Because John Galt Is Really Ayn Rand, Not Jesus Christ (Nice Try Though)

What does it take to snap Joe-Sixpack, USMC out of his reverie? That’s easy. Keep attempting to redeem the ideas of Ayn Rand and Christianize them. I’ll fix bayonets and come running like a teufel-hunden responding to one of those silent dog whistles.

Reverend Robert A. Sirico of the Acton Institute (which I generally admire) recently wrote an article entitled Who Really Was John Galt Anyway? Therein, Rev. Sirico tries to tease out Jesus Christ from the persona of Ms. Rand’s fictional character John Galt. Or perhaps he tries to tease out Ms. Rand’s longing for the Lord.

The essay is, in my mind, a failed attempt either way because if John Galt = Jesus Christ, then I will have to pull a quote from Flannery O’Connor and say “to hell with it.” Christianity, that is. If Ms. Rand actually longed for Christ, as Rev. Sirico implies in his essay, then she had an odd way of showing it.

No. I don’t have to say to hell with Jesus Christ (FYI…He’s been there and back!), but I can say to hell with the Anti-Christ, though in this case he’s a fictional straw man argument in Ms. Rand’s novel. That is who John Galt really is. One doesn’t have to be from the left or the right on the political spectrum to know that this is the case. To apologize for, and then try to paint a starkly different portrait from the one already committed to canvas (by the author herself), is a glaring example of cultural relativism at work.

You cannot pound the square peg of Ayn Rand/ John Galt into the round hole of the Incarnate Word. I don’t care how big a hammer you throw on it. But you might sound smart trying to. It is one thing, for example, to pray for the soul of Vlad the Impaler, who was an actual believer in God and a Christian, regardless of his failures along the way, and a whole ‘nother thang to hope that Ayn realized that the hero of her Magnum Opus really turned out to be Christ. Good luck with that. Ayn Rand was lost when it comes to the basic tenets of the faith, which is why her hero is a straw man argument, committed to paper.

Joe Six-Pack will keep this simple for you. X ≠ Y. The three hour long diatribe that is John Galt /Ayn Rand’s speech to the world is not, nor shall it ever be, the Sermon on the Mount. Mercy is greater than justice and yet, justice prevails in the end. But Joe, you say as you tsk, tsk, my bumpkin-ness, “judge not,” and “as you measure, so you shall be measured.”

To that I will say I am a worm, an inch-worm perhaps. No, even better than that, I am what my pal Blaise Pascal said he was, “a reed, but a thinking reed.” My other pal Qoheleth, the inspired writer of my favorite Old Testament book, didn’t need three hours to monologue us to death on an ersatz philosophy built around selfishness either. Actually, his advice regarding following the ideas of any magisterium-of-one is,

He has made everything appropriate to its time, and has put the timeless into their hearts, without men’s ever discovering, from beginning to end, the work which God has done. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

and

Be not just to excess, and be not overwise, lest you be ruined. Be not wicked to excess, and be not foolish. Why should you die before your time? It is good to hold to this rule, and not to let that one go; but he who fears God will win through at all events. Wisdom is a better defense for the wise man than would be ten princes in the city, yet there is no man on earth so just as to do good and never sin. (Ecclesiastes 7:16-19)

So really, it is a fool’s errand to waste your time trying to Christianize “Objectivism.” You’d be better off reading Qoheleth’s whole book rather than trying to find Christ in John Galt. But that is just one man’s opinion.

Update: Who’s with me? And another Marine I know is too.

  • Sandy

    Singing to the choir here. One of the more ugly movements in Christianity today and one I find deeply disturbing. Keep fighting the good fight, sir. Semper Fi.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02647220453777040327 Paula

    I'm with you – Ayn Rand was the apostle of selfishness.

  • Anonymous

    I am not with you ! As my mother is fond of saying …"no educated person still believes in one religion". Beliefs are learned. You, like me, were born in the United States so our belief system is based upon Christianity. If we were born in India we would believe in Hinduism. Whichever God put us on this earth wanted us to think and not assume that what we were taught is true. If not we might still be worshiping the God of Corn.Jim

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01819831282677092730 Frank

    Sorry Jim, but there are enough posts on this blog about Catholic Christians of many different races, from every corner of the globe, that prove your assertion false. I'm not a Catholic because of where I live. I'm a Catholic because God sent His son to save us all and because the Church was "catholic" at Pentecost.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11961792423937962991 stpetric

    Did we read the same essay? "Rev" Sirico (is there some reason you're denying him the title "Father"?) says:"I disagree profoundly with Rand; her attenuated definition of faith as unreason and her notion of sacrifice as wholly lacking dignity are unrecognizable to a Christian. … Her esthetic philosophy is paper thin and idiosyncratic; her malevolence toward children and the vulnerable is exceedingly distasteful. For these and many more reasons, people who reverence Western Civilization must reject Rand."Nor does Fr Sirica identify John Galt with Jesus Christ: He says *for RAND*, Galt is the God-Man; and he concludes with the hope "that Rand in the end may actually have found out who John Galt really is."Sirica is far from adulatory of Rand (whom he calls a "flawed and mean woman"), Objectivism, or "Atlas Shrugged." What he does say (and this isn't all that subtle and hard to grasp) is that "there is something in Rand that remains intriguing… It is unwise and unnecessary to merely dismiss out of hand Rand's ideas or the impact of her writings." And he goes on to decry "the left [employing] images of her to tar and feather political opponents in a dishonest way…"I hope you're not tarring and feathering Fr Sirica in a similar way.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01819831282677092730 Frank

    Must have been the weak ending, which is why I answered the question. Note: The Acton Institute itself addresses Fr. Sirico as "Rev."

  • Sean O

    There is nothing to be gleaned from Ayn Rand or her writings for people who are decent or who aspire to be so. I find it odd and disturbing that Fr. Sirico won’t slam the door on her. She can only teach us how NOT to be.

    Ayn Rand is an historial figure who made and continues to make her mark on the world. But it is an evil and pernicious one, cold and deadly in spirit like Hitler or Stalin. We may study hitler or Stalin for their impact on the world but we don’t look for redeeming bits of wisdom from them. And neither should Fr Sirico look to find bits worth keeping from Rand. She is anti-Christ all the way down.

    Hitler was a very bad guy, BUT he put Germany back to work and he was anti-communist. There is no BUT. This is the odd game Fr Sirico is playing with Rand.


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