Do you believe that the government should put restrictions on individual rights and freedoms for the common good of society, or do you believe that individual rights and freedoms should be override...

Do you believe that the government should put restrictions on individual rights and freedoms for the common good of society, or do you believe that individual rights and freedoms should be override what is good for society as a whole? Explain. 

Asked on by tammels3x

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

First, we must realize that essentially no one would argue that society should be driven completely by one of these imperatives or the other.  A society that depended solely on either would be terrible. 

Overall, I would argue that individual rights should win out, but this is by no means a blanket rule.  For example, individual rights should surely win out over societal needs when it comes to very personal decisions.  Regardless of what society thinks, people of different races should be able to marry one another.  People should be able to believe in their own religions even if having everyone believe in one religion would make for a more cohesive society. 

However, there are clearly times when individual rights cannot win out over societal needs.  We cannot, for example, allow people to make loud noises in residential neighborhoods in the middle of the night.  We cannot allow people to be drunk in public or to walk around naked.  These are things that could be seen as individual rights, but exercising them would unduly lower other people’s quality of life.

All in all, there needs to be a balancing act.  We have to protect important individual rights, but we cannot simply let everyone do whatever they want at all times.

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