My happiness is not the means to any end. It is the end. It is its own goal. It is its own purpose.Neither am I the means to any ends others may wish to accomplish. I am not a tool for their use. I am not a servant of their needs. I am not a bandage for their wounds. I am not a sacrifice of their altars. (Chapter 11, paragraph 8)
The whole Anthem by Ayn Rand is dedicated to the healthy egotism, as she understands it. According to her the happiness of every human being is the highest goal. Other goals serve only to achieve happiness and the goals may differ from one person to another. Sacrificing the happiness for some “greater good” is a sin or a mistake, because if the idea you serve doesn’t make you happy and won’t make you happy in the perspective it isn’t worth serving. Ayn Rand states in her Anthem that the highest priority is the person themselves. People aren’t tools for the goals of other people and there are no people more worth happiness than the others.
This simple idea openly opposes every totalitarian propaganda and every attempt of the government (or any other system) to control its members. It also puts all the responsibility for achieving happiness on the shoulders of the person who does it. The short phrase from the Anthem became so popular because it confronts so much of our usual social and moral standards that urge us to abandon our own goals for the sake of the family, clan, country or political party. It also has the opposite side - the other people also have their own happiness as their first priority, so no one is obliged to sacrifice one for your sake.
Helping each other has its own egotistic reasons (it makes us feel good or it strengthens our friendship) - and the main point that it should feel good, not an act of duty that makes the helper feel miserable. Using the most natural human feeling as an axiom for building a life contradicts all the virtues that are instilled into our minds by the conservative society.