This is Ayn Rand’s final public talk, given in November 1981 to an audience of businessmen at a conference in New Orleans sponsored by the National Committee for Monetary Reform.
In this lecture, Rand observes that profit-seeking businessmen, despite conferring huge benefits upon society in the form of higher standards of living, are the “most hated, blamed, denounced men” in the eyes of so-called social humanitarians. This injustice is further compounded when these same victimized businessmen accept their attackers’ moral standards and end up guiltily apologizing for their own productive virtues.
As an example of this phenomenon, which Rand calls the “sanction of the victims,” she points to the steadfast financial support that businesses give to higher education, without regard to the ideas that their dollars propagate. “[M]illions and millions and millions of dollars are being donated to universities by big business enterprises every year,” Rand says, “and 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. . . . It is a moral crime to give money to support your own destroyers. Yet that is what businessmen are doing with such reckless irresponsibility.” (Recorded November 21, 1981.)