Joe, I agree with your position and it is astounding to me that people, (other than those whose only introduction to morality is from the teachings of the religion they subscribe to) would disagree with it.
...do you claim that there is only one 'real' morality and it is the Objectivist version?
Sometimes when someone finds out that I'm an atheist, they believe that I must be without a moral code, imagining that only a Christian could have any moral code.
And some Muslims think that they have the only 'true' moral code. As an Objectivist, I'd say that we have the only fully rational moral code of the many, many moral codes that exist. Or that our moral code is based upon the most logical standard of value. But that's different.
And Ayn Rand saw things in the same way. Here are some quotes from her:
"What is morality, or ethics? It is a code of values to guide man’s choices and actions—the choices and actions that determine the purpose and the course of his life. Ethics, as a science, deals with discovering and defining such a code."
Ayn Rand, “The Objectivist Ethics,” The Virtue of Selfishness, 13
She says "...morality [is] a code of values" and leaves open what the values might be, and leaves unstated that there could be many such codes (just with different values).
And where she says "Ethics, as a science,..." she narrows the field of ethics to those examples where it is treated as a science as opposed to those examples where it is treated as gospel or revelation or something other than science.
"My morality, the morality of reason, is contained in a single axiom: existence exists—and in a single choice: to live.
Ayn Rand, Galt’s Speech, For the New Intellectual, 128
And here she specifically separates her morality from others. If there were but one, that sentence wouldn't make sense.
A moral code is a system of teleological measurement which grades the choices and actions open to man, according to the degree to which they achieve or frustrate the code’s standard of value. The standard is the end, to which man’s actions are the means.
A moral code is a set of abstract principles; to practice it, an individual must translate it into the appropriate concretes—he must choose the particular goals and values which he is to pursue. This requires that he define his particular hierarchy of values, in the order of their importance, and that he act accordingly.
Ayn rand, Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, “Concepts of Consciousness,” 33
Here is more evidence that she defines a moral code in general terms so that Objectivism's moral code can be compared to other moral codes.
In spite of all their irrationalities, inconsistencies, hypocrisies and evasions, the majority of men will not act, in major issues, without a sense of being morally right and will not oppose the morality they have accepted. They will break it, they will cheat on it, but they will not oppose it; and when they break it, they take the blame on themselves. The power of morality is the greatest of all intellectual powers—and mankind’s tragedy lies in the fact that the vicious moral code men have accepted destroys them by means of the best within them.
Ayn Rand, “Faith and Force: The Destroyers of the Modern World,” Philosophy: Who Needs It, 67
Here she talks about the effects of a viscious moral code on men.
People (be they Objectivists or Muslims or Christians) who try to claim that their moral code is the only one, are creating a weak position for themselves.
(Edited by Steve Wolfer on 7/25, 12:51am)