tommyedison

Toohey's Speech to Keating

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From Part IV - Howard Roark, Chapter 14, Toohey's Speech to Keating (Pg 638 in 25th Anniversary Edition, '92)

...What of us, the rulers? What of me, Ellsworth Monkton Toohey? And I'd say, Yes, you're right. I'll achieve no more than you will. I'll have no purpose save to keep you contented. To lie, to flatter you, to praise you, to inflate your vanity. To make speeches about the people and the common good. Peter, my poor friend, I'm the most selfless man you've ever known. I have less independence than you, whom I just forced to sell your soul. You've atleast used people for the sake of what you could get from them for yourself. I want nothing for myself. I use people for the sake of what I can do to them. It's my only function and satisfaction. I have no private purpose. I want power. I want my world of the future...

[All bold mine]

I have several questions about this.

1) In the part which I have made in bold, Toohey first says that he wants nothing for himself. Then he proceeds to say that he wants power.

But isn't power for himself?

Or is the power for others? If so, then how?

2) How can Toohey have any power using the method he is using. He doesn't have the power to control the minds of people for e.g., if in the novel, he started preaching individualism, people wouldn't accept him, they would reject him.

How does he have power then? Is he talking about some different kind of power?

Beginning of the speech -

"What do you .... want .... Ellsworth?"

"Power, Petey."

[snip]

...Like all my spiritual predecessors. But I'm luckier than they were. I inherited the fruit of their efforts and I shall be the one who'll see the great dream made real. I see it all around me. I recognize it. I don't like it. I didn't expect to like it. Enjoyment is not my destiny. I shall find such satisfaction as my capacity permits. I shall rule...

3) If happiness is not the purpose of Toohey, then what is? Why does Toohey want power?

Can anyone explain this to me?

Thank you

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[All bold mine]

I have several questions about this.

1) In the part which I have made in bold, Toohey first says that he wants nothing for himself. Then he proceeds to say that he wants power.

But isn't power for himself?

Or is the power for others? If so, then how?

2) How can Toohey have any power using the method he is using. He doesn't have the power to control the minds of people for e.g., if in the novel, he started preaching individualism, people wouldn't accept him, they would reject him.

How does he have power then? Is he talking about some different kind of power?

3) If happiness is not the purpose of Toohey, then what is? Why does Toohey want power?

Can anyone explain this to me?

Thank you

1) Toohey is using the term "wanting power" in a different sense than most people use it. Politicians want political power because they acquire the ability to control the material things that people need for their lives. Keating wanted a reputation and unearned love because these were values held by other people. Toohey wants power for no reason other than as an end in itself. He doesn't want power for what he can do for others, he wants others to accede the power to him, of their own volition. Thus, he is truly selfless. He creates situations in which people readily give up their independent judgment to him.

2) Toohey's power comes from the default of others who do not use their independent minds to judge the world and the ideas in society. Everyone needs moral guidance. Toohey uses other people's altruist values to acquire power. In any sacrifice, there are those who lose and those who win. Toohey maneuvers himself to be on the winning side. He slips in his irrational ideas and when people agree with him, he's gotten control of them.

3) Why does any criminal steal money rather than work honestly for the money? Clearly, his mind is not focused on the external factors required to live a productive life. He's focused on what others value and seeks to acquire those values without exerting the effort to create the values on his own. Toohey wants power because he believes that he is inadequate to achieve life's values on his own. He wants others to give him value, to give his soul value, by having others yield to his pronouncement. One might say that power is Toohey's form for pseudo-self esteem.

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Clearly, his mind is not focused on the external factors required to live a productive life. He's focused on what others value and seeks to acquire those values without exerting the effort to create the values on his own. Toohey wants power because he believes that he is inadequate to achieve life's values on his own. He wants others to give him value, to give his soul value, by having others yield to his pronouncement. One might say that power is Toohey's form for pseudo-self esteem.

I think it is even more evil than that. He knows that he is inadequate, and because of this he wants to destroy all that is able.

