Individual Rights vs Public Order

In the aspect of social perspective, each society desire to achieve a condition of organizational effectiveness and cooperation with its leaders and its public population. Each society develops certain approaches and strategies to achieve efficiently this condition yet, sometimes, a form of compromise must be considered. In this aspect, two dominant concepts are critically considered due to their conflict in the social perspective and their significant influence in the social condition and general welfare of the people.

The ideas and principles of individual rights and the aspect of public order are often debated upon regarding which will be implemented better in the pursuit of effective social condition. Commonly, the grounds dividing these two concepts often overlap each other considering their application in the social organization. The pursuit of individual rights over public order and vice versa both have their certain advantages and disadvantages in the aspect of social organization.

Both effects must be duly and critically considered to determine among which is the most effective in management of the social organization towards the achievement of their common goals and best interest. The concept of individual rights pertains to the idealism of equality and freedom among the people based upon the social perspectives of liberty and freedom. This idealism outlines the equal rights of each person, which protect him or her from oppression, slavery, and conditions detrimental to his or her individualism and humanity.

The aspect of public order on the other hand pertains to the constitutionally granted power and authority of the government to control and manage the social organization they have jurisdiction over. This includes the strict adherence and obedience of the population to they government in terms of the actions, sanctions, and programs for the ideal interest of their society.

Based on the nature and characteristic of the two concepts, their idealism and interest often comes in conflict when applied in the social organization regarding which will be given topmost priority in certain events where the grounds of both concepts are equal on their respective arguments. For example, consider the situation wherein a political problem or situation over such as a coup d’etat wherein a certain group employs militaristic force and lethal power to destabilize their government due to beliefs of ineffectiveness and emotional resentment.

On this scenario, subsequent military force was also launched by the administration in power to suppress the movement and instill peace over the situation. However, media personnel are also present on the scene mainly for their coverage over the situation and are willing to stay in the area as part of their expression of their democratic right for speech and information access. On the other hand, the military forces of the government want to extract the media personnel from the scene for the interest of safety considering that they are within line of fire thus, obstructing to their mission of suppressing the rebellion.

Clearly, in this scenario, the conflict between the military and the media personnel is present due to their respective perspective and opinion on the matter in which, their interest overlap. Indeed, the conflict between the aspect of individual right and public order is indeed critical as the problem hinders the effectiveness of the social organization. As such, prioritizing a single interest over the other must be implemented to establish a normative system in the social organization wherein the public can effectively follow particularly on critical situations and social problems.

However, the implementation of this approach whether considering public order over individual rights or vice versa has their own respective advantages and disadvantages on the social organization. Giving importance to public order over individual rights means putting more extensive power and authority to the government, which, the public must duly and strictly acknowledge and follow. Likewise, putting emphasize on public order can result to a more effective and efficient social organization as single leadership system can be applied to manage the interest and goal of the social organization.

On the other hand, this system can result to the suppression of individual rights as the rule of the government must prevail and individual freedom can be negated. Access to information and civilian oversight can also be removed leading to the negative consequences of developing a corrupt culture in the government. The high regard for the government power can be abuse by some officials or leaders leading to the deterioration of transparency and accountability in the government.

Considering the other scenario, putting emphasis on individual rights over public order also has its own advantages and disadvantages in terms of their influence in the social organization. Among its certain advantages are the promotion of democracy and freedom in the society, benefits for the economic interest for the people due to market liberty, the priority on individual needs such as their access to information and the participation of the public in the management pursuits and programs of the government.

However, this system also has its own negative influences such as the undermining of the power and authority of the government to control the public and the hindering of the government’s actions due to certain manifestations of public interest. Likewise, putting priority on the individual rights can also result to the development of negative culture in the society which the government cannot suppressed or control as individual interest becomes higher the government’s intervention.

Indeed, the shift of control and priority over each of the dominant concepts of individual rights and public order has its own positive consequences and negative effect of the organizational system of the society. Thus, an imbalance priority to address the conflict between the concepts of individual rights and public order is indeed ineffective in the aspect and interest of social organization.

What the society must pursue to deal with this complication is the drafting of an equal resolution incorporating the two concepts towards maximizing the efforts of gaining the best interest, the safety of the population, and the common goal of the society. Giving emergency power for the government to pursue public order in critical conditions is justifiable yet certain grounds must still be applied to ensure that this does not negate or undermine the rights and freedom of the people.

In the situation where this power is not needed, the priority of control must be granted equally to the both concepts. In addition, the government‘s constitutionally founded authority must also be acknowledged by the public consider that this institution is founded to pursue the common welfare and interest of their society. In general, developing a relationship that best outlines the responsibility and that addresses the needs of both parties is indeed the most effective approach for the realization of an effective and successful social organization.


  • Hittinger, Russell (December 2005). Persons and Rights. First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life. No. 158.
  • Meckled-Garcia, Saladin & Cali, Basak (2005). The Legalization of Human Rights Multidisciplinary Approaches. Routledge Publication, New York. 1st Edition. ISBN-10: 0415361230.
  • Waddignton, P. A. J. (1994). Liberty and Order: Public Order Policing in a Capital City. UCL Press, London.