Prospect has relaunched itself this month with a new design and a cover story in which one hundred 'thinkers and commentators' were asked what they thought would replace the left/right schism in the 21st century. The editorial suggests that "the overall tone of the responses was almost absurdly pessimistic". If this is true, which I'm not sure it is, it is surely because the left/right schism has declined while also failing to be replaced by an alternative means of connecting popular sentiment to power. My answer was as follows, which looks strikingly similar to several other ones, especially Diane Coyle's immediately above it:
A new politics of autonomy has arrived. On the one hand, imperatives and strategies for reducing autonomy are growing by the day. Public services are increasingly coercive, where people refuse to act in a way that will increase their health or wealth. Rights are becoming housed in our bodies rather than our minds, as biometrics become the means of accessing services. On the other hand, we see an assembled group of autonomists—religious factions, businesses, libertarians, binge drinking hedonists—who assert their right to select a lifestyle. Set in contrast to biological and sociological expertise, the demands of these latter groups come to be appear irrational, quaint or plain wrong. The worry is that without any fundamental reason to respect individual and collective choices, democracy itself will become tarred with the same brush.