Selling Free Economy Principles
[Reprinted from The Freeman, January, 1940,
with the title "Elija, Go To Work"]
One night last month I was telling Albert Jay Nock how difficult it
had become to make people understand the full implications of a free
economy. How even after they had read several books of Henry George
there still lurked in their minds the thought that some regulation of
man by that undefined divinity, the State, was necessary, even
beneficial. How the tentacles of collectivistic thought have so
fastened themselves on the public mind that there seemed, to me at
least, no hope of freeing it.
Perhaps Mr. Nock detected a despairing what's-the-use-of-it-all. For.
he said: "Remember the story of Elijah. You can't quit."
I read the story of Elijah. The prophet had got into a rumpus with
Ahab, a king of Israel who had forsaken Jehovah for Baal, apparently
at the behest of his heretical wife, Jezebel. The theological
controversy led to much murder. In fact, all the other prophets of
Israel were slain. Elijah, the only one left, felt so despondent over
the whole affair -- and particularly because the children of Israel
had forsaken the truth for a false god -- that he ran away into the
wilderness, and he asked the Lord to take his, life too. "For I
am not better than my fathers."
Elijah had quit -- quit cold on his job, But the Lord (or was it that
inner voice that pipes up when we go haywire?) wouldn't let him. He
told Elijah to get back to his work, gave him some directions, and
convinced him with this argument: "I have left me seven thousand
in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every
mouth which hath not kissed him."
So, those are the ones we are working for -- "the seven thousand"
who never have and never will accept the modern Baal of regimentation.
Where are they? Only the Lord knows, for we find some in high places
and some in low places. Among the Sanhedrin and among the unlearned,
in the pent houses and in the ditches dwell the seekers of truth. Who
are they? The half of that mystical two per cent who reply to our
circulars and have the prediction for freedom that prompts an honest
inquiry of its philosophy.
When our friends and loved ones snicker at our enthusiasm, when our
publicans and our literati proclaim the supremacy of Baal, when the
hungered mob roars out its liturgy of slavery, when the powerful
preach the doctrines of more power and more privilege -- when, indeed,
the struggle for freedom seems most hopeless, let us remember the
Lord's "seven thousand." Though we know them not, they will
come to us, and be of us, because they are the saving Remnant who
throughout time have been the prophets of truth.
So, out of the wilderness, Elijah, and get to work!