We must give up some of our individual freedoms to facilitate public order. A good example of this is air travel. When we enter an airport, we know that we have to stand patiently in a line and submit to being searched for weapons so that we can feel reasonably...
We must give up some of our individual freedoms to facilitate public order. A good example of this is air travel. When we enter an airport, we know that we have to stand patiently in a line and submit to being searched for weapons so that we can feel reasonably secure that we will board a plane that will not be hijacked by terrorists. We then understand that we will be packed in with our carry-on luggage like sardines on a plane where we all have about four square inches of spare wiggle room. Most people who fly are able to give up ordinary individual freedoms—such as of movement—to accommodate this system. We all know that we have to work together as a collective to achieve the common goal of getting to our destination as quickly as possible in one piece. The days of loudmouths making obnoxious demands are long over. Most of us simply bury our individual desires, get along with each, and life goes on. The change in people's behavior on planes in the US gives me hope for this country's ability to work together to achieve common goals.
Other areas where self-expression is curtailed would be theaters. Classically, the First Amendment does not allow people to scream fire in a movie house. The Second Amendment is a contested area as, for example, when a man in army fatigues walked through a Walmart with a semi-automatic weapon in full view shortly after a mass shooting to test if his Second Amendment rights would be respected. Naturally, people fled the store, and, as a result, Walmart instituted policies to disallow this behavior in their stores.
Public order truly necessitates people thinking of the larger community ahead of their own personal whims and desires in public spaces or in spaces where acting on their urges could reasonably be said to cause discomfort or terror to other people.
One of the most important realizations to be made by a person in any modern society is the concept of subjectivity in value. Put simply, it is the realization that societal rules are not universal; values, codes of conduct, laws are all reflective of ideas that are important simply because we agree that they are. This is the basis for public order. It is a system of ideas and codes of conduct that permeate every aspect of our lives. From an early age, we are given to understand that by adhering to these rules, we can live our lives in a relatively peaceful and orderly society. In this way, creating order involves and has always involved small concessions of individual freedom, typically the sort for which one would have no need or desire in the first place.
These rules often seem overt and obvious, such as the idea that you should not drive an automobile at 100mph on a surface street or discharge a firearm on a public playground. To any rational-thinking person who has been raised in the society already, these seem like things an ordinary, well-adjusted human being would not do anyway. There are much more covert and subtle methods of disruption, however, and the specifics of these trespasses are changing every moment with the advancement of technology.
Laws to circumvent disruption of order do come at the small cost of some of our freedoms but are in no small way necessary in order to stop highly antisocial or malevolent persons who may be unaffected by societal and communal values.
The practical answer to this question will vary according to the state in which one lives. In Western democracies, however, it will vary only slightly. In one country, for instance, it may be forbidden to play loud music or use power tools in densely populated areas after 8:00pm. In another country, it may be 10:00pm or midnight. The point is that there will always be a provision that limits the freedom of the individual for the greater good and that these provisions will be similar and reasonably foreseeable. You may never have been to Germany and have no familiarity with German law, but you know perfectly well that you would not be allowed to lie down in a busy road, walk down the street naked, or spit in people's faces if you went there.
Most people, however, would not think of the three examples above as things they would "give up" to facilitate public order, as they themselves come from cultures where these activities are forbidden, and they probably do not want to do such things anyway. In a less familiar culture than Germany, the list of things one would not be able to do without risking some breach of public order would be much longer. The underlying principle in all cases is that one must refrain from behavior that upsets or inconveniences people in the particular culture where one lives. This means that public order will probably not suffer if a man in San Francisco wishes to dress in a pink tutu and rhinestone tiara, but it will be threatened if a woman in rural Saudi Arabia decides to uncover her face and hair.
To facilitate social order, we as people have to give up our right to behave in whatever way we want. We want social order so that the government can protect our life, liberty, and our property. In order to get that, we give up our right to act in all sorts of ways that we might want to act.
For example, in our society, we give up our right to be drunk in public. In most places, this is a crime. We do not want people to be drunk in public because they tend to diminish other people’s ability to enjoy themselves or to feel safe.
As another example, we give up the right to make noise whenever we want. If we lived out in the country with no neighbors, we could make noise whenever we liked. The same is true if we did not care about social order. However, in order to have social order, we need to compromise. We need to not act in ways that will unduly disturb other people. Therefore, we give up our right to make loud noises at certain times of day.
To take an example that seems silly, we give up the right to walk around naked. This is something that does not really hurt anyone, but we still cannot do it because it offends people. When we live in a society, we give up our rights to do things like this so that we can manage to live in relative harmony with many other people.