Perspectives: Election dismay, ever heard of the remnant?

OPINION – As the dust settles from this week’s primary election, the results have provoked some very predictable reactions from the old and new guard.

On the one hand, the old guard is heaving a sigh of relief that their grasp on power is secure – for now. They successfully rallied their political supporters and cronies and held off a determined challenge from members of the new guard. They’ve proven once again that they are perfectly capable of closing ranks to protect against what they consider interlopers on their turf.

One might even forgive them and their supporters for being tempted to swagger a bit at their success.

The fact that many of the old guard members were forced into primaries this year is likely to spark more talk of scrapping the caucus system.  The delegates are proving to be far more discriminating than the average voter when it comes to vetting candidates.

This in no way suggests that the old guard or the voters who supported them are evil or stupid. But it does suggest that it’s easier to sway a populace that’s more committed to seeking benefits than it is to devoting time to understanding the core issues and principles at stake.

This blind spot on the part of so many voters and old guard members is one of the reasons we see government expanding at every level while individual freedoms are declining. For now the trend will continue unabated.

Meanwhile, members of the new guard and their supporters are reacting to the election results with an understandable mix of disappointment and sour grapes.

Many of the new guard candidates have just received their first taste of the blood sport known as politics. Anyone who hasn’t been on the receiving end of a public smear and distortion campaign organized by highly paid political propagandists might be tempted to be less than sympathetic.

But, even in defeat, the new guard candidates comported themselves with honor and a good deal of grace. They may have lost this particular election, but they have established themselves as leaders in the truest sense. Their turn will come.

In the meantime, those voters who feel a sense of hopelessness at the outcome of the election would do well to remember that, historically, they are in good company.

When their critics sneeringly dismiss the new guard as a tiny, irrelevant minority, new guard members should take solace in the fact that it was a smug majority that cried out to free Barabbas. A telling characteristic of the crowd is their willingness to follow the path of least resistance. It requires real courage to reject situational ethics when you are in the minority.

Albert Jay Nock’s brilliant essay “Isaiah’s Job” refers to a “saving remnant” of individuals whose focus was to seek truth and pass that truth on to future generations. These are individuals whose awareness has progressed beyond the fashionably illusive thinking that would allow them to be part of the crowd. This awareness comes, not from being better or smarter than everyone else, but rather from a willingness to seek truth—even painful truths.

Nock said of these individuals, “You do not know and will never know who the Remnant are, or where they are, or how many of them there are, or 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.”

This means that, by necessity, the remnant will find itself working in relative obscurity a great deal of the time. When the crowd rejects truth and turns its collective nose up at those who speak it, the remnant does not.

In a worst-case scenario, when corrupted conventional wisdom leads to decline and ruin, as it has in other civilizations, it is often the remnant that is tasked with rebuilding.

Thankfully, there are still plenty of reasons to remain optimistic. A recent study at the Rensselear Polytechnic Institute has found that once an unshakeable belief is held by just ten percent of a population, it reaches a tipping point where it will be widely adopted by the majority of that society.

There may yet come a day when the remnant will be built up to the point that the values on which good government rests will once again be the norm. But that day will not come until our love of truth outweighs our attachment to our beliefs.

 

Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives morning show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: bryanh@stgnews.com

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright 2012 St. George News.

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