17 February 2022, The Tablet

Reform for the common good

Police culture


Without law and order in society, human life becomes “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short” wrote Thomas Hobbes in Leviathan in 1651, as individuals engage in a “war of all against all”. This is a nice contrast to Pope John Paul II’s declaration that “all are responsible for all” in his encyclical Sollicitudo Rei Socialis in 1987. What keeps the latter from slipping downhill into the former are those persons and institutions committed to upholding the common good by serving the cause of law and order, not least the police. When they serve a narrow police interest rather than the public interest, the good of society as a whole is threatened.

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