I recently read “Isaiah’s Job” by Albert J Nock. It’s an essay that inspired generations of anarcho capitalists and libertarians such as Rothbard and Rand, so if you’ve not yet read it, do so now or bookmark it for later:
I was introduced to it by Francis Pouliot at Bitcoin 2021, on a roundtable with Russell Okung, MVDEX, Matt Snow and a few others. I finally got around to reading it three weeks ago, but it struck such a chord with me that I feel like I had known it from a past life.
The piece is dense, eloquent and describes “the Remnant,” a character or archetype which you might know instinctively, but may not yet have put into words.
You may have heard the term “Remnant” being used by Pouliot, myself or others. It’s how “those who matter” were described by God to Isaiah, and is a reference you’ll find not only in the Bible, but in meaningful literature from across the ages.
This is my homage to it. The modern day Remnant are the Bitcoiners.
It is they who matter. It is they who will deliver the mindless masses from the jaws of hell, servitude and despair. And they will do it not only without the support of the masses (who are all too ready to enslave themselves), but literally despite them.
Bitcoiners, I dedicate this to you. Wherever you are. Whoever you are.
If you’re reading this, you know who you are.
Before I get into my overview of “Isaiah’s Job,” I want to (hopefully) challenge you. Few phrases, ideas or statements enrage me more than the following:
- Mass adoption
- “It’s for everyone”
- “We’re all in this together”
- “We are all one”
I don’t need to remind you of the last two, because you see them plastered all over the media (in every form) and drilled into your brain via a never-ending deluge of Orwellian messages on repeat at airports, shopping centers, train stations and public venues.
Despite their seemingly-innocuous injunction, we know all too well what they mean, and where they lead. We see the ramifications all around us. Mindless zombies walking alone in the park or driving solo while wearing face diapers, led by maniacal authoritarians who want to inject first and “study the long-term effects” later.
The idiocy of “equality” I have bashed in the past, and you can learn more on that here: “Equality Breeds Conformity”
The phrase that I want to point my literary shotgun at today is the one that’s driven me crazy for years now:
I wrote an essay a couple of years back called: “DO NOT BUY BITCOIN,” and in there I mentioned the idea of “selective adoption.” In fact, I’ve spoken about this multiple times at conferences and meetups, to a mixture of either strong support or hesitant agreement, as if what I said was blasphemy…
“Did he just say that?” “Is this right?” “What about all of the unbanked people?”
So, let me be clear and blunt: Mass adoption is never the goal for anything transformative, because the opinion or behavior of the masses does not matter.
The masses, aka, “the herd,” by definition come last. They do not set the trend, but follow it. They are the laggards. What they want is not important because they either have no idea what that is, or they simply default to what is available.
As Henry Ford famously said:
Today, we have the calendar, the engine, the computer and mechanical flight thanks to Remnants such as Galileo, Newton, Einstein and Bohr. The same goes for Tesla, Rockefeller and Jobs.
They all changed the world because they did not build for the masses.
They built for the future and those who could see that future. The Remnant.
The masses came later, and by that point, the Remnant was building and converging around what would come next.
So, here’s my contention:
For Bitcoin, or any other grand invention for that matter, to succeed, it needs selective adoption.
It needs to be built for the game changers. For the revolutionaries. For the 1%. For the trendsetters. For the leaders and for the Remnant.
We are the ones who make it into a default, because we have the courage to buck the trend.
If we depended on the masses, the default would be Gulags, and they’d be happy with their lot:
Yes, “Bitcoin is for everybody,” but “everybody” will come not because they understand it or know why it exists. They’ll come because it’s the only choice left. They’ll come once we’ve already won, and when truth has prevailed.
Have I challenged you a little?
Have I perhaps rubbed you the wrong way?
Are there any cracks in that “mass adoption” message you‘ve heard over and over and over again?
I hope so. Because what follows is why the above is not just an opinion, but a fact of life.
