Ayn Rand's 17-year-old niece once asked her if she could borrow $25. This is the letter that Rand sent to her niece in response:
After proposing a repayment scheme, she proceeds to punctuate what a lovely human being she is:Dear Connie:
You are very young, so I don't know whether you realize the seriousness of your action in writing to me for money. Since I don't know you at all, I am going to put you to a test.
If you really want to borrow $25 from me, I will take a chance on finding out what kind of person you are. You want to borrow the money until your graduation. I will do better than that. I will make it easier for you to repay the debt, but on condition that you understand and accept it as a strict and serious business deal. Before you borrow it, I want you to think it over very carefully.
I want you to understand right now that I will not accept any excuse-except a serious illness. If you become ill, then I will give you an extension of time-but for no other reason. If, when the debt becomes due, you tell me that you can't pay me because you needed a new pair of shoes or a new coat or you gave the money to somebody in the family who needed it more than I do-then I will consider you as an embezzler. No, I won't send a policeman after you, but I will write you off as a rotten person and I will never speak or write to you again.
Now I will tell you why I am so serious and severe about this. I despise irresponsible people. I don't want to deal with them or help them in any way. An irresponsible person is a person who makes vague promises, then breaks his word, blames it on circumstances and expects other people to forgive it. A responsible person does not make a promise without thinking of all the consequences and being prepared to meet them.
Not only was Ayn Rand already absurdly rich at this point in her life, she also withdrew far more from Medicare than she paid into it (and Medicare, remember, is socialized medicine) - for the treatment of her lung cancer, which was caused by her chain smoking, even though she constantly scoffed at reports that it causes lung cancer (as one of Andrew Sullivan's readers points out).
And yet when her niece asks her for $25, Rand acts like she wants help with covering up a murder. Horrible person! Embezzler! We all know the importance of personal responsibility (especially those of us who don't smoke?), but this is an absurd and inappropriately vicious rant by a sociopath who cared far more about money than about the well-being of others. No wonder the massive, steaming piles of bullshit she left in her wake became the basis for modern conservative thought.
You know who I despise? Rich, delusional, self-righteous assholes who think their money automatically makes them a better person than everyone else.