Ambition - Ayn Rand

Politically, the goal of today’s dominant trend is statism
Philosophically, the goal is the obliteration of reason
psychologically, it is the erosion of ambition.
The political goal presupposes the two others :
the obliteration of reason and the erosion of ambition
The human characteristic  
required by statism 
is docility, which is 

the product of hopelessness and intellectual stagnation. 
Thinking men cannot be ruled; 
ambitious men do not stagnate.

'Ambition' means the systematic pursuit of achievement 
and of constant improvement in respect to one’s goal. 
Like the word “selfishness,” and for the same reasons, 
the word “ambition” has been perverted to mean 
only the pursuit of dubious or evil goals, 
such as the pursuit of power
this left no concept to designate the pursuit of actual values. 

But “ambition” as such is a neutral concept: 
the evaluation of a given ambition as moral or immoral 
depends on the nature of the goal. 

A great scientist or a great artist 
is the most passionately ambitious of men. 

A demagogue 
seeking political power 
is ambitious. 
So is a social climber  
seeking “prestige.” 

So is a modest laborer who works conscientiously 
to acquire a home of his own. 

The common denominator is 
the drive to improve
the conditions of one’s existence, 
however broadly or narrowly conceived. 

“Improvement” is a moral term 
and depends on one’s standard of values. 
An ambition guided by an irrational standard does not, in fact
lead to improvement, but to self-destruction.
from - The Ayn Rand Letter