How Free Markets Make Bad Behavior Costly
Although she [Ayn Rand] was normally generous in her responses to general audiences, NBI [Nathaniel Branden Institute] students were held to higher standards. Rand was likely to denounce anyone who asked inappropriate or challenging questions “as a person of low self-esteem” or to have them removed from the lecture hall. In front of journalists she called one questioner “a cheap fraud” and told another, “If you don’t know the difference between the United States and Russia, you deserve to find out!” These were moments of high drama, with Rand shouting her angry judgments to the widespread applause of the audience. But this antagonism toward his paying customers made Nathan extremely uncomfortable, and he began discouraging her from attending lectures. (italics added)
This is from Jennifer Burns, Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand the American Right. I’m enjoying it, but it’s not as good as Anne C. Heller’s book, Ayn Rand and the World She Made, that I briefly reviewed earlier (here and here). I think Heller tells more-complete stories in various places and I particularly liked her stories about Rand’s earlier life in the 1930s and 1940s when Rand was less isolated and more willing to work in coalitions.