Prior to his job on The Banner, Ellsworth Toohey spent awhile as a career advisor at a college. One of his distinctive traits as a career advisor was that he usually advised people against doing what they really wanted to do, which directly lead to at least one person's eventual suicide:

People noticed that Ellsworth Toohey seldom let a boy pursue the career he had chosen. "No, I wouldn't go for law if I were you. You're much too tense and passionate about it. A hysterical devotion to one's career does not make for happiness or success. It is wiser to select a profession about which you can be calm, sane and matter-of-fact. Yes, even if you hate it. It makes for down-to-earthness."...

After leaving college some of his proteges did quite well, others failed. Only one committed suicide. It was said that Ellsworth Toohey had exercised a beneficent influence upon them - for they never forgot him: they came to consult him on many things, years later, they wrote him, they clung to him. They were like machines without a self-starter, that had to be cranked up by an outside hand. He was never too busy to give him his full attention.

We already know from elsewhere in the book that Elsworth Toohey is actually power-hungry, narcissistic, and sociopathic (hence, for example, his attempted takeover of The Banner's editorial policy). But why this? Is it just for the pleasure of having power over them?

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