Some behaviors may negatively influence a society while others affect it positively. For a behavior to influence the society positively, it has to be molded for a long time (Knight, 2001). If anyone from a given society goes contrary to what has been stipulated as the way that all have to follow in behavior, his actions will entail some penalties. Though this may be the case, there are some norms that people should not be compelled to do if they fill as if they are not supposed to.
People should be given the freedom to choose what they believe is right for them to do (Kacowicz, 2005). If people are compelled to do certain things, their freedom of choice will have been taken away from them. At the same time, this freedom of choice of what to do should be limited since it may do a lot of harm to the people. Freedom has to be achieved without causing harm to others in the society since the action of one person, to a large extent, affects the existence of others in the same society. For example, if a person steals in a certain village, this will be felt not only by those who are directly affected by this action but also by those who live in that society.
The question then is why should those who are not directly affected feel the impact of the action? Arguably, when there is some kind of awareness in a place about an occurrence of an event that is viewed to be evil or the society perceive it to be wrong, this occurrence affects people directly or indirectly. Should people be allowed to choose what they want to do? Another instance is that as we are free to do what we want, no one should ask you anything if you decide to kill another person without any justifiable reason (Hofstede, 2001). This is the biggest reason as to why there should be a limit to what we decide to do since at the end of it all if we do not try to monitor our actions, we will end up hurting other members of the society.
On the other hand, there are actions which, if done by one person, do not affect the life of others either directly or indirectly. So then, should we put a cut line where we believe the limit should be and should we define what others should be allowed to do? We say that those actions that do not affect the daily life of other people in the society should not be restricted, and those that do - should. What if this tolerant position to affecting other people directly or indirectly is evil in nature and seen and taken as a norm in the society? In this case, what should be done? For issues that arise in the society but do not in any way affect the life of the society, whether it is considered a norm or not, there should be no restriction. However, the society may not come to terms with issues considered to be norms. In this case, the society needs to be flexible to accommodate all its matters and ensure that the rights of others are not infringed (López, 2003).
Hence, as we try to make people change and accept and also live by what we believe, we should also adjust our system to such an extent that we do not force others to live by what an individual thinks is right in his/her own personal opinion. Further, what one person thinks is right to him or her differs from what others think on the same matter. We all have different opinions even on one and the same matter. Therefore, we should allow people to choose what they would like to do as long as their actions do not directly or indirectly affect the society in a negative way. Otherwise, there is a need to restrict people’s actions.
Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture's consequences: Comparing values, behaviors, institutions and organizations across nations. Thousand Oaks,CA: Sage Publications, Incorporated.
Kacowicz, A. M. (2005). The impact of norms in international society. Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press.
Knight, J. (2001). Social norms and the rule of law: Fostering trust in a socially diverse society. Trust in society, 2, 354-73.
López, F. (2003). Social power and norms: Impact on agent behavior. Original Typescript.
Turner, R. H., Gerald M. P., and Gordon,C. (1994). Self, collective behavior, and society: Essays honoring the contributions of Ralph H. Turner. Greenwich, Conn.: JAI Press.