On Sentimentalism

A couple of weeks ago, "harm" of Ne Quid Nimis posted the following in response to an article celebrating an idealized notion of police work, writes the following.

If I can indulge for a second: this (as in, the intellectual & cultural inclination to appreciate this complete idealization of what police work is about) is partly the reason why I cannot & will not ever consider myself out to be anything except the mildest of libertarians. I appreciate the guys @ Catallarchy as much as anybody else, & some of the posts there are tremendously informative & well written, but there are large chunks of libertarian doctrine (the so-called "party line" me & Jason sparred about a while back) that are incompatible w/ my baseline axioms. Not to say that hardcore libertarians can't or don't like "law & order," or anything as asinine as that, but I suspect they, on the whole, are much less inclined to put up w/ this kind of sentimentalism about cop duty & its role in society.

Thanks, man! It's always nice to be appreciated.

I think you might be surprised at my own views on "sentimentalism" and the like. One of the words in the subtitle of our blog is kosmos which can roughly mean "the bottom-up order of civil society". Unfortunately, I have not been writing about this theme enough lately.

One of the main reasons I am a libertarian, and a radical one at that, is that concepts like "duty", "patriotism", "honor", and "dignity" are only meaningful in a social order, not a political one. It is in the sphere of civil society that these ideas take on their unique essence. Only when his neighbors freely shun an individual for dereliction of duty, dishonor, and impropriety do the terms have any meaning. Only when his community celebrates his bravery do his actions ... Passing more laws does none of this. It simply usurps affairs whose moderation ought to be the burden of communities.

Civil society, the total sum of voluntary interactions, which includes among other things, culture, morality, charity, religion, mores, traditions, commerce, worldviews, superstitions, and should reclaim its rightful place at the center of social interaction. It can render politics largely irrelevant and obselete.

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