In the lecture, Rand admonishes American businessmen for apologizing for capitalism and for, in some cases, directly funding detractors of the free market. Notably, she says that “It is a moral crime to give money to support your own destroyers.” She also answers audience questions after the lecture.

“….But no one speaks out for businessmen, when they are attacked and insulted by everyone as a matter of routine. What causes this overwhelming injustice? The businessmen’s own policies: their betrayal of their own values, their appeasement of enemies, their compromises—all of which add up to an air of moral cowardice. Add to it the fact that businessmen are creating and supporting their own destroyers.

“The sources and centers of today’s philosophical corruption are the universities . . . It is the businessmen’s money that supports American universities—not merely in the form of taxes and government handouts, but much worse: in the form of voluntary, private contributions, donations, endowments, etc. In preparation for this lecture, I tried to do some research on the nature and amounts of such contributions. I had to give it up: it is too complex and too vast a field for the efforts of one person. To untangle it now would require a major research project and, probably, years of work. All I can say is only that millions and millions and millions of dollars are being donated to universities by big business enterprises every year, and that the donors have no idea of what their money is being spent on or whom it is supporting. What is certain is only the fact that some of the worst anti-business, anti-capitalism propaganda has been financed by businessmen in such projects.

“Money is a great power—because, in a free or even a semi-free society, it is a frozen form of productive energy. And, therefore, the spending of money is a grave responsibility. Contrary to the altruists and the advocates of the so-called “academic freedom,” it is a moral crime to give money to support ideas with which you disagree; it means: ideas which you consider wrong, false, evil. It is a moral crime to give money to support your own destroyers. Yet that is what businessmen are doing with such reckless irresponsibility.” — Ayn Rand

Recorded November 21, 1981.

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Ayn Rand

Russian born American novelist Ayn Rand is author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead and is originator of the philosophy of Objectivism. You can learn more about her life and philosophy at the website of the Ayn Rand Institute.