Rand and her followers were, in their own time, accused of being a cult, a charge that, of course, they denied. “My following is not a cult. I am not a cult figure,” Rand once told an interviewer. Barbara Branden, in her biography, The Passion of Ayn Rand, stated, “Although the Objectivist movement clearly had many of the trappings of a cult – the aggrandizement of the person of Ayn Rand, the too ready acceptance of her personal opinions on a host of subjects, the incessant moralizing – it is nevertheless significant that the fundamental attraction of Objectivism … was the precise opposite of religious worship” (1986, p. 371). And Nathaniel Branden addressed the issue this way: “We were not a cult in the literal, dictionary sense of the word, but certainly there was a cultish aspect to our world. We were a group organized around a powerful and charismatic leader, whose members judged one another’s character chiefly by loyalty to that leader and to her ideas” (1989, p. 256).
Michael Shermer, Why People Believe Weird Things (119)