From the editorial, "What Schiavo Taught," in The New Republic, Apr. 11, 2005, p. 7 (electronic version requires subscription):
Both the left's love of the courts and the right's hatred of the courts have the consequence of relieving the individual of his or her duties as a moral agent. Enough of this. There is no fleeing the fact of our moral autonomy.
- When liberals chose to oppose the feeding tube, they were acting as autonomous moral agents, on the basis of reasons.
- When conservatives chose to support the feeding tube, they were acting as autonomous moral agents, on the basis of reasons.
Or so they should have been acting when they were instead waiting upon various institutions and authorities to release them from the hardship of choice and replace responsibility with obedience.
The private inquiry into what is true and good is not relativism, it is the reality of ethical existence. This, too, is the legacy of Terri Schiavo: However we are guided in the justification of our beliefs, finally we have only our own consciences upon which to rely in the dark.
(Emphasis, paragraphing, and bullets added.)