Time for a change.
Albert Jay Nock wrote one of the best essays ever written, “Isaiah’s Job,” which first appeared in The Atlantic Monthly in 1936. The Wikipedia biography of Nock is linked here, a Mises Institute reprint of the essay here. If you take the time to read the essay, I can almost guarantee that somewhere in the future, you will take the time to reread it. The essay is about the prophet Isaiah, and here in three paragraphs is its central premise.
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 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.”
I suppose I knew, deep down, before I wrote the first word of my first novel, The Gordian Knot, that I would be writing for the Remnant. That’s not to say I’m in the same league as the prophet Isaiah. My sales, and the sales of my next two novels, The Golden Pinnacle and Prime Deceit, certainly confirm that I wasn’t writing for the masses. As a first novel The Gordian Knot had its flaws, and perhaps only merited its small, presumably indulgent, readership. I’m a quick study, though, and I try to be as rigorously self-critical and open to improvement as a fallible human with an ego can be. The next two novels were much better, and years after I’ve written them, I can’t see anything in either one that I’d change. They deserve a wider audience, and some day they may get it.
Not that I’ve ever wanted to be a bestseller machine. We Remnant writers know that’s never going to happen, and the whole routine seems quite distasteful. Keep writing books that are just like that first bestseller, only a little different. Resign yourself to whatever pigeonhole agents, publishers, and the bestseller lists consign you. Pull away from the tedious job of writing until you reach the next-to-highest level of the contemporary writing pyramid: your name on the cover selling books ghostwritten by the name in much smaller print below. Finally, that highest level, attained by only a few: hefty sales of new books with your name on the cover, written after you’re dead. I can’t begin to imagine the joy those elite authors must feel.
I suppose I also knew, deep down, when I started Straight Line Logic that I was blogging for the Remnant. The hit counter on my site indicates that here again, I’m not writing for the masses. However, by the standards of the alternative media I’ve done relatively well in a relatively short time. My articles are regularly reposted on sites with much greater readership than mine. Occasionally I’m invited by people who like what I write to give speeches to groups with which they are affiliated.
Unfortunately, we’ve reached Peak Insanity, and I’m tired of chronicling and commenting upon it. Regular readers know the insane litany, rehashing it here would be tedious. It’s become a struggle to find something new to write about, or even to write about something old in an interesting new way.
I’m not closing Straight Line Logic down, but I’m scaling it way back. Once in a while I’ll put up an article when I think I’ve got something interesting to say, but with nowhere near the frequency I have been. And once in a while I’ll put up other writers’ articles that I feel have singular merit. However, there will be days, perhaps weeks, when I put up nothing at all. If you receive regular emails about the site you’ll know when something new goes up. If you don’t, just check the Home page every so often. I hope that Western Rifle Shooters Association, NCRenegade, The Burning Platform, Zero Hedge, Lew Rockwell, and the many other fine websites that have featured my work will continue to do so, intermittent though it may be. I thank all of them and the people who make them go, particularly Peter White, David DeGerolamo, Jim Quinn, and the Tyler Durdens.
Straight Line Logic has been invaluable to me. While the commentary has been on current events, I believe the best of my essays will endure, embraced by the Remnant of this and future generations. Just as important, I have met some wonderful people and made friends for life through Straight Line Logic. As I get older those friendships age like fine wine, and I cherish them as perhaps only an older connoisseur can.
Which brings up the fact that I’m not getting any younger. I’m sixty now and as I ponder the remainder of my days, it’s become an imperative to spend that time wisely and happily. I am involved with a startup, 4Ry Inc., whose technology has the potential to upend several multi-billion industries. One example: our nozzle at the end of a diesel fuel injector could potentially increase diesel engine efficiency by 10 to 15 percent and cut particulates and other noxious emissions by a like percentage. We are working now with a leading fuel injector research firm to develop that product.
If 4Ry is successful, we will vindicate and enrich a genius—and our majority shareholder—Dr. Arnold Kelly, who has been innovating (he has over 30 patents) and consequently fighting the system all his life, as most innovators must. He deserves much more that he has so far received. This, to me, is a challenge worth undertaking, exponentially more worthwhile and interesting than excoriating insane idiots for their insanity, about which I can do nothing but make people aware, and which I know in my bones is leading inevitably to cataclysmic disaster. I want to devote as much time as I can to 4Ry. For those who want more information about 4Ry, see 4rysprays.com, and three articles on SLL I wrote about it, “The Choice,” Parts One, Two and Three.
I have at least two more novels in me, probably more. I also have plays, screenplays, and short stories. Use a good part of the time I’ve been spending every day on Straight Line Logic and all those prospective works have a chance of getting written. Keep doing what I’m doing and only if I live far beyond the years the actuarial tables indicate I’ll live—and stay healthy—will I accomplish what I want to accomplish. Writing is in my bones, chromosomes, genes, and every vital organ. I can no more not write than a fish cannot swim or Arnold Kelly cannot invent. However, it’s time to concentrate on writing what I enjoy writing most. Writing, as I recently told a dear friend, for the ages, not the reviews or the sales.
I once proposed an alternative news agency, dedicated to truth and fighting the mainstream media and fake news (see “Breaking the Alternative Media’s Dependence on the Mainstream Media,” SLL). To me, that idea now seems like more chronicling of the insane and their insanity, but anyone who sincerely wants to run with it is welcome to it. If you’d like, contact me and after I vet you and your plans, I’ll try to help with funding. However, I will assume no operational role under any circumstance.
Rest assured, I’m not dropping off the planet. Someday the Remnant “will come back and build up a new society.” In the interim, they know where to find me and my works. As for the rest, they have never been my concern.
h/t Holly O for the title of this piece.