Thank you once again to Pouliot for the intro to this essay and, of course, to Nock for writing it, may he rest in peace.
An Homage To Albert Jay Nock
Unless otherwise noted, the following excerpts are from “Isaiah’s Job,” and commentary is by yours truly:
Has a better paragraph describing modern society versus Bitcoiners ever been written?
I mean, for 12 years, Bitcoiners have been laughed at. Not just by the mainstream but by blockchainers, shitcoiners, no-coiners, the media, governments, the intelligentsia and even so-called “freedom fighters” like Chris Sky.
And now, against the backdrop of a world genuinely going to hell, we’re fighting to build a Noah’s Ark so that the Remnant can get out with their lives and rebuild.
When I’m asked, “Why do you write?” or, “Why do you speak out?” or, “Why do you run a Bitcoin-only company? You could make so much more money by listing [insert shitcoin],” the above quote and the below quote are the answers why.
In fact, whether Bitcoiners know it or not, this is deep inside all of them. We are the Remnant and we know that when we speak, there are those who will listen. Yes, I am talking to you right now.
For every one Remnant who gets it, there are tens of thousands of those in the masses who don’t. And whether it’s more nature or more nurture, it doesn’t matter because the precise blend is impossible to know. What counts is that one in every ten thousand or hundred thousand will always rise above the rest.
The mid-wit is the modern memetic representation of this.
PS, If you’re feeling good reading this, you are probably on one of the tail ends. If you’re offended, you’re probably in the center.
The shitcoiner, the blockchainer, the venture capitalist trying to sell you their next pre-mined pump and dump, wants to create a “message for the masses.”
Diluted, ephemeral, miasmic, vague, vanilla and lost in the ether of platitudes heard daily from the politically-correct intelligentsia that the masses have been brainwashed by.
In the same way that Bitcoin does not just “change” under the pressure of a Roger Ver who wants bigger blocks for his vision of a base layer payments network (i.e., a slower, more broken variant of PayPal), a Bitcoiner does not look to skew his message for mass approval or to sound nice such that he can be more accepted by “the government” or the “academics” or “the masses.”
Yes, Bitcoin is for everyone, and Bitcoiners can come from any and all walks of life, but the purity of the message and the incorruptibility that is Bitcoin never wavers. It never dilutes.
This is why many have likened Bitcoin to an objective truth. You cannot dilute the truth because it becomes a lie, and when it becomes a lie, you can only fool the masses; not the Remnant.
The best you have, the best you are, and the best you can be. This is not only what the Remnant will produce, but what the Remnant will demand.
It’s similar to just focusing on accumulating bitcoin while you work on what you’re good at. The modern, fiat world we live in, where incentives are broken at every level, fools the masses into thinking they must “invest” to keep up with inflation, catch the next shitcoin pump before it dumps, watch the “news” to keep up with the mindless affairs of the world, get “likes” to feel validated, take photos and share your private life with the world so you can keep up with the Joneses and “follow” faux celebrities as if they matter.
It’s all noise, and it all comes from a place of internal lack. A feeling that you might miss out or that you’re not enough, so you try hard to be something you’re not.
Bitcoin is signal, and much like the truth, it is a source of deep fulfilment. The Bitcoiner goes about their business, secure in the knowledge that the product of their sacred labor is not dependent upon the flimsy promise of man, but rooted in the fundamental laws of the universe. They are the humans who don’t have to pretend.
This excerpt reminds me of the movie “Fight Club,” and once again reminds me of Bitcoiners as a group of people. We have infiltrated every layer of society. We signal this in subtle ways that only other Bitcoiners would appreciate.
So, if at times you feel alone, remember that there are others just like you out there. We are everywhere, all the time, and just like an idea, we cannot be stopped.
As I said earlier. For every one member of the Remnant, there are 100,000 of the masses. But, just as importantly, when you think you’re the only one, remember there are “7,000 back there” who you’ve not yet heard of. They exist, and they will find you so long as you remain true.
