The Confessions of Ayn Rand
The Confessions of Ayn Rand, John Galt, Varinoma Press, San Luis Obispo, 1999, Hardcover.
The Confessions of Ayn Rand is a selection of her writings combined with fragments of biographical material. It is quite timely in view of her recent Beatification and of the consequent revival of the Rand cult. Ayn Rand never quite had the popular attention accorded to Mother Theresa; she lived in an earlier time when the media cult of the personality was not quite so frenzied.
Like Mother Theresa, Ayn Rand was famed for her work among the poor. Her charities, however, were not the only source for her reputation. She had a keen intellect and was equally famed for her devotional writing. Confessions contains two of her most famous works, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. The former is a delineation of her thoughts on God as the fountainhead of all true spirituality; the latter contains her system of thought on Capitalism. She uses the metaphor of the mythical Atlas to argue that it is the role of worldly endeavours to support the Church just as Atlas supported the heavens on his shoulders. In Atlas Shrugged she argues that Capitalism, a veritable giant reaching the heavens - literally these days - has shrugged off its duty of supporting the Church and, in consequence, the heavens are crashing down, which is to say that public morality is decaying for lack of support.
The definitive biography of Ayn Rand is Nathan Childers's The Saint of the Bowery. It must be said that Childers is by far the better writer both as to style and as to insight to his subject. However The Confessions of Ayn Rand does contain biographical details that were not available to Childers.
These details may be the most interesting element in Confession. They include both excerpted devotional confessions of Ayn Rand and a number of quite personal biographical details. The devotional confessions are a surprise; supposedly Rand's devotional confessions were placed under seal by the Vatican. Evidently the author is a person who has some influence with the ecclesiastical authorities. Even more tantalizing are the biographical details which reflect an intimate personal knowledge of Ms. Rand. Evidently the author was both a friend of the Church and a close personal friend of Ayn Rand.
The identity of the author is somewhat of a mystery. The dust jacket gives no details about him; what is more I am informed by people who would know that there was no such person by that name amidst her circle. Apparently the author is an intimate writing under a pseudonym. One is inevitably led to ask:
Who is John Galt?
This page was last updated November 16, 1999.