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Courage Is Contagious

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Tags StrategyU.S. History

07/31/2019

As nature moved past the longest day of the year at the end of June and began its slow march toward the shortest day of the year — a march toward the darkest part of the year — a courageous voice was silenced.

Justin Raimondo leaves behind decades of writing, interviews, and speeches. He leaves behind a sense of passion and courage — a level of courage so expansive that he was not likely to ever realize how impactful he was, which is part of the nature of being a courageous person.

Courage is contagious and the mere act of being courageous ripples out with immeasurable impact.

Justin Raimondo said things that were painful to hear. He said things that needed saying. He encouraged me. He encouraged friends of mine. He encouraged colleagues of mine.

Raimondo spoke openly and publicly of things that some wouldn’t dare say behind closed doors even in the strictest confidence, and he did so with a bold penchant for the truth. I watched his inspiration ripple firsthand, often on topics that had little to do with what Raimondo was specifically writing about. It was his courage that was so impactful, for courage is contagious.

Like his teacher Murray Rothbard, Raimondo so insightfully said what needed to be said to pursue the truth, and in the process disseminated courage. This was so common to find in his writing that specifics are hardly necessary.

It is with shock that one might read a Raimondo piece.

Citing this contagious courage, one writer eulogized him in the piece “How Justin Raimondo Made Me a Braver Writer.”

There are prophets in our era. And the prophets may never see the outcome of their work, in fact, Albert Jay Nock in 1936 wrote that this was exactly the prophet’s work — to disavow themselves of any belief that they would change the status quo and to instead realize that the prophets exist to appeal to the Remnant, a Remnant whose members might never even make themselves known to the prophet.

In "Isaiah’s Job," Nock writes:

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. ...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.

This lesson is as true today as it was in 1936 when Nock wrote it and cautioned against seeking to change the masses. It is as true today as it was during the reign of King Uzziah when Isaiah lived. It is a timeless lesson from history.

Nock goes on to point out “the monstrously inflated importance of the masses has apparently put all thought of a possible mission to the Remnant out of the modern prophet's head.” This is a loss to a society when the people most suited to be prophets are attempting to water down their messages and lead mass movements.

Praising Isaiah after he came to understand his role as preacher to the Remnant, Nock writes:

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.

This outcome independence and dedicated insistence to hold true to the core message — rather than to adulterate the core message in order to influence popular opinion — was the work of the prophet.

This was thankless work, for seldom would the Remnant, the true disciples in the crowd, even make themselves known to the prophet. The prophet could take solace in only two facts that he could know about the Remnant:

Two things you do know, and no more: First, that they exist; second, that they will find you. 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.

Justin Raimondo was a writer for the Remnant. He was an inspiration for the Remnant, as his courage rippled out from his plain-spoken truth. He was a challenge to the Remnant as his ideas challenged them to greater intellectual consistency in themselves.

The Remnant has lost a prophet, and it is a sad thing. It would be sadder yet if he had not inspired so many from among the Remnant to rise up and fill that massive presence he leaves behind. Yet, it would be sadder if he did not do his job of prophet so well. But that he did — he performed his role masterfully and inspired the Remnant. He passes the mantle to many others who would not have been prepared to accept it in the absence of his contagious sense of courage.

That prophet may not have moved the policies of the United States one iota in his lifetime from the welfare-warfare state. But that is not the work of the prophet. The work of the prophet is to keep alive the message and deliver it with courage to the Remnant.

Thank you, Justin Raimondo. Your courage is contagious. Your message resonates. You have grown and emboldened the Remnant in your day, and for that I am most grateful. You are one of the most inspiring prophets of our age and have positively and dramatically impacted the life of this member of the Remnant, and many others who never made themselves known to you.

Allan Stevo is the best selling author of The Bitcoin Manifesto. He is also the author of Somewhere Between Bratislava and DC and the forthcoming 17 Nov 1989. He writes specifically on Slovak culture and generally on Central European culture from an Austrian-School perspective at 52 Weeks in Slovakia.

Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.
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