man that he must live for others. . . . Not a single one of them
has ever achieved it and not a single one ever will. His every living
impulse screams against it. But don’t you see what you accomplish?
. . . He’ll obey. . . . Use big vague words. ‘Universal Harmony’—‘Eternal
Spirit’— ‘Divine Purpose’—‘Nirvana’—‘Paradise’—‘Racial Supremacy’—‘The
Dictatorship of the Proletariat.’
Toohey makes this speech to a terrified
Keating in the fourteenth chapter of the last book of The
Fountainhead. Here Toohey reveals his true nature for the
first and only time. Everything else he says is purposefully empty
of real meaning, so only here do we see the sinister inner workings
of Toohey’s mind. When Toohey defines “big vague words,” he uses
concepts from real-world ideologies and religions. The moment is
an unusual one in the novel, for usually Rand writes about a hypothetical,
imagined New York, using allegory to reveal the flaws she sees in
society. In this passage, however, she steps from the allegorical
world into the real world, telling us exactly which groups she abhors,
and exactly which groups she means to pillory with her allegory.
Rand wants us to condemn every concept the arch-villain Toohey support.
He uses the religious phrases “Eternal Spirit,” “Divine Purpose,”
“Paradise,” “Nirvana,” and “Universal Harmony,” suggesting Rand’s
low opinion of organized religion like Christianity and Buddhism.
“Racial Supremacy” and “The Dictatorship of the Proletariat” refer
to and condemn, respectively, Nazism and Communism. Rand thought almost
all kinds of social engineering restricted individual liberty, and
makes this point in the novel by having her arch-villain refer to these
catchphrases as his tools.