Andrei: "Certainly. That's always been my only reason. I've never wanted things unless they could help my cause. For, you see, it is my cause."
"And your cause is to deny yourself for the sake of millions?"
"No. To bring the millions up to where I want them--for my sake."
"And when you think you're right, you do it at any price?"
"I know what you're going to say. You're going to say, as so many of our enemies do, that you admire our ideals, but loathe our methods."
"I loathe your ideals."
"For one reason, mainly, chiefly, and eternally, no matter how much your Party promises to accomplish, no matter what paradise it plans to bring mankind. Whatever your other claims may be, there's one you can't avoid, one that will turn your paradise into the most unspeakable hell: your claim that man must live for t he state."
"What better purpose can he live for?"
"Don't you know," her voice trembled suddenly in a passionate plea she could not hide," don't you know that there are things, in the best of us, which no outside hand should dare touch? Things sacred because, and only because, one can say: 'This is mine'? Don't you know that we live only for ourselves, the best of us do, those who are worthy of it? Don't you know that there is something in us which must not be touched by any state, by any collective, by any number of millions?"
He answered: "No."
"Comrade Taganov," she whispered, "how much you have to learn!"
He looked down at her with his quiet shadow of a smile and patted her hand like a child's. "Don't you know," he asked, "that we can't sacrifice millions for the sake of the few?"
"Can you sacrifice the few? When those few are the best? Deny the best its right to the top--and you have no best left. What are your masses but millions of dull, shrivelled, stagnant souls that have no thoughts of their own, no dreams of their own, no will of their own, who eat and sleep and chew helplessly the words others put into their brains? And for those you would sacrifice the few who know life, who are life? I loathe your ideals because I know no worse injustice than the giving of the undeserved. Because men are not equal in ability and one can't treat them as if they were. And because I loathe most of them."
"I'm glad. So do I."
"Only I don't enjoy the luxury of loathing. I'd rather try to make them worth looking at, to bring them up to my level. And you'd make a great little fighter--on our side."
"I think you know that I could never do that."
"I think I do. But why don't you fight against us, then?"
"Because I have less in common with you than the enemies who fight you, have. I don't want to fight for the people, I don't want to fight against the people, I don't want to hear of the people. I want to be left alone--to live."
-----------------------We The Living by Ayn Rand. Conversation between Kira Argounova and Andrei Taganov.