I love/hate Ellsworth Toohey because the first time I encountered the character, it brought to life so much about the world that is sick and sad that I didn’t have the words to articulate at the time. Of course, my inability to state the problem directly is one of the powerful weapons of the dark and slimy Ellsworth’s of the world.
Rand is a romantic and her heroes are larger than life. No real person could live up to the standards of Howard Roark or Hank Rearden, and although these characters illustrate an attractive philosophy, no healthy person would want their life to be so one-dimensional.
On the other hand, Rand’s villains are true to life — there really are Ellsworth Toohey’s walking among us. The solutions proffered by Rand are inspiring yet incomplete, but her diagnosis of the problem is terrifying and real.