No group of people exist on earth that has more consistently and successfully called out frauds, scammers, LARPers and idiots from all walks of life. Some of my favorite Bitcoiners in this regard are DeaterBob, Pouliot, Saifedean Ammous, John Carvalho and Giacomo Zucco.
Contrast them to the many “influencers” out there spewing the same old artificial beyond-meat manure about “mass adoption” and “building followers” by “trying to make it accessible for everyone.”
Fuck that. It’s disgusting.
The former is organic. The latter is fiat.
A Bitcoiner is allergic to bullshit, in the same way the body is allergic to the fake foods designed for the masses.
As a Bitcoiner, diluting your message and your mission to “appeal to the masses” is the greatest fraud you can commit. It’s the pathway to emptiness, to regret and to deep meaninglessness… into the abyss of the masses.
Those who want the best for you are by definition those who demand the best from you.
These are your true friends. These are your community. These are the Remnant. In order to be among them, you must be the best and most honest version of yourself. There is no greater aspiration in life.
Ever wonder why we all seem to converge onto such profound truths separately, individually but collectively? It’s that synchronicity some have recently spoken of.
Bitcoiners plant seeds. We write code, we produce content, we discuss ideas and we remain committed to truth and first principles. As we do this, we not only plant seeds in other’s minds, but we create fertile ground for seeds of truth to grow in ours. This is part of the reward for the path we must walk.
Nock’s piece is truly one of the all-time greats, and you can see why it helped shape the thinking of the greats like Rothbard. I can only hope I’ve done it justice above.
I’d also like to add that while it is profound, it’s essence is not entirely unique. You’ve seen, heard or read the same kind of message in the great speeches, powerful music and texts that have shaped humanity throughout history.
The Remnant have always been present, in some capacity. All of the great stories were written about them.
The Great Stories
There is a reason why the greatest stories are those in which a hero or group of heroes prevail against insurmountable odds.
There is a reason why the Bible is full of stories in which God speaks with a member of the Remnant, e.g.,; Noah so he could build an Ark, Moses to Mt. Sinai, etc.
There is a reason why Homer wrote of Odysseus, and not one of the forgotten soldiers in the army.
There’s a reason why we have zombie movies, in which the protagonists fight for survival amongst the hordes of the mindless running rampant through the streets.
There’s a reason why apocalyptic movies show a world engulfed in chaos with millions slain, while the protagonists not only escape and survive, but often discover a way to thrive.
There is a reason why Morpheus was looking for Neo in “The Matrix,” and why “The Construct” was developed:
These people. These masses. They are everywhere. They make up the construct, but are not players in the game. They are like the background; always there in some shape or form.
At best they don’t really matter, and at worst they make up elements of miasmic, ephemeral “construct” which The remnant must rebel against. At least until they’ve transformed and are “unplugged.”
The masses resemble inertia. The dumb, deaf, blind default that will not change unless a new force is applied. They are the 80% of the Pareto distribution that make 20% of the difference.
The Remnant are the foreground.
The focal point. The tip of the spear.
The force that initiates and re-directs the inertia.
The 20% that makes 80% of the difference.
This may sound harsh to some, but it’s like gravity. Whether you like it or not doesn't matter; it’s reality. You can either use it, or lie to yourself and walk off the cliff.
Instead, one must make peace with the facts. To do so, realize that for there to be a 20%, there must be an 80%. There must be a contrast, or as Alan Watts would say, “The foreground exists because there is a background.”
Inertia exists in the background, but it is downstream of the initiating force.
The masses must exist for there to be a Remnant. They have their place, as much as the Remnant does. The only question is, who are you, and what role do you play in the grand game of life?
A minor detour, but very related is the idea of democracy. A form of rule supposedly “for” and “by” the masses.
The following image comes to mind immediately:
I find democracy to be abhorrent, and it’s frustrating that the source of human flourishing and progress, i.e., free exchange, property rights and individual ingenuity/productivity, has been conflated with dEmOcRaTiC rule.
