I have also read Rabbi Cordozo's "On the Nature and Future of Halakha in Relation to Autonomous Religiosity"
http://www.jewishideas.org/articles/nature-and-future-halakha-relation-autonomous-relig and, as did Rabbi Wolpoe, found it most interesting albeit I have hesitations with much of his thesis. My main concern, though, is somewhat different that Rabbi Wolpoe's and for this reason I thought that, rather than just commenting in this regard on Rabbi Wolpoe's post, I would present my own post because it takes the question in a different direction.
The specific thing that bothered me in regard to Rabbi Cordozo's article was his use of the word autonomy. There is no doubt that the modern world stresses the value of autonomy and that an absence of any autonomous element within Orthodoxy can be a challenge to many individuals brought up within the consciousness of modern thought. This in its own right, though, can not be an argument for making Orthodoxy more open to autonomy for who is to say that this value is one shared by Torah. On one level one can ask: so what if Torah is not autonomous and as such loses many potential adherents? It could be argued that this argument is similar to arguing that Torah should have more permissive views on sexuality for then it would be more attractive to members of our society who see open sexual expression as healthy. An argument that Torah is not autonomous and therefore is not as attractive as it could be simply is weak.
The point is, though, that Rabbi Cordozo must believe, as do I, that there is actually a value to autonomy and the problem is not solely a marketing one but a substantial one. If Torah values autonomy then its lack in modern day Orthodoxy is a problem. Then the fact that people are "turned off" Torah because it lacks autonomy becomes more real. What is really being said is that people are turning away from Torah because what is being presented to them as
Torah is not really Torah. As such there aversion is actually positive. While I think that Rabbi Cordozo could have presented a stronger argument for the value of autonomy, he may have wished to write this article with this recognition as a given. That is acceptable.
What is problematic, though, is that Halachic autonomy is still different than the value of autonomy that is advocated within Western thought. Halachic autonomy does not give the individual the right to choose his/her beliefs but the right to be involved in the intense intellectual endeavour of searching for the correct belief al pi Torah. On one level, Halachic autonomy means that we must value divergent opinions of scholarship. It does not mean that anyone can choose a view based upon their own perceptions of what they think is right within Torah. I believe that Rabbi Cordozo does not clearly state this and, as such, gives the impression that Halacha is like a smorgasbord from which any person can choose what they like. This is indeed problematic because the realm of the objective and thought is ignored. Clearly the reality of eilu v'eilu points to a reality that Torah is not singularly objective but it also does not advocate a total acceptance of subjectivity. It is the complexity of advocating eilu v'eilu within a realm of intense thought that often is furthermore ignored.
The only right, and this is clear from the gemara in Eruvin, that a non-scholar has is to be able to choose between systems. One can pick to follow Beit Hillel or Beit Shammai but cannot pick and choose between them (unless one is in the scholarly process of developing one's own scholarly system). Of course the words of Asei lecha Rav is precisely on point. Amongst the numerous possibilities of Rabbinic scholars, you can choose -- based on your subjective criteria -- which one to follow. After that choice, all choices are subject to scholarship.
This point I believe is not stressed by Rabbi Cordozo and that is an essential fault. To argue for Torah autonomy must include a clear definition of what this term means -- and the fact that it does not just grant an individual a right to make decisions but still insists on decisions based on scholarship. Once that is recognized, the whole nature of the choice also changes -- as will the whole perception of Torah. It is towards this perception that we must move.
Rabbi Ben Hecht