Probably, the last thing anyone needs to see at this time is another post by me. So, I am going to keep this short and hopefully sweet. I do not suppose for a moment that this is the last word. But I think it must be so, at least for me, now.
First, Rod has dropped the other shoe regarding what he means by conflict of interests and concedes what I (and I believe Neera as well) noted — namely, that there can be righteous conflicts. It is better for me that I get the job by moral means than that Rod gets the job my moral means, and vice versa. But I don’t see anything in this point as implying that one can use immoral means to rectify this situation. Whether Rand only meant to deny the appropriateness of immoral means to rectify such conflict and not the existence of righteous conflicts, as Rod claims, is not at all obvious to me.
Second, I am not at all comfortable with Rod’s speaking of common and individualized “parts” of human nature. Following Aquinas, the nature of a thing is thoroughly individualized, and it is only by an act of abstraction that we can talk about what is common. (This is accomplished by what Thomists call “abstraction without precision,” and this process is more or less what Rand meant when she said that in abstraction we “omit the measurements.”) So, I do not think some ethical principles flow from a universal part and other ethical principles flow from an individual part of human nature. I also think this confuses how ethical principles are both justified and applied, but this is for another day.
Third, Rod’s understanding of metanormativity is not complete. Rights regulate human conduct so as to allow for the possibility of playing the moral game in a social context. The vital importance of securing this possibility and the determination in what this possibility consists (as well as how it is to be secured) is dependent on the nature of human flourishing. But this does not mean that securing the possibility for playing the moral game in a social context is the same as securing the possibility of human flourishing. Rights are ethical principles that trump all other ethical principles when it comes to securing the possibility of playing the moral game among others, but they do not trump tout court. This does not require moral dualism, but the realization that an account of human flourishing that is objective, individualized, inclusive, agent-relative, self-directed, and social gives rise to ethical principles that are not all of the same type or have the same function.
There is even more that I should say here, but this will have to do. (See Norms of Liberty, especially chapters 6, 7, 11 and 12). Further, I am aware that Den Uyl’s and my own theory of rights is not the topic of discussion for this conversation. (Those interested should see also Aeon Skoble, ed., Reading Rasmussen and Den Uyl: Critical Essays on Norms of Liberty [Lexington Books, 2008]). Yet, since Rod has mentioned this theory more than once, I thought I should say this much about it.
Finally, Michael is correct, of course, to say that non-flourishing folks exist, but the issue is whether they are actualized. This is why I have always contended that the way to read Rand’s ethics is as a type of perfectionism. What Rand brought (and now Philippa Foot brings as well) to perfectionism is an emphasis on life that allows for a connection between being a good X and being good for X when it comes to living things. This is crucial to any account of how goodness might be defined. (Rod’s recent post, “Biology and Interests” fits nicely into this line of thought.)
Of course, all of this involves a deep discussion of metaethics, as well as a debate with Mooreans  regarding meaning and reference, but this is not the place for such discussion. I will say, however, that I have an essay in progress dealing with the alleged naturalistic fallacy.
Well, maybe these parting comments have not been short, but I hope they were sweet. Once again, thanks to everyone.
 This refers to anyone who is a follower of G. E. Moore. He claimed that any attempt to define goodness committed the “naturalistic fallacy.”