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Clearly, his mind is not focused on the external factors required to live a productive life. He's focused on what others value and seeks to acquire those values without exerting the effort to create the values on his own. Toohey wants power because he believes that he is inadequate to achieve life's values on his own. He wants others to give him value, to give his soul value, by having others yield to his pronouncement. One might say that power is Toohey's form for pseudo-self esteem.

I think it is even more evil than that. He knows that he is inadequate, and because of this he wants to destroy all that is able.

True, within a certain context. As an adult, after years of pursuing a policy of power for it's own sake, I'd agree with you that, in fact, he is inadequate. However, even he has volition and could potentially change his course. But that would be pushing the bounds of reasonable expectation. Potentially, he could change if he chose too. After all, he was a writer for a newspaper and could be productive in that capacity. He'd have to change his ideas, which would be unlikely.

I believe that his hatred of the able results from his power lust, not from his inadequacy. He knows that he cannot enter the mind of independent thinkers, who, if allowed to exist, would serve as examples to others that a shepherd is not needed. Inadequacy does not necessarily breed contempt and hatred. I'm a very poor carpenter, but I deeply admire those who are capable. Toohey's inadequacy goes to his core: his lack of self-esteem. And this lack of real self-esteem is a direct result of power lust being at the forefront of his consciousness.

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In the part which I have made in bold, Toohey first says that he wants nothing for himself. Then he proceeds to say that he wants power.  But isn't power for himself?

[...]

If happiness is not the purpose of Toohey, then what is? Why does Toohey want power?

Toohey wants political power. He wants to use force.

What for? It's not a selfish reason. He hates the good for being the good and he wants to use force to destroy -- especially the able and virtuous men he fears, envies, resents, and hates. He says "Let all sacrifice and none profit. Let all suffer and none enjoy. Let progress stop. Let all stagnate."

As Galt says of such people, "They do not want to own your fortune, they want you to lose it; they do not want to succeed, they want you to fail; they do not want to live, they want you to die."

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Toohey wants political power.  He wants to use force.

What for?  It's not a selfish reason.  He hates the good for being the good and he wants to use force to destroy -- especially the able and virtuous men he fears, envies, resents, and hates.  He says "Let all sacrifice and none profit. Let all suffer and none enjoy. Let progress stop. Let all stagnate." 

As Galt says of such people, "They do not want to own your fortune, they want you to lose it; they do not want to succeed, they want you to fail; they do not want to live, they want you to die."

I would add that it is important to understand that one may seek power over one's environment, a la Roark, or power over people, a la Toohey. The first is the power to live, the second is the power to live off of. The whole point of The Fountainhead is that power over people is no power at all. It is the parasitic collectivist and the second-hander who seeks power over others. Without the "other", such a person has no power at all. It is this that causes the resentment towards and contempt for the hosts.

The parasite, by its very nature is destructive. Toohey sucks Peter dry, obtaining his sustenance by destroying Peter's soul. Note, however, that he does not thereby obtain a soul himself. This is what he means when he says that he is selfless. Since he is defined only by his power over others, he seeks to destroy the only thing that defines him. As Dagny asks of such parasites in Atlas, do such people really want to live?

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I have several questions about this.

1) In the part which I have made in bold, Toohey first says that he wants nothing for himself. Then he proceeds to say that he wants power.

2) How can Toohey have any power using the method he is using.

3) If happiness is not the purpose of Toohey, then what is? Why does Toohey want power?

The answer to question #3 explains questions #1 and #2. Toohey wants power "to destroy."

Notice the second sentence in bold is NOT "I use people for the sake of what THEY CAN DO FOR ME," but for "WHAT I CAN DO TO THEM."

And what he wants to do TO THEM is crush their self-esteem, break their spirit, trample on their joy, deny them of happiness, annihilate their values.

To want is to value. Toohey seeks to destroy all values - he is an "anti-valuer." Thus, he literally wants nothing for himself. It is in this sense that "selflessness" can be reconciled with "powerlust."

