If only one could get that wonderful feeling of accomplishment without having to accomplish anything.
Rand’s particular intellectual contribution, the thing that makes her so popular and so American, is the way she managed to mass market elitism — to convince so many people, especially young people, that they could be geniuses without being in any concrete way distinguished. Or, rather, that they could distinguish themselves by the ardor of their commitment to Rand’s teaching. The very form of her novels makes the same point: they are as cartoonish and sexed-up as any best seller, yet they are constantly suggesting that the reader who appreciates them is one of the elect.
Source: “Ayn Rand’s Revenge”, New York Times, November 1, 2009, p. BR1 of the New York edition.
A good summary of Ayn Rand is here.