Egoists and Anti-egoists

Here is a recent quote I found on a site promoting liberty:

"Definition: the State is government that has been corrupted and taken over by the ego-driven."

NO. The state is government and all governments consist of ego-haters, and all ego-haters are corrupt.

The, "ego-driven," have no interest in government. Their first purpose is the achievement of their own goals and ends and being the best human beings they can possibly be.

What Is An Egoist?

I quote:

"[The creator's] vision, his strength, his courage came from his own spirit. A man's spirit, however, is his self. That entity which is his consciousness. To think, to feel, to judge, to act are functions of the ego.

"The creators were not selfless. It is the whole secret of their power—that it was self-sufficient, self-motivated, self-generated. A first cause, a fount of energy, a life force, a Prime Mover. The creator served nothing and no one. He lived for himself.

"And only by living for himself was he able to achieve the things which are the glory of mankind. Such is the nature of achievement.

"Man cannot survive except through his mind. He comes on earth unarmed. His brain is his only weapon. Animals obtain food by force. Man has no claws, no fangs, no horns, no great strength of muscle, He must plant his food or hunt it. To plant, he needs a process of thought. To hunt, he needs weapons, and to make weapons—a process of thought. From this simplest necessity to the highest religious abstraction, from the wheel to the skyscraper, everything we are and everything we have comes from a single attribute of man—the function of his reasoning mind.

"But the mind is an attribute of the individual. There is no such thing as a collective brain. There is no such thing as a collective thought. An agreement reached by a group of men is only a compromise or an average drawn upon many individual thoughts. It is a secondary consequence. The primary act—the process of reason—must be performed by each man alone. We can divide a meal among many men. We cannot digest it in a collective stomach. No man can use his lungs to breathe for another man. No man can use his brain to think for another. All the functions of body and spirit are private. They cannot be shared or transferred.


"Nothing is given to man on earth. Everything he needs has to be produced. And here man faces his basic alternative: he can survive in only one of two ways—by the independent work of his own mind or as a parasite fed by the minds of others. The creator originates. The parasite borrows. The creator faces nature alone. The parasite faces nature through an intermediary.

"The creator's concern is the conquest of nature. The parasite's concern is the conquest of men.

"The creator lives for his work. He needs no other men. His primary goal is within himself. The parasite lives secondhand. He needs others. Others become his prime motive.

"The basic need of the creator is independence. The reasoning mind cannot work under any form of compulsion. It cannot be curbed, sacrificed or subordinated to any consideration whatsoever. It demands total independence in function and in motive. To a creator, all relations with men are secondary." [Excerpted by Ayn Rand from, The Fountainhead and published separately as, "The Soul Of An Individualist," in her non-fiction work, For The New Intellectual.] [All emphasis mine.]

What Is a Non-egoist?

Now compare the non-egoist (second-hander). Again I quote:

"Isn't that the root of every despicable action? Not selfishness, but precisely the absence of a self. Look at them. The man who cheats and lies, but preserves a respectable front. He knows himself to be dishonest, but others think he's honest and he derives his self-respect from that, second-hand. The man who takes credit for an achievement which is not his own. He knows himself to be mediocre, but he's great in the eyes of others. The frustrated wretch who professes love for the inferior and clings to those less endowed, in order to establish his own superiority by comparison .... they're second-handers ....

"They have no concern for facts, ideas, work. They're concerned only with people. They don't ask: 'Is this true? They ask: 'Is this what others think is true?' Not to judge, but to repeat. Not to do, but to give the impression of doing. Not creation, but show. Not ability, but friendship. Not merit, but pull. What would happen to the world without those who do, think, work, produce? Those are the egoists. You don't think through another's brain and you don't work through another's hands. When you suspend your faculty of independent judgment, you suspend consciousness. To stop consciousness is to stop life. Second-handers have no sense of reality. Their reality is not within them, but somewhere in that space which divides one human body from another. ...."

"Notice how they'll accept anything except a man who stands alone. They recognize him at once .... There's a special, insidious kind of hatred for him. ... They need ties. They've got to force their miserable little personalities on every single person they meet. The independent man kills them—because they don't exist within him and that's the only form of existence they know. Notice the malignant kind of resentment against any idea that propounds independence. Notice the malice toward an independent man...." [Excerpted by Ayn Rand from, The Fountainhead and published separately as, "The Nature Of The Second-Hander," in her non-fiction work, For The New Intellectual.]

It is the second-handers who have no ego of their own, no real "self" that become politicians, government agents, and members of that class in general always interested in imposing their will and ideas on others.

I know that some have a kind of pathological hate of the ego and attempt to blame everything on it. Partly it is because they have accepted the perverted views of the "ego" propagated by psychologists. That is their problem.

But others need to understand their own mind and consciousness, their ego, their very being and self, is what they must live for and what they must live by, and that there is no higher purpose possible than to live for and by oneself. All other purposes and goals are derived from that and are secondary to it.

Please see "What Is an Individualist," and, "Only Individuals."