The Rise of Vetocracy

Eric B. Schnurer in The Hedgehog Review:

Government has descended into near-permanent deadlock. The resulting populist movements, on both the right and left, are highly democratic: intensely broad-based and grassroots, and at least rhetorically anti-elite. But they are neither liberal nor tolerant. On an operational level, it has become more important to “own the libs” or “cancel conservatives” than to achieve any meaningful objective, let alone compromise. All opposition is now treated as an existential threat.

Yet the increasing acceptance of incivility, the denigration and ridicule of opponents, the political violence and even death threats against anyone who takes a position that someone dislikes isn’t the problem itself. It’s simply the iceberg’s tip of a deeper and larger social phenomenon that constitutes our new normal. That new normal, in short, rather than either autocracy or democracy, is vetocracy: Thomas Hobbes’s “state of nature,” but one in which weak and strong alike can thwart each other’s objectives yet none can attain their own.

More here.