The reality is far harsher. Democracy is more accurately the parasite which has benefited from the prosperity of free markets and continued to leech resources, capacity and energy alongside human flourishing.
We’re only now seeing the ramifications of it.
Democracy emerged in the West as a reaction by the masses, to the prosperity created by the free markets of the Remnant. The rising tide lifted all of the boats and with it came a wave of new capital that the parasitic masses could feed on. Hence, they created, rather mindlessly, a more sophisticated way of stealing from people. The idea:
Give the Remnant enough space to innovate and produce, and then just take all their shit after the fact.
The way of the masses is always a tragedy of the commons.
Democracies create legal, public monopolies, run by popularity contest winners with no skin in the game. They appeal to and always devolve into rule of the masses where morality and the consequences of stupidity are socialized, and often carried or paid for by the productive members of society.
The sales pitch sounds nicer on the surface, but in reality it’s a much greater burden on society because it, a) has the capacity to last, and b) empowers the masses to think they’re somehow in charge, while they proceed to blindly obey their parasitic overlords.
Monarchies are at least run by hereditary title holders with skin in the game. Hence why they can fail or correct much faster. I believe Bitcoin will usher in a new age of natural, competent elites, many of whom would be considered “royal” in the classical sense.
Anarchy is the realm of the Remnant. The idea that society is voluntary, fragmented and localized, where people make decisions for themselves or in groups built on common values.
Alas, Democracy is a topic for a future piece. For now, Osho’s short but brutally hilarious take on Democracy can have the final word:
Speaking To The Remnant
In the beginning of this piece, I mentioned that I was not aware of the “Remnant” terminology until I had met Pouliot, and did not appreciate its meaning until I’d read “Isaiah’s Job.”
In saying that, I seem to have understood its essence somewhere deep inside of me. Looking back on the following two pieces from 2020 and 2019, I can literally see myself grasping for this idea and searching for the words.
This is likely the same for you. Reading this now. Yes, you.
If you feel as I feel, and if you see the world as I see it, you too have felt this in your bones. You too are part of the Remnant. You may not have had words for it, but the feeling has been there all along.
It’s once again Morpheus reaching out to Neo:
The blue pill is for the masses. The red pill is exactly the one a member of the Remnant would seek out and take. In fact, they are the only ones who would actually hear the call, while the masses remain oblivious.
Bitcoiners are heeding that call today. Bitcoiners are the Remnant
Bitcoin is for the Remnant.
Crypto is for the masses.
The masses are generally on the wrong side of history because of the madness inherent in crowds. They only find themselves “right” when it’s the default position. After the truth, forged forth by the Remnant, finally prevails.
By the time they figure out what’s happened, the trend is over. The upside is gone. This is why the masses don’t, never have and never will make a difference, nor really matter.
By the time they’re all finally using Bitcoin in the same way they breathe oxygen, the Remnant will be building cities and citadels, terraforming new lands, unlocking intergalactic energy and inventing cosmic teleportation.
The Remnant are the 20% that make possible the 80% in the Pareto distribution.
And don’t fret. Despite my tone, this is a story of hope for all. The masses will always benefit in the end, and a select few will rise to the occasion and join the ranks of the Remnant. They shall be unplugged
Remember that Neo saved all of Zion, Tesla lit up the world and Satoshi has delivered energy money to us all.
Just because I don’t care for what the masses have to say, doesn’t mean I don’t care for making the world a better place.
In the end, they will get their piece of the pie, so long as we remain true and build Bitcoin for the Remnant.
But if we try to build it for them, if we dilute our message and our mission to make it palatable to the masses, we will miss our chance and send the world directly into hell.
So, stay true. Take on the often thankless job as a prophet of the Remnant, for the Remnant shall prevail so long as an existence exists. The dark mass of the masses cannot eliminate the light, no matter how vast, menacing and omnipresent it is.
This is a guest post by Aleks Svetski of www.amber.app. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.