The most eloquent answer to #2 is the scene when after Toohey's presumed exercise of such power over Roark, Toohey approaches Roark and asks Roark what he thinks of him. Of course, you know Roark's reply.

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Thank you for the replies. I have always wondered how seeking power was not selfish. Thanks for clearing that up for me.

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The answer to question #3 explains questions #1 and #2.  Toohey wants power "to destroy."

Notice the second sentence in bold is NOT "I use people for the sake of what THEY CAN DO FOR ME," but for "WHAT I CAN DO TO THEM."

And what he wants to do TO THEM is crush their self-esteem, break their spirit, trample on their joy, deny them of happiness, annihilate their values. 

To want is to value.  Toohey seeks to destroy all values - he is an "anti-valuer."  Thus, he literally wants nothing for himself.  It is in this sense that "selflessness" can be reconciled with "powerlust."

The most eloquent answer to #2 is the scene when after Toohey's presumed exercise of such power over Roark, Toohey approaches Roark and asks Roark what he thinks of him.  Of course, you know Roark's reply.

Nice point. Neatly done.

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Toohey wants political power.  He wants to use force.

What for?  It's not a selfish reason.  He hates the good for being the good and he wants to use force to destroy -- especially the able and virtuous men he fears, envies, resents, and hates.  He says "Let all sacrifice and none profit. Let all suffer and none enjoy. Let progress stop. Let all stagnate." 

As Galt says of such people, "They do not want to own your fortune, they want you to lose it; they do not want to succeed, they want you to fail; they do not want to live, they want you to die."

I disagree with you on one point. If Toohey had wanted political power, he'd have gone into the political arena instead of a newspaper column in which he could spread his ideas. Toohey was what Ayn Rand termed a "Witch Doctor, the man who dreads physical reality, dreads the necessity of practical action, and escapes into his emotions, into visions of some mystic realm where his wishes enjoy a supernatural power unlimited by the absolute of nature." (TNI) I don't recall Toohey ever using physical force in The Fountainhead.

As described in The Fountainhead, "Ellsworth was fifteen, when he astonished the Bible-class teacher by an odd question. The teacher had been elaborating upon the text: "What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" Ellsworth asked: "Then in order to be truly wealthy, a man should collect souls?" "

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I think the term “selfish” should only be applied when what’s desired/pursued/achieved is pro-life.

Toohey seeks to stall the motor of the world. This isn’t selfish – it’s suicide, no matter how gratified Toohey feels when he stalls Roark’s career by manipulating the ignorant and the cowardly.

BTW, I’m not sure Toohey could turn things around: there must be a limit to how far a mind can go down a destructive path and still have the option of “coming back.” (Keating can't become an artist -- "it's too late." Wynand shuts down.)

JohnRgt

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When asking questions of this nature, it is important to see the character from the Author's point of view. I think that Ayn Rand summed up Toohey's character and his motivations in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal in the article What is Capitalism?:

The intrinsic theory and the subjectivist theory... are the necessary base of every dictatorship, tyranny, or variant of the absolute state... If a man believes that the good is intrinsic in certain actions, he will not hesitate to force others to perform them. If he believes that the human benefit or injury caused by such actions is of no significance, he will regard a sea of blood as of no significance. If he believes that the beneficiaries of such actions are irrelevant (or interchangeable), he will regard wholesale slaughter as his moral duty in the service of "higher" good. It is the intrinsic theory of values that produces a Robespierre, a Lenin, a Stalin, or a Hitler... If the subjectivist wants to pursue some social ideal of his own, he feels morally entitled to force men "for their own good," since he feels that he is right and that there is nothing to oppose him but their misguided feelings.

Toohey serves as a representation of the logical conclusion of the intrinsic theory and subjectivist theory, and the above quote explains the motivations behind his actions.

-Daniel Woelfel

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I disagree with you on one point.  If Toohey had wanted political power, he'd have gone into the political arena instead of a newspaper column in which he could spread his ideas.  Toohey was what Ayn Rand termed a "Witch Doctor, the man who dreads physical reality, dreads the necessity of practical action, and escapes into his emotions, into visions of some mystic realm where his wishes enjoy a supernatural power unlimited by the absolute of nature." (TNI)  I don't recall Toohey ever using physical force in The Fountainhead. 

I always thought Witch Doctors were mystics.

I don't see Toohey as a mystic; he just sort of plays one on The Banner so he can tap into the collectivism that typifies the masses.

Toohey is extremely practical. He knows exactly what's going on in the world and has an excellent feel for what it will take to bring about a world where he rules, a political objective.

He knows Roark is on of the greatest architects of all time.

He knows what everyone around him is thinking and what they're likely to do.

He knows what the clubs he sets up will "achieve".

He works towards controlling unions and staffs in key positions.

He knows that what he praises in his column, and how he justifies this praise, will make value judgments by those who fall for his manipulation impossible.

He knows he needs the populous incapable of seeing right from wrong in order to rule.

I don't see how any of this can be attributed to mysticism -- not primarily.

Satirist Mort Saul appeared on the Leonard Peikoff Show once. Here’s a relevant exchange (from memory):

MS: I never understood how an architecture critic amassed so much power.

LP: Well, he worked and wheeled power behind the scenes – like Hillary Clinton.

(I'm almost certain this show aired during Bill Clinton's first term.)

Toohey, being a Rand villain, is a hundred times smarter, a thousand times more conniving, a millon times stealthier, and a billion times more effective/dangerous.

He still failed. :angry:

All the best.

JohnRgt

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I always thought Witch Doctors were mystics.

I don't see Toohey as a mystic; he just sort of plays one on The Banner so he can tap into the collectivism that typifies the masses.

Toohey is extremely practical.  He knows exactly what's going on in the world and has an excellent feel for what it will take to bring about a world where he rules, a political objective. 

He knows Roark is on of the greatest architects of all time.

He knows what everyone around him is thinking and what they're likely to do.

He knows what the clubs he sets up will "achieve".

He works towards controlling unions and staffs in key positions.

He knows that what he praises in his column, and how he justifies this praise, will make value judgments by those who fall for his manipulation impossible.

He knows he needs the populous incapable of seeing right from wrong in order to rule.

I don't see how any of this can be attributed to mysticism -- not primarily.

Satirist Mort Saul appeared on the Leonard Peikoff Show once.  Here’s a relevant exchange (from memory):

MS: I never understood how an architecture critic amassed so much power.

LP: Well, he worked and wheeled power behind the scenes – like Hillary Clinton.

(I'm almost certain this show aired during Bill Clinton's first term.)

Toohey, being a Rand villain, is a hundred times smarter, a thousand times more conniving, a millon times stealthier, and a billion times more effective/dangerous. 

He still failed. :angry:

All the best.

JohnRgt

If LP's quote was during the Clinton administration, then today it has become obvious that she is no longer working behind the scenes. Besides, I take the term "political power" to mean working in he political arena such as in government service. There is always office politics within private organizations (such as the Banner), but that is a looser use of the term.

I wouldn't describe Toohey as practical: it depends upon what you want to practice. Toohey knows what to do to control people's lives, but only those people who are willing to accept and submit to his altruism. Toohey's practice does not conquer Roark, Dominique or Wynand. In that sense, he is a complete failure.

There are two types of mystics. Toohey is a "mystic of muscle" as described in Galt's speech. He believes that man's judgment must be subordinated to Society, and that Society is man's standard of value. (See Galt's speech for more details.) Consider Toohey's own words: "It's only a matter of discovering the lever. If you learn how to rule one single man's soul, you can get the rest of mankind. It's the soul, Peter, the soul. Not whips or swords or fire or guns." The Witch Doctor's method of survival "is the conquest of those who conquer those who conquer nature. It is not men's bodies that he seeks to rule, but men's souls." (FNI) Toohey is a Witch Doctor, through and through.

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