What must we, as individuals, sacrifice to facilitate public order? Do we ever give up too much in the unterest of public record? If so, when.What must we, as individuals, sacrifice to facilitate...
What must we, as individuals, sacrifice to facilitate public order?
Do we ever give up too much in the unterest of public record?
If so, when.
We do give up some things to facilitate public order. At times, we sacrifice our freedoms and rights to ensure that our society can operate smoothly. For example, our freedom of speech is limited to help ensure our safety. It is illegal to yell the word “fire” in a dark theater. The limits on freedom of speech were tested in a Supreme Court case known as Schenck v United States. The Supreme Court ruled that our freedom of speech may be limited when the use of words present a danger.
We also give up some of our freedoms in order to have public safety. For example, we agree to speed limits so our streets and highways can be safer. If there were no limits on how fast we can drive, we would be less safe. We also give up some of our freedoms when we travel by air. Our bags are screened, and we agree to go through metal detectors. The same is true when we enter sports stadiums. We agree to these restrictions to reduce threats to our safety and security.
Whether we give up too much freedom in the interest of public order is a matter of opinion. Some people believe we have too many rules and regulations that restrict what we can do. Other people believe we need to have these rules and regulations. People feel that without these rules, our society would be less safe.
The main thing we are asked to sacrifice in favor of order is individual freedoms. If the government can search anyone's house at any given time without a warrant, they can very easily cut down on crime and drug trafficking in particular, but we have given up a crucial right of privacy and given the police expanded power over our daily lives. If we give up the right to protest, or to free speech, the society will certainly appear more orderly, but the disorder would remain beneath the surface, and we would have much less of a democracy.
The concept of public order as a function of individual sacrificing is erroneous. Public order is maintained when individuals are able to exercise rights. This is the concept of freedom. One has the right to do whatever one wishes, as long as that does not violate the rights of another. The purpose of government is to safeguard rights. By maintaining rights, governments, not individuals, establish and maintain order.
I think public order gives us much more than what we sacrifice to maintain it. If it was not so, public order will just not be worth having. To maintain public order, the main thing that we need to sacrifice is our temptation to get some advantage for ourselves at the expense of others. Of course, by giving in to our temptation we man not necessarily achieve the desired benefit. Because chances are that our attempts to get that advantage will only start a chain reaction of indiscipline leading to public disorder, putting us at even greater disadvantage. How this happens can be illustrated by a simple example.
Let us think of a big crowd of people standing and watching something in front of them. People in second and third rows of the crowd are unable to get a clear view of what is happening because their view is blocked by people in front of them. So they stand on their toes to get a better view. But this blocks the view of people behind them. So they also stand on their toes. This kind of thing is repeated row after row till almost everyone except the people right in front rows are standing on their toes. But are these people really getting a better view? No? Thus a lot of people undergo the discomfort of standing on their toes without getting the intended advantage of doing so.