 5, ARSH 2012 in response to my “considering quitting” piece. I had forgotten it. Obviously. Nock’s points are certainly edifying, but I’m still not enthusiastic about providing sparkling color commentary on the death of western civilization, which I know will be consumed as entertainment. Still thinking…)
The big, final economic presentation is on film. Thank goodness that’s done. I didn’t say everything I wanted to say, and am kicking myself for a few conceptual omissions, but it still ran two and a half hours. I can fill in any gaps in writing here, if need be. Here is an email from one of the handful of invited attendees who was present to give me a small human audience so I didn’t have to play just to a camera.
Good morning, Ann. I’m glad I was able to attend your presentation. The two and a half hours plus flew by and produced an impact that had an immediate effect on my thinking and understanding of not only our present economic situation but on our future as individuals and as a nation. I have known for sometime that our Republic is dead and that its ghost will soon be gone as well. It is the truth and you shared the truth, making sense to the complicated world of rhetoric that we all navigate through in our daily quests. You did an excellent job making your points and fueling my thirst to do what is right.
In the same email was sent along a link to an outstanding essay by Albert Jay Nock, who was an Episcopalian from the turn of the 20th century. It was penned in ARSH 1936 and is on Isaiah and the vocation of prophesying to the Remnant – NOT the masses. I’m not a prophet, but I can sure relate to the concepts laid out in this essay. Do read the whole thing, but I’ll just get you started with a few key excerpts. Remember, this was penned in ARSH 1936:
In the year of Uzziah’s death, the Lord commissioned the prophet [Isaiah] 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 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.”
Er, can you see why I’m liking this essay? Oh, but there’s so much more. Emphases mine:
As the word masses is commonly used, it suggests agglomerations of poor and underprivileged people, laboring people, proletarians, and 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 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.
Nock neglects to mention grace, the flowing of which is unquestionably reduced in these dark days in which the Church has seen more than 90% of its members apostatize since the Second Vatican Council in ARSH 1965 and the attempted desecration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and as a direct corollary western civilization has embraced sodomy, child sacrifice, and rampant theft and fraud. But be that as it may, the overall point still holds. I spoke to this point in my presentation, calling out the intellectually and morally superior people in society to reassert themselves and wrest back control of society from the imbeciles and psychopaths.
Did you just squirm at my use of the phrase “intellectually superior”? I’ll bet you did. We have all been taught and inculcated to believe that any acknowledgement of intellectual superiority of anyone over anyone else is RACIST, and this capitulation to self-loathing and lack of character is why civilization is collapsing. Believe it or not, this is actually a failure in HUMILITY. Humility is NOT self-loathing or false modesty. The root of the word humble means HONEST. Humility is being HONEST about one’s self. The vast majority of the time this means acknowledging one’s faults, but in other areas it means being honest about and acknowledging the POSITIVE aspects of one’s self. Hence I can make the following two statements about myself and BOTH are humble:
I, Ann Barnhardt, am of above-average contemporary human intelligence.
I, Ann Barnhardt, am a horrific, miserable sinner and am intellectually less-than-nothing compared to God.
Both statements are true. The key is to stay on the middle of the road between them and not go off into the ditch on either side of the road. Dishonesty in the form of false modesty or self-loathing will stifle potential and suppress one’s vocation to serve God according to the gifts He has bestowed. On the other hand, a dishonest and inflated sense of self leads to megalomania. But balance is not only possible, it is expected. Our model for this is the Blessed Virgin Mary, who provided the perfect model for humility in her Magnificat in Luke 1: “And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. Because He hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.” Mary can state boldly “all generations shall call me blessed” precisely because she is perfectly HUMBLE. She didn’t run around and lyingly berate herself to others in a manipulative self-serving effort to prove how morally superior she was. That’s what WE do, and have been trained to do, thus creating an intellectual and moral vacuum that has been filled by the stupid and the morally depraved, and that’s why our society is collapsing.
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 … Isaiah, on the other hand, worked under no such disabilities. He preached to the masses only in the sense that he preached publicly. Anyone who liked might listen; anyone who liked might pass by. He knew that the Remnant would listen; and knowing also that nothing was to be expected of the masses under any circumstances, he made no specific appeal to them, did not accommodate his message to their measure in any way, and did not care two straws whether they heeded it or not. As a modern publisher might put it, he was not worrying about circulation or about advertising. Hence, with all such obsessions quite out of the way, he was in a position to do his level best, without fear or favor, and answerable only to his august Boss.
That dynamic sure sounds familiar. Do read the whole essay. It is well worth your time. Or, you can listen to an audio version of it at the link at the very bottom under the biography.