I have always assumed that Roark intended this as an insult. But I have been corrected by two listmembers, who claim that it merely expresses Roark's indifference to Toohey and was not intended as an insult at all.
This discussion has dragged on for a while. I'm not comfortable reposting the comments of others, but these two posts by me, though wrenched from their contexts, should give a sufficient idea of what this is about.
If someone used that line with you, would you not assume it was intended as
Roark was saying essentially this: "You are assuming that I care what you
think. But I don't. I don't think of you at all. Your opinions are of no
interest to me, one way or the other."
Are we to suppose that Toohey never crossed Roark's mind -- never, under any
circumstances? Of course not. If that were the case, Roark would know
absolutely nothing about Toohey, which is absurd.
Roark's line conveys a contemptuous indifference in regard to Toohey. This
is why the line is so beloved among Randians.
Of course Roark didn't care what how Toohey would respond to his line. When
I insult someone I usually don't care how they respond, either.
The point is that Toohey embodied the values that Roark (via Rand) detested.
To suggest that Roark did not have a positive contempt for Toohey's values,
but was somehow indifferent to them instead, is absurd.
To be indifferent to someone is one thing, but to express one's indifference
in the specific form in which Roark did is quite another thing. Roark did
not say "Leave me alone, Toohey" or "I'm not interested in talking to you"
or anything like this. Rather, Roark used words that relegated Toohey to the
level of a bug, in effect.
Roark would need to be an aspie to fit your characterization of him.
Not being comfortable discussing Rand's novels, I thought I would appeal to OL, the court of last resort in these in-house debates.