Second-Handers - Ayn Rand

People have been taught that the ego is the synonym of evil, and selflessness the ideal of virtue.
But the creator is the egoist in the absolute sense, and the SELFLESS individual is the one who does NOT think, feel, judge or act.These are functions of the self
of the ego.

The 'selfless' person is a 'second-hander'.  
Isn’t that the root of every despicable action? 
Not selfishness, but precisely the absence of a self. 
Look at them. 
The one who cheats and lies, 
but preserves a respectable front
They know themselves to be dishonest,  
but others think them honest 
and they derive their self-respect from that, 
The person who takes credit for an achievement which is not their own. They know themself to be mediocre, but they're 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 their 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 - the creators. 
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. Not an entity, but a relation—anchored to nothing. That’s the emptiness I couldn’t understand in people. That’s what stopped me whenever I faced a committee. People without an ego. Opinion without a rational process. Motion without brakes or motor. Power without responsibility. The second-hander acts, but the source of their actions is scattered in every other living person.
It’s everywhere and nowhere and you can’t reason with them. They are not open to reason. After centuries of being pounded with the doctrine that altruism is the ultimate ideal, people have accepted it in the only way it could be accepted. By seeking self-esteem through others. By living second-hand. And it has opened the way for every kind of horror. It has become the dreadful form of selfishness which a truly selfish person - a creator - couldn’t have conceived. And now, to cure a world perishing from selflessness, we’re asked to destroy the self. Listen to what is being preached today. Look at everyone around us. You’ve wondered why they suffer, why they seek happiness and never find it. 
If any one stopped and asked them whether they ever held a truly personal desire, 
they’d find the answer. They’d see that all their wishes, their efforts, their dreams, their ambitions are motivated by others. They're not really struggling even for material wealth, 
but for the second-hander’s delusion prestige. A stamp of approval, not their own. They can find no joy in the struggle and no joy when they have succeeded. They can’t say about a single thing: “This is what I wanted because I wanted it, not because it made my neighbors gape at me.” A